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Schizophrenia: Did You Know?

Thanks for checking out the schizophrenia infographic!  It was a long time in the making.  If you are a new visitor and are thinking “What is Schizophrenia?” then click that link and learn more!  Much of this information was derived from our page on the statistics of schizophrenia, in addition to the types of treatment and subtypes of schizophrenia pages.  Please enjoy the infographic, and if you’d like to share it, please use the HTML code conveniently located below the image.  Thanks!

Did You Know?  Schizophrenia Stats Infographic

Schizophrenia Infographic

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Let's Get the Facts Straight: Schizophrenia Statistics & Everything You Need to Know

Let's be honest, supposed “facts” get thrown around left and right on every major topic. Whether it's political, clinical, or just topical, facts can often get misconstrued or misunderstood. Especially online.

So let's stop and take a moment to really understand schizophrenia statistics. Rather than guessing or relying on that Facebook video your grandma shared, let's get the facts and work things out.

Understanding the facts is often as difficult as getting the correct information in the first place. We're not only going to break down the numbers for you but help you understand just what those numbers mean.

What Is Schizophrenia?

A great place to start uncovering schizophrenia statistics is to first understand what schizophrenia is. At its core, schizophrenia is a mental illness that alters a person's sense of reality. It is quite complex in nature and often manifests in different ways in different people.

Many of the common symptoms of schizophrenia alter a person's perception of life and quality of life. Symptoms like paranoia, disorganization, delusions, and hallucinations make it difficult for a person to identify what is real and what is not. It can often lead to major trust issues between family members, friends, and co-workers.

Some of the other symptoms make it difficult for people to maintain relationships. They may not have the strength to move, the motivation to interact with people, or may be unable to communicate in the same ways they used to. Many people with schizophrenia may also deal with other types of mental illnesses, like anxiety and depression.

When Can This Happen?

Typically, adolescence and early adulthood is the prime time for schizophrenia onset. Men typically find themselves experiencing symptoms far sooner than women do, but it's generally obtained between the ages of 16 and 30.

Additionally, after you reach the age of about 45 years, it's extremely unlikely that you will acquire schizophrenia. Never say never, but the probability decreases significantly. Symptoms also do not often appear in young children.

Subtypes of Schizophrenia

Believe it or not, not everyone experiences schizophrenia in the same way. Unlike the flu where the same list of symptoms pops up for each patient, schizophrenia can include a wide variety of symptoms that may or not appear in a person's life.

In order to better treat and care for those with schizophrenia, medical professionals have created five different subcategories for schizophrenia: paranoid, disorganized, catatonic, undifferentiated, and residual. Each subcategory is unique, and it is important to understand the different symptoms associated with each.

Paranoid Schizophrenia

When the general public talks or thinks about schizophrenia, they often refer to paranoid schizophrenia. This is the most common type of schizophrenia out there and therefore the most well known.

The main feature of this subcategory is that you become unable to trust your surroundings. Many people suffer from delusions that make them feel they are being watched or poisoned. Sometimes they think higher authorities, like aliens, are trying to take over.

They begin to find it hard to trust the people around them, including loved ones, friends, and family. The huge problem with this is that it makes it almost impossible to hold down a job, maintain a relationship with your spouse, and function in daily society.

There are people everywhere, and if you can't trust a single one of them, what do you do?

A lot of this subcategory is rooted in anxiety and fear. These fears become heightened through hallucinations and delusions, and even when the irrationality of it all comes to light, it may be difficult for the person to believe it.

Disorganized Schizophrenia

Disorganized schizophrenia is a bit harder to wrap your brain around because it's not something that can be easily imagined. In a way, it's almost as if you completely forgot how to speak in your native tongue, and only remembered a few random words and phrases. Everything becomes scrambled and hard for anyone to process.

In this form of schizophrenia, patients experience major disturbances in their brain's basic functions. Speech can become erratic and completely disorganized, as can their behavior. This can make it extremely difficult to understand what a person needs or wants.

It can also take effect on a person's emotional expressions. When people are feeling excited about an upcoming trip, they often smile and talk about their joy for what's to come. Someone experiencing disorganized schizophrenia may experience that same feeling of excitement, but be unable to express it naturally. Instead, they might throw a chair in what appears to be anger as they yell.

Catatonic Schizophrenia

The word “catatonic” is just as unsettling as it sounds. The word itself means that someone or something is unresponsive and immobile. In much the same way, catatonic schizophrenia has to do with the movement, or lack of movement, in a person's body.

