Schizophrenia Symptoms, Patterns And Statistics And Patterns

Some Statistics and Patterns (prevalence, course, prognosis)

Statistical Prevalence of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is not a terribly common disease but it can be a serious and chronic one. Worldwide about 1 percent of the population is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and approximately 1.2% of Americans (3.2 million) have the disorder. About 1.5 million people will be diagnosed with schizophrenia this year around the world. In the United States, this means about 100,000 people will be diagnosed, which translates to 7.2 people per 1,000 or about 21,000 people within a city of 3 million who are likely to be suffering from schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia can affect people throughout the lifespan although new instances of the illness are most likely to occur in early adulthood. It is relatively rare for children and older adults to develop schizophrenia, but it does happen. More commonly the incidence (rate of diagnosis) of new cases of schizophrenia increases in the teen years, reaching a peak of vulnerability between the ages of 16 and 25 years. Men and women show different patterns of susceptibility for developing schizophrenic symptoms. Males reach a single peak of vulnerability for developing schizophrenia between the ages of 18 and 25 years. In contrast, female vulnerability peaks twice; first between 25 and 30 years, and then again around 40 years of age.

Schizophrenic Symptoms Course

The full onset of schizophrenia is typically preceded by a gradual 'prodromal' (pre-cursor) period where odd behaviors and experiences, such as anxiety, restlessness and hallucinations begin to occur, but not yet with their fullest force. There may be a gradual loss of reality. Many schizophrenic sufferers describe the onset of odd feelings, thoughts and perceptions a few months before anyone else can see visible evidence of them. It can be quite difficult to recognize schizophrenia during this early prodromal stage, particularly if it is a new diagnosis and has not occurred before for a given patient. Though the schizophrenic person may have been hearing criticizing voices and experiencing delusions for some time, these symptoms may not have been overwhelming or frightening enough to have caused them to break down and act in a bizarre manner. Patients experiencing these symptoms for the first time may be able to hide them for a while, but this becomes more difficult as the psychotic process sets in and their outer actions begin to reflect their inner perceptual distortions.

Schizophrenia is not generally recognized to be occurring until after truly odd and irrational behaviors are expressed during what is called a "psychotic break", or "first break". Though the schizophrenic person's internal experience during psychosis may be terrifying, it is the outward symptoms characteristic of the psychotic break that are noticed by family members and others: changes in self-care, sleeping or eating patterns, weakness, lack of energy, headaches, changes in school or work performance, strange sensations, and confused, strange, or bizarre thinking that gets expressed as bizarre behavior. Keep in mind, however, that the actual break with reality may occur prior to the time that people around the psychotic person have noticed that something is seriously wrong. The schizophrenic symptom-rich period following the psychotic break is sometimes called the 'active-phase' or, alternatively a period of 'florid' psychosis. The term florid means "flowering" and the term is a metaphorical usage denoting that the psychosis is the end result or goal of the schizophrenic illness, just as the bloom is the end result or goal of a flowering plant.

When schizophrenia does occur, it often becomes a chronic condition that continues throughout the remainder of life with varying degrees of intensity. The "first break" may be the last break if the case of schizophrenia is mild and if treatment is administered promptly and continued as directed by a psychiatrist (a medical doctor specializing in mental health issues). More typically, however, the first break leads to a pattern of varying periods of relative recovery (which are termed 'residual' phases) and periods of new active-phase psychosis that continue throughout the remainder of patients' lives.

Comments
  • joanne

    I have just spent a rare week with my 32 yr old Daughter who is mentally ill and trying to figure out her problem I think I am close and afraid. it is schitzophrenic, want to share thoughts and ideas.

  • Erica

    Hi my name is Erica I am only a senior in high school. i have chosen to do my third quater paper on Schizophrenia while I know you are scared you are not alone. Learning about schizophrenia and other mental illnesses has been interesting. Know you are going to be ok. The best thing for you to do is support her and not to feel that this is your fault because it is not. There are plenty of support groups available around the world. I suggest what ever mental illness you think or know your daughter has get a few books, or look online and find out what you can do to help yourself as well as her. If this is affecting your family as well, family therapy is available and is very helpful in most cases. Like I said there is plenty you can do to help yourself and her. Taking care of yourself may be the first priority right now because if you are not comfortable with what is going on you can not help her become comfortable either. Ask questions with professionals, if you are not satisfied continue asking others and getting second opinions. Your daughter is not crazy just going through a rough time in life that is all. Do not let a doctor tell you that she is crazy she is not. Well this is about all I can tell you right now however know that there are others going through with the same problem all around the world good luck!!!!! Erica

  • Mandy

    Joanne,

    Several in my family for years have suffered from bipolar disorder "mood swings" which is relatively different than schizophrenia. I just want to tell you that you shouldn't be afraid and certainly research can help you understand better. Let the doctors and specialist diagnose the disorder, if any, and then go from there. Love and patience will get you through this, trust me.

