Schizophrenia may be a serious mental disorder, but it is one that is highly treatable. Although a cure isn’t available yet, there are therapies, medications, and other treatment options that can keep people living productive, happy, and fulfilling lives.
Schizophrenia occurs in 1% of the general population, but has a 10% diagnosis rate when individuals have a first-degree relative with a known case of schizophrenia.
Several genetic influences are believed to be involved with the development of schizophrenia in most individuals. People with a confirmed case of this mental disorder also have higher rates of rare genetic mutations which have been discovered. These changes are believed to disrupt brain development, which then helps to create the mental disorder.
The Facts About Schizophrenia Demographics
- Schizophrenia affects men and women equally.
- Every ethnic group in the world is affected by schizophrenia at the same 1% rate in all circumstances.
- Most symptoms, including delusions and hallucinations, begin between the ages of 16-30.
- It is very rare for someone above the age of 45 to develop symptoms that can lead to a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia.
- The cost of treating schizophrenia in the United States was $62.7 billion… in 2002. More money is spent on long-term care than is spent on outpatient care.
- People who are at the greatest risk of developing schizophrenia are those who have an identical twin who has been diagnosed with this mental disorder.
Although both genders and all ethnicities are equally affected by schizophrenia, there are some unique issues that can affect certain segments of the population. Men tend to develop the symptoms of schizophrenia earlier than women do. The average age of onset in men is 18, but in women the average age of onset is 25. Overall this means about 1 person out of every 4,000 will be diagnosed with this mental disorder over any given year.
How Prevalent Is Schizophrenia?
- People are 2x more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Teens that have risk factors for schizophrenia have a 50% risk of making at least one suicide attempt during their lives.
- If medication for schizophrenia is discontinued, the relapse rate is about 80% within 24 months.
- Even with the obesity issues in the US, Americans are 6x more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia when compared to diabetes.
- 22%. That’s the percentage of people who will have one episode of schizophrenia only and have no impairment.
- 57% of people will have no or minimal impairment in their lives due to this mental disorder, even if there are several episodes involved.
Schizophrenia may be rare, but compared to health issues that take on a greater research and funding importance, it is much more likely to be diagnosed with this mental disorder. This is where the stigma that exists against mental health may be playing a role. We are all often hesitant to discuss mental health, get ourselves involved, or encourage people to find help. In the US especially, the attitude is that someone should make themselves well. Because of this, the outcomes that people have when schizophrenia strikes are amazingly good.
A Future After Schizophrenia
- 1 out of every 4 people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia will completely recover within 10 years.
- Another 1 out of every 4 people with schizophrenia are rated as being much improved and can live a mostly independent life.
- Only 15% of those with schizophrenia will still be unimproved and hospitalized after 10 years from their first diagnosis.
- About 1 out of 10 people diagnosed with schizophrenia will take their own lives within the first decade of their diagnosis.
- When extended out to 30 years after first diagnosis, those who are greatly improved increases from 50% to 55%. Hospitalizations decrease by 5%, but suicides increase by 5%.
- 6%. This is the percentage of people with schizophrenia who are homeless. Another 6% live in prison.
Once a schizophrenia diagnosis is confirmed, only 28% of those with this diagnosis are able to live independently on their own. About 200k people with this mental disorder are homeless. More people are not being treated for their mental disorder than are being treated. 1 out of every 3 psychiatric hospital visits is because of schizophrenia and this accounts for 25% of all mental health costs. Estimates place a potential cure for this mental disorder being discovered within the next decade – it can’t come soon enough for the demographics of schizophrenia.