We all understand the severity of this often-disabling psychological disorder called schizophrenia. We comprehend that it affects cognition, perception, emotion and physical responses, and more. We know how devastating this can be to social, personal, and work relationships.
But how many people does this illness actually inflict? Is there a certain demographic that it is more prevalent with, or a specific illness that it finds comorbidity with? Let’s take a solid look and find out how schizophrenia is actually intertwined with the world’s population.
Basic Statistics of Schizophrenia
Of course, the authors here at SchizLife.com have not personally collected this information, but have performed a meta-analysis of the available research material already published. Numbers will vary here and there, but the great thing is that as time moves forward and we engage in more data collection, the statistics will begin to converge and give us a very clear idea of the true numbers.
It has been reported that the prevalence of any type of schizophrenia, without regards to severity or classification, has been 1.1% of the United States population. The most current U.S. Census Bureau data for 2011 says that there is, rounded, about 312,000,000 people in the United States. 312 million people multiplied by 1.1% prevalence of schizophrenia means that there are roughly 3,432,000 people living with schizophrenia just in the United States alone.
“…there are roughly 3,432,000 people living with schizophrenia just in the United States alone.”
Among these 3.432 million people, approximately 60% are engaged in a year-round usage of healthcare. An additional 4.3% use other one-time or periodic usages of some form of healthcare. This let’s you know that schizophrenia is an on-going struggle and demands constant care and medical attention. Any advancement in treatment or prevention could save millions of people suffering and certainly save society millions of dollars in healthcare costs. It was reported in the J Clin Psychiatry publication in the article entitled “The Economic Burden of Schizophrenia in the United States in 2002” that the total direct costs related to schizophrenia, which include medication, outpatient and inpatient treatment, and long-term medical care, reached up to $7.6 billion dollars. The indirect costs were estimated to be as high as $32.4 billion dollars. This means that, in 2002 in the U.S. only, the total healthcare costs related to schizophrenia reached an incredible $40 billion dollars.
“…in 2002 in the U.S. only, the total healthcare costs related to schizophrenia reached an incredible $40 billion dollars.“
These costs are not offset by the employment of people suffering with schizophrenia, as it is estimated that approximately 10%-15% of schizophrenics are able to sustain full-time employment. This is an incredible burden on the taxpayers in the United States, who are more than happy to contribute to the softening of these debilitating symptoms, but if this number can be reduced than for sure that is a path we should be pursuing in our research. Fortunately this is the case and it is said that there are at least 15 new medications under development at the moment.
More Interesting Data and Stats
We know that most schizophrenics experience the onset of their symptoms in the early stages of adulthood. But what can we say specifically concerning the age of onset in regards to males and females?
Age of Onset
Males tend to experience the first symptoms of schizophrenia somewhere between the ages of 15 and 25 years old. Female’s symptoms develop later, ranging from 18 to 30 years of age. The average age of onset for schizophrenia accordingly differs between men and women. This age in men is 18, while in women the average age of onset is 25 years old. Schizophrenia is very rarely experienced before the age of 10 and after 40 years of age. See the graph below for a visual representation of the data.
World Schizophrenia Statistics
It is said that schizophrenia does not discriminate. It doesn’t care who you are, where you live, what your beliefs are or what your culture teaches. The amount of money you’ve had throughout life or the enjoyments of nutrition and other health concerns have no affect on schizophrenia. With this being said then, how does schizophrenia appear around the world?
In all developed countries that are gathering this data, schizophrenia appears in the 10 top causes of disability in every list. The incidence of schizophrenia also appears to vary a little from country to country, but it averages out to about 1.1% of the world’s population, interestingly enough mirroring the prevalence in the United States. Since there are now 7 billion human beings on this planet, that means that there are 77,000,000 schizophrenics worldwide.
“…there are 77,000,000 schizophrenics worldwide.”
Comparison Against Other Illnesses
Schizophrenia seems rare. Many people go their entire lives without encountering or knowing someone dealing with this mental disease. 1.1% incidence seems very small to most people. But schizophrenia is actually twice as prevalent as Alzheimer’s, which is a far more well-known illness. It is diagnosed five times as much as multiple sclerosis, six times as much as insulin-dependent diabetes, and sixty times as often as muscular dystrophy.
The data regarding the recovery path for schizophrenics is very hopeful and comforting, although sadly it doesn’t always conclude this way for everyone. Longitudinal studies have been performed over 10 years and 30 years. The data doesn’t vary that much, so let’s just mention the 10-year data.
It is said that at the ten year anniversary of a person’s schizophrenia diagnosis that a quarter of people will completely recover. Another quarter of people will have improved at such a drastic level that they are living independently for the most part and function fully in society. Another quarter of people improve, but require continual support and extensive work to maintain these improvements. 15% of people remain hospitalized or their symptoms simply do not improve. 10% of people perish, with a large percent sadly due to the act of suicide. Schizophrenia can be a very difficult and hopeless disease to struggle with for an entire decade, if not longer.
Of those living with schizophrenia, what are their living conditions like? It has been estimated that 6% are homeless, 6% are incarcerated, 6% are hospitalized, and 10% are under care in nursing homes. Those faring a little better live with a family member 25% of the time, and live alone independently 28% of the time. The other 20% have supervision in a group home or supervised housing.
It has been reported that about half of all schizophrenics are not receiving treatment for their illness. This can become confusing mathematically, but half of schizophrenics are not receiving treatment, and half of those people are aware of their illness and still refuse treatment. That means 25% of all schizophrenics know that they are dealing with a mental illness and are voluntarily refusing treatment. Why does this happen?
These reasons included believing that they could either defeat the illness themselves through mental effort or that the symptoms would desist on their own as time progressed. Others decided that treatment was too costly, were unsure where to find treatment, or felt their insurance would not cover the treatment. Some said that they suspected that treatment would do no good.
We know that there is a component to schizophrenia that is genetic and hereditary, meaning that it is passed through a familial lineage. The risk for any random person to develop schizophrenia is 1.1% as we have mentioned before, but the risk increases for those who are related to people who have already been diagnosed or are experiencing schizophrenic symptoms.
For instance, if your identical twin has developed schizophrenia, you are almost 50% likely do develop it as well. This is because you share the exact same genetics. The environment will dictate the other 50%. If you are a fraternal twin, your chances are reduced drastically but are still high at 17%. The more you are removed from the schizophrenic individual, the more your chances decrease. Refer to the graph below for more information.
While these are just a few of the schizophrenia statistics available, it shows just how big of a deal this is for society as a whole and how big of an ordeal it is for each individual and their family and friends who are coping with this complex disease. Keep in mind how widespread this is as you go throughout your life, and if you find an opportunity to help someone in need who’s dealing with any affliction, do your best to offer some small amount of help. If we all do the same, we will all fare much better in this world.