Schizophrenia affects almost 1% of the general
population-or 1 out of every 100 people.1 It usually
appears in late adolescence or the early 20s, although it can first appear in
the mid-30s. It is rare for schizophrenia to occur prior to age 10 or after age
40, although it does happen.
Schizophrenia is found equally in women and men. It often emerges
earlier in men (teens to 25 years) than women (ages 25 to 35). Schizophrenia
may run in families (genetic disorder), although people with no family history can develop the
is a chronic, disabling mental illness characterized by a wide range of symptoms, including:
loss of contact with reality
It is strongly linked to an increased risk of suicide attempts and completed suicides.
Among people diagnosed with schizophrenia, an estimated 20% to 40% attempt suicide. From 5% to 13% actually complete the act of suicide. Compared to the general population, people with schizophrenia have a more than...
A person born in a city is at a higher risk for developing
schizophrenia than a person born in a rural area.1
Also, people born in the winter and early spring are more likely to develop
schizophrenia than people born in the late spring and summer.1 One theory used to explain this risk factor is that
schizophrenia may be linked to a common winter or early spring
viral infection. The virus may interfere with brain
development in an unborn baby.
For unknown reasons, people with schizophrenia who live in less
developed countries have a better outcome with this disease than those living
in developed countries.2 One thought is that people in
underdeveloped countries have more family support available, have fewer outside
demands, and their behaviors are more readily accepted by their communities.
Sadock BJ, Sadock VA (2007). Schizophrenia. In
Kaplan and Sadock’s Synopsis of Psychiatry: Behavioral Sciences/Clinical Psychiatry, 10th ed.,
pp. 467-497. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Minzenberg MJ, et al. (2008). Schizophrenia. In RE Hales et al., eds., The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry, 5th ed., pp. 1-42. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Miklos Ferenc Losonczy, MD, PhD - Psychiatry
August 19, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 19, 2010
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