Schizophrenia has great human and economic costs. It results in a decreased life expectancy by 10–25 years. This is primarily because of its association with obesity, poor diet, sedentary lifestyles, and smoking, with an increased rate of suicide playing a lesser role. Antipsychotic medications may also increase the risk. These differences in life expectancy increased between the 1970s and 1990s.
Schizophrenia is a major cause of disability, with active psychosis ranked as the third-most-disabling condition after quadriplegia and dementia and ahead of paraplegia and blindness. Approximately three-fourths of people with schizophrenia have ongoing disability with relapses and 16.7 million people globally are deemed to have moderate or severe disability from the condition. Some people do recover completely and others function well in society. Most people with schizophrenia live independently with community support. In people with a first episode of psychosis a good long-term outcome occurs in 42%, an intermediate outcome in 35% and a poor outcome in 27%.
Outcomes for schizophrenia appear better in the developing than the developed world. These conclusions, however, have been questioned. There is a higher than average suicide rate associated with schizophrenia. This has been cited at 10%, but a more recent analysis revises the estimate to 4.9%, most often occurring in the period following onset or first hospital admission. Several times more (20 to 40%) attempt suicide at least once. There are a variety of risk factors, including male gender, depression, and a high intelligence quotient. Schizophrenia and smoking have shown a strong association in studies world-wide.
Use of cigarettes is especially high in individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, with estimates ranging from 80 to 90% being regular smokers, as compared to 20% of the general population. Those who smoke tend to smoke heavily, and additionally smoke cigarettes with high nicotine content. Some evidence suggests that paranoid schizophrenia may have a better prospect than other types of schizophrenia for independent living and occupational functioning.
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