    Mandy

  • christina

    my father does suffer from schizophrenia. The first episode was around 9/11. He thought the attacks were against him. that they were looking for him. I thought he was joking and then he started to worsen. He thought the t.v. was sending him messages then he thought there was a chip implanted in his head and thats why he heard ringing. after a few months he started to think his family was after him.I was scared. I cried many nights. My grandmother told me I should commit him, I never did hes my dad! I can say he is better than he was. I tried to talk him into getting help. he never did. somehow he pulled halfway out of it. Hes not the same old dad I use to have. he still has his moments, but not as bad as the first time I seen it.

  • Stephanie

    My friends husband has schizophrenia as well as another personality disorder, it has become so severe that he has tried to commit suicide several times as well as having "homocidal" ideas for her and their 10 year old daughter. They say he is coherent enough to make his own decisions so he doesnt have a care taker. When she tried to take him to the hospital to get help he checks himself out. (he took himself of his meds.) What can she do to get him te help he needs?

  • ADIGUN ABIODUN

    The key to successful recovery of schizophrenia is early diagnosis and treatment. In general, the earlier someone with schizophrenia is diagnosed and stabilized on an appropriate treatment regime, the better their chance of recovery. In light of this tendency, anyone who suspects that they (or someone they know) may have signs and symptoms consistent with schizophrenia should consult with a psychiatrist at their earliest possible convenience.

  • Fran Rhea

    Man has created some very advanced methods of modifying behaviour, transmitting voices in both very high frequency and very low frequency in audible and non-audible wavelengths. These frequencies are sometimes heard as 'tinnitis' or ringing in the ears. This artificial tinnitis can have an ulterior motive, that of trapping the individual with wavelengths/frequencies that make them unique from the other people they live near. GPS and body resonance imaging technology help tie the package together to make one great system to 'enhance' the environment and people surrounding the individual who suddenly seems to become schizophrenic. If you don't believe this, take a look at this Bill introduced into Congress: http://www.fas.org/sgp/congress/2001/hr2977.html. You can also google 'psychotronics', or 'synthetic telepathy'. This technology is not only available to governments, it is available to John Q. Public if he has half a brain to find it. After all...this is the Grown-Up World Wide Web. See also http://amindgame.co.cc.

  • Karen

    My sister took my niece to an in patient clinic because we were afraid she would harm her self. We don't know what is wrong but she has acused people in the family of different things that never happened and has kept her self away as much as possible. The in patient facillity will not inform us of anything. This article on Schizophrenia has been helpful and I am afraid to say I see my niece's symptoms seem to point in this area. My niece lives alone. What do we do when she is discharged? We are all so upset.

    Editor's Note: The inpatient clinic should offer your niece a discharge plan shortly before she is discharged. Often this plan is coordinated by a social worker, and will include an appointment for outpatient followup with an outpatient clinic. If the diagnosis is Schizophrenia, your niece will benefit from regular followup with a psychiatrist and (very likely) with an outpatient therapist or therapy group situation. Separately from your niece's care, you (as a family) may want to have a session or two with a therapist who is experienced in the coordination of care of persons with Schizophrenia. Such a therapist will be able to lay out the typical course of care, of the illness and orient you to local resources, how best to be supportive, and what to look for that may indicate a worsening of the illness.

  • Nee

    What should be the role of nurses in coping of the FAMILY of a patient with schizophrenia? because once a ptient is diagnosed of having schizo, healthcare providers are very much focused on the condition of the patient only, unintentionally, they ignore the needs of the family also for emotional and spiritual guidance and most importantly, how will they be bale to cope with the patient with schizo. i hope you can answer my question.

  • Jean

    My 33 year old daughter has schizophrenia, to the extent that i have had to certify her, Please get your daughter to a Dr soon before its to late if you suspect there is something wrong and shes also aware there is her chances of recovery are better.

  • tim michaels

    i have Schizophrenia and the voices tell me to kill my self. SHUT UP. they always torment me. i dont want to. no but i must good bye.

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: Tim - If you are acutely suicidal due to voices, it's high time that you visit with your psychiatrist as soon as possible. It's likely that your medications need adjustment and you might just need some containment such as can be provided by an inpatient hospital for a little while. If you are immediately suicidal, you need to go to a hospital emergency room - a psychiatric hospital emergency room would be best if you have one near you but any will do - and tell them that you are actively suicidal right now.

  • charles

    get on a good whole food muitvitiams and b-complex with a good fish oil ......also start with a complete dexto on body......add b-3 2 500mg per day to start 6-10 gm of vit-c......get a hair test to what the body is short on....ect pray , pray, get love....this is a long trip ok......

