What’s the Prognosis for Someone With Schizophrenia?

This is a time of hope for people with schizophrenia. New antipsychotic drugs are being studied, and brain research is headed toward understanding the molecular and neuronal roots of the illness.

Is There a Cure?

There is no known cure for schizophrenia, but the outlook for people who have this illness is improving. There are many ways to treat schizophrenia, ideally in a team approach. These include medication, psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and social services, as well as employment and educational interventions. Psychiatrists, primary care doctors, psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals are crucial in helping people with schizophrenia and their families explore sources of treatment. The earlier treatment is sought, the better the outcome. With treatment, many people with schizophrenia can recover to the point of living functional, rewarding lives in their communities.

How Long Does Schizophrenia Last?

Ten years after diagnosis:

  • 50% of people with schizophrenia are either recovered or improved to the point that they can work and live on their own.
  • 25% are better but need help from a strong support network to get by.
  • 15% are not better. Most of these are in the hospital.
  • 10% see no way out of their pain and die from suicide.

Long-term numbers for 30 years after diagnosis are similar to those at the decade mark, except that more people get better and can live on their own. But the number of suicides also rises to 15%.

Women seem to be better at staying in recovery long-term than men.

What Affects the Outcome?

If you or a loved one has schizophrenia, here are a couple of things that may show how well you’ll do long-term:

  • How well you did in society and at work before your schizophrenia began
  • The amount of time from the start of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment. The sooner you’re treated for schizophrenia once symptoms begin, the more likely you are to improve and recover. But prodrome -- the time between when symptoms begin and full psychosis starts -- can be days, weeks, or even years. The average length of time between the start of psychosis and first treatment is 6 to 7 years.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on January 13, 2019

Sources

SOURCE:

National Institute of Mental Health: "Schizophrenia: What Is the Outlook for the Future?"

MentalHelp.net: “Prognosis And Recovery Factors Of Schizophrenia.”

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