Schizophrenia: Facts And Statistics
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a disconnection from reality. It can cause hallucinations, difficulty thinking clearly, and awkwardness in emotional or social situations.
These issues make it challenging for someone to live a normal life, but symptoms can be managed with the right treatment.
Globally, about 20 million people suffer from schizophrenia, and it has a significant impact on societies around the world.
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Prevalence Of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia isn’t the most common mental health disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), between 0.33 and 0.75 percent of people around the world will develop it. In the United States, the prevalence is slightly lower—between 0.25 and 0.64 percent.
Schizophrenia In Specific Populations
Most people with schizophrenia will develop symptoms between the ages of 16 and 25. Men tend to show symptoms sooner—in their late teens or early 20s—while women may not have symptoms until their late 20s or early 30s.
Though the prevalence of schizophrenia is similar across the world, research shows that poverty plays a role in mental illness.
Individuals with a mental disorder are more likely to struggle with holding down a job and remaining financially secure. The stress of poverty can also be damaging to a person’s mental health.
Developing countries and countries with a large gap between rich and poor seem to have the highest risk of schizophrenia.
Ninety percent of people who suffer from untreated schizophrenia live in poorer countries, notes the World Health Organization (WHO). This statistic is based on a lack of access to treatment and the inability to pay for care, among other concerns.
Global Impact Of Schizophrenia
Though schizophrenia affects less than one percent of the population, it is a burden on society. Financial costs associated with health care, lost productivity, criminal justice, and other social services can add up.
Schizophrenia is one of the top 15 reasons for disability across the world. The disorder causes many people to be less functional in society, and some of them end up homeless.
People with schizophrenia are often victims of human rights violations, social stigma, and discrimination. They may be given less access to care, housing, education, and employment opportunities because of their diagnosis.
The WHO reports that, globally, over 69 percent of individuals with schizophrenia don’t receive adequate care, and some aren’t treated at all. As a result, they continue to suffer and are unable to live their best lives.
Mortality Rate Of Schizophrenia
People with schizophrenia have a risk of dying younger than the general population. Research shows that schizophrenia leads to an average of 28.5 years of life lost. This is due to several factors.
Schizophrenia comes with a higher risk of medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease. These conditions are often undetected or untreated, leading to a greater chance of premature death.
People with schizophrenia also have an elevated risk of suicide. About 4.9 percent of them commit suicide, which is a much greater percentage than the world average. Suicide is most likely to occur in the developing stages of the illness.
Schizophrenia And Co-Occurring Disorders
When schizophrenia is left untreated or is inadequately treated, it can cause or worsen other mental health disorders.
About half of people who have schizophrenia have a co-occurring mental health disorder, according to the NIMH.
Depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder commonly occur along with schizophrenia. Individuals with schizophrenia also have a higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as trauma can cause both of these disorders.
Many people turn to substance use to deal with the symptoms of schizophrenia or co-occurring disorders. This often leads to addiction, a mental disease that can aggravate symptoms rather than relieving them.
Global Initiatives For Better Schizophrenia Treatment
There is a need for less stigma and greater access to care for schizophrenia. Taking a step toward better mental health care around the world, the WHO implemented the Mental Health Gap Action Program (mhGAP) in 2008.
This program gives countries guidance, tools, and training on offering quality mental health services. The goal is to provide non-discriminatory, effective care at all levels for all mental health conditions, including schizophrenia.
Some countries have national programs to expand mental health services and encourage people to seek treatment. Mental Health UK offers support groups, financial advice, and up-to-date information to citizens who are at-risk or dealing with mental health issues.
Schizophrenia: Treatment Facts
Schizophrenia treatment may include antipsychotic medications, and it’s likely to involve behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is effective in relieving many mental disorders and can help prevent psychotic episodes by fostering positive coping skills.
Treatment for schizophrenia should also help the person live productively and build relationships with others. This can be done through education, employment training, and guidance in other life management skills.
It’s a common belief that schizophrenia is untreatable, but that’s not true. The sooner someone seeks help for schizophrenia, the better. While it isn’t something that a person can overcome by willpower alone, treatment can help them manage their symptoms and live a healthy life.