  • Anonymous-1

    I have found it to be a wonderful thing that one of my family members got on disability and can focus on getting the correct treatment they need rather than trying to work with all the symptoms they have to deal with. I think all schizophrenics should try to get on disability and focus on making themselves slightly better through therapy and medication.

  • Anonymous-2

    My boyfriend has schyzophrenia. Even though he's the one who has it, it's hard for me to deal with because it plays such a huge part on his life. I can't spend time with him without him getting terrified of what he sees. He finds life hard to cope with and sometimes I have trouble convincing him to stay alive. Luckily his psychologist is helping him a lot. Anyone who thinks they have schyzophrenia should try and see a psychologist to put them onto some good medication. Trust me, it helps a lot.

  • Ellen

    Just a quick note to remind us about life. The schizophrenia has been a part of my familys life for many years now. My sis has had it the longest, although of course we did not see it until it was already started...like most cases. My niece now has it, but denies like all do, and won't get help. The majority cannot see, or do not accept that they have the illness, therefore to them there is no reason for the medication. You cannot force a person to take the drugs that you see fit for them either. What I have seen over-time my sis's condition has lessened quite a bit...or possibly its just that I have learned to accept her as she is. This is definitely called LOVE. Neither of them have asked for this illness, just like when you get sick with something. Just always remember that it was not "by choice" and they DO still LOVE you too! Yes, always PRAY...

  • david

    in the end all will turn out to be ok

  • school project

    ive learned alot about Schizophrenia but i cant find alot of information on how schizophrenia effects teenagers. does anyone have any sites they would sugest looking up?

  • Anne

    if you think your relative has schitzophrenia I encourage you to please get your loved one to a psychiatrist as soon as possible. It is not 'loving' to not get treatment, it is cruel. If your relative had a failing heart or lungs you would get them to treatment immediately. It is barbaric to avoid facing the issue that they need treatment. Get rid of this prejudicial word 'commit' and replace it with 'emergency medical treatment'. I have been very heartened to see how much treatment has improved since the bad old days when my man was diagnosed while still at University. I understand why families shrink from ensuring that their relative have a temporary stay in hospital. It is always temporary. Sadly suicide is an ever present possibility with schitzophremia and that is how I lost my guy. Then I noticed better support when my sister got the illnes later. But my grandson is lucky. He was into hospital immediately. The ways things are explained now is wonderful. Much much better than when my guy was ill with it. My grandson now has a wonderful support team in place and an amazing psychiatrist who is marvellous. The important thing is early treatment. Delaying treatment is not the way to go.

  • Anonymous-3

    I am the legal Guardian of my Grandchild who is 17, he has admitted to hearing voices since 5th grade,

    Cant find a Doc who can take him in to get him evaualted, appointed times are 2 - 3 months wait,

    He is On Missouri Medicaid through Comp Health I even tied to go through Primary Doc and that was a wasted trip.

    Failing school, very moody, few friends , very guarded.

  • Anonymous-4

    is it possible for you to suffer from a minor case of this disorder?

  • Brad

    I am schizophrenic and find this web site very helpful and informative. I'm taking Risperdal and seeing a counselor for this. The suicide ideation has subsided vastly. I believe something just 'goes wrong' in the mind and people become more suicidal. After about six months on the meds i still have depression and negative symptoms, but the suicide ideation is basically gone.

    If there is a way to treat the NEGATIVE SYMPTOMS of sz, please respond. I know there is hope to solve the greatest obstacle sz patients face, the NEGATIVE SYMPTOMS. Please help.

  • overlordsnuffles

    In my research of medications and of my illness I found that trazadone is said that it can help subside negative symptoms a bit but this isn't a sure fire thing either. For some hobbies help people fight that part of the illness like for me creating music and art helps a great deal. I'm sorry if any of this doesn't make sense but for some reason when I type this it doesn't happen at the same time and it has a delayed effect causing me to have some difficulty fallowing it. Others may be in a struggle with negative symptoms.

  • Accalia

    I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia at age 15. It started out with me hearing weird sounds, like footsteps and voices when no one was home. I then became more isolated, enjoying every second I had alone, and when I was with people, I always was uncomfortable/irritable. My grades also dropped from a 98 to a 89. My mom really got mad with me after that. When I had my first psychotic break, it was terrible. Voices kept going around and around in my head, saying extremely terrible things. Eventually the voices began to tell me to let them out, they wanted to be free. So, in my unstable state, I took a knife and cut my arms (sadly I realised the bad in this too late). However, since then I have gotten help, I am on my meds and going to group/individual therapy, and my symptoms usually stay away.

  • A simple man

    Psilocybin containing mushrooms have helped me come to terms and accept who i am and my abilities in a positive way. I will admit to having a couple bad experiences but once it was over i appreciated my life to the point where it radiated outward and though i see and hear what others dont it gives me a broad perspective to choose from which i beleives helps me think outside the box this is not a curse rather a blessing enjoy your life