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Links to our Schizophrenia Support Group & Information

Schizophrenia Index Introduction To Schizoprenia What Is Schizophrenia? Facts About Schizophrenia
Treatment For Schizophrenia Schizophrenia & Research Schizophrenic Medications Getting Help For Schizophrenia
Side Effects For Schizophrenic Medications How Long on Medications What About Psychosocial Treatments? Individual Psychotherapy
Schizophrenia & Rehabilitation Symptoms of Schizophrenia Distorted Perceptions of Reality Hallucinations and Illusions
Delusions Substance Abuse Disordered Thinking Emotional Expression
What Causes Schizophrenia? Self Help for Schizophrenia

More Facts About Schizophrenia

In the United States, more than 2 million people have schizophrenia. Schizophrenia costs the United States $32.5 billion annually. Worldwide, rates of schizophrenia are about 1% of the population, very similar from country to country. People with schizophrenia are far more likely to be victims of violence and crime than to commit violent acts themselves. People with schizophrenia have an increased risk of violent behavior only when untreated or when engaging in substance abuse. Many years of family studies indicate that vulnerability to schizophrenia is inherited. However, among individuals with schizophrenia who have an identical twin, and thus share the exact genetic makeup, there is only a 50 percent chance that both twins will be affected with the disease. Scientists conclude that some environmental influence, perhaps occurring during fetal development, accounts for the difference. Advances in neuroimaging technology have shown that some people with schizophrenia have abnormalities in brain structure consisting of enlarged ventricles, fluid-filled cavities deep within the brain. Research indicates that schizophrenia may be a developmental disorder resulting from impaired migration of neurons in the brain during fetal development.

Schizophrenia Is Not "Split Personality"

There is a common notion that schizophrenia is the same as "split personality" – a Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde switch in character. This is not correct.

Are People With Schizophrenia Likely To Be Violent?

News and entertainment media tend to link mental illness and criminal violence; however, studies indicate that except for those persons with a record of criminal violence before becoming ill, and those with substance abuse or alcohol problems, people with schizophrenia are not especially prone to violence. Most individuals with schizophrenia are not violent; more typically, they are withdrawn and prefer to be left alone. Most violent crimes are not committed by persons with schizophrenia, and most persons with schizophrenia do not commit violent crimes. Substance abuse significantly raises the rate of violence in people with schizophrenia but also in people who do not have any mental illness. People with paranoid and psychotic symptoms, which can become worse if medications are discontinued, may also be at higher risk for violent behavior. When violence does occur, it is most frequently targeted at family members and friends, and more often takes place at home.

What About Suicide?

Suicide is a serious danger in people who have schizophrenia. If an individual tries to commit suicide or threatens to do so, professional help should be sought immediately. People with schizophrenia have a higher rate of suicide than the general population. Approximately 10 percent of people with schizophrenia (especially younger adult males) commit suicide. Unfortunately, the prediction of suicide in people with schizophrenia can be especially difficult.

When Someone Has Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a devastating mental illness-the most chronic and disabling of the severe mental disorders. The first signs of schizophrenia, which typically emerge in young people in their teens or twenties, are confusing and often shocking to families and friends. Hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking, unusual speech or behavior and social withdrawal impair the ability to interact with others. Most people with schizophrenia suffer chronically or episodically throughout their lives, losing opportunities for careers and relationships. They are stigmatized by lack of public understanding about the disease. While newer treatments with fewer side effects have improved the lives of many people with schizophrenia, only one in five recovers. One in 10 commits suicide.

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