What Is Schizophrenia?

When Does Schizophrenia First Occur?

Psychotic symptoms (such as hallucinations and delusions) usually emerge in men in their late teens and early 20s and in women in their mid-20s to early 30s. They seldom occur after age 45 and only rarely occur before puberty, although cases in children as young as five have been reported. In adolescents, the first signs can include:
  • A change of friends
  • A drop in grades
  • Sleep problems
  • Irritability.
Since many normal adolescents exhibit these behaviors as well, a diagnosis can be difficult to make at this stage. In young people who go on to develop the disease, this is called the "prodromal" period.

Statistics on Schizophrenia

In the United States, approximately 2.2 million adults (about 1.1 percent of the population age 18 and older) in a given year have schizophrenia.
Rates of schizophrenia are similar from country to country -- about 1 percent of the population is usually affected.
Research has shown that schizophrenia affects men and women equally and occurs at similar rates in all ethnic groups around the world.
This disorder ranks among the top ten causes of disability in developed countries worldwide. The risk of suicide is serious in people with schizophrenia.
News and entertainment media tend to link mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, to criminal violence. However, most people with this condition are not violent toward others, but are withdrawn and prefer to be left alone. Drug or alcohol abuse raises the risk of violence in people with schizophrenia, particularly if the illness is untreated, but this effect is also seen in people who have no mental illness.
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Info on Schizophrenia

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