There are two ends of the spectrum for this subcategory. The truest-to-the-definition end of the spectrum leaves people unable to move their body on their own accord. They might fall into a sort of slumped stupor or become incredibly rigid, often in uncomfortable-looking positions. Moving them may prove to be futile as you may be met with extreme resistance.

Many of these individuals are left unable to talk, move, or respond on their own. It's almost as though they have temporarily transformed into breathing statues.

The opposite end of this spectrum leaves people with a giant boost of momentum. Their arms and legs may move erratically or become repetitive in nature. They may begin to pace for hours on end, unable to stop or sit down.

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia

This subcategory can sort of be thought of as the catchall category. If a person exhibits signs from multiple other categories, or simply finds themselves bouncing between different categories, they will likely be categorized as undifferentiated.

With nothing standing out as the main feature, this category provides a name for people whose symptoms don't neatly fall into a single box. These cases are often the most complicated to diagnose, making treatment far more difficult than normal. Each person is unique and will have to work closely with medical staff to establish the right treatment path for themselves.

Residual Schizophrenia

If you've made it this far, you're doing quite well. Residual schizophrenia refers to those who, regardless of which other categories they fall into, have seen their symptoms subside. This does not mean that they have magically become cured, but instead that their symptoms have subsided and are becoming easier to manage.

Many people who reach this subcategory find it easier to start forming or repairing relationships, get a job, and live life as they intended. Relapse is still a possibility, but with continued treatment and medication, will not occur.

Types of Treatment

There are many different types of treatment, and each person will likely need multiple forms of treatment in order to regain their sense of reality. One of the most common types of treatment is medication, often an antipsychotic. This works to make delusions and hallucinations less intense by altering the levels of chemicals in the brain.

People may also seek hospitalization for a period of time in order to be monitored, cared for, and treated all hours of the day. Counseling and therapy will become crucial to help work through some of the struggles and reality lapses people experience.

Seeking out-patient care and social support groups can also help people re-adapt to the real world. They can speak with people going through similar struggles and feel connected rather than isolated.

Schizophrenia Statistics

All of that is great, but you came here for schizophrenia statistics. Let's put some numbers to those facts.

Who Has Schizophrenia?

When you think about schizophrenia as a disorder, you may think it's incredibly uncommon. Sure, not every person down the street is going to experience it in their lives, but it actually affects roughly 1% of the population worldwide.

That may not sound like a lot, but considering there are 7 billion people on the planet, we're talking about 70 million people being affected by schizophrenia. That's roughly the population of the entire United Kingdom!

The Genetic Risk

According to a number of schizophrenia statistics, there is a significantly greater chance of developing schizophrenia yourself if someone in your family has been diagnosed. There is a major genetic component to schizophrenia that many people often share in families.

Those at the highest risk of developing the disorder are identical twins. If one twin has it, the chances of the other developing it is roughly 48%. That is an incredibly high number, especially compared with the other biological schizophrenia statistics.

The next closest genetic bonds are brothers and sisters, who run about a 9% risk of getting schizophrenia themselves. Parents create a 6% chance and cousins bring up the rear with a 2% chance.

Living Conditions

Let's say you or someone you know does get diagnosed with schizophrenia. How do they live? What do they do? Do they need constant supervision or are they okay on their own?

Actually, most people diagnosed with schizophrenia find themselves living on their own. Roughly 28% of people live independently while another 14% live with close family.

An additional 14% of people live independently but with the assistance of outpatient services. This simply means that the person regularly attends therapy sessions, occasionally seeks hospitalization or is involved with some other sort of support system that does not leave them consistently alone.

Others seek companionship in other forms. Approximately 11% of people live in group homes, and another 10% live in an assisted living facility.

On the smaller end of the schizophrenia statistics, roughly 8% of people find themselves living in nursing homes where care is constantly provided to them. In sort of the same light, approximately 6% of people remain hospitalized as they go through the treatment process.

Unfortunately, a number of individuals get involved in illegal actions due to their mental disorder. This leaves about 5% of the people living with schizophrenia incarcerated. Additionally, the remaining 4% of people find themselves living on the streets, homeless.

Recovery Data

It was commonly believed that if you were diagnosed with schizophrenia, it would become almost impossible for you to make a full recovery. You would have to live out the rest of your days suffering to get back to who you once were. According to more recent schizophrenia statistics and findings, that's actually not the case. many young people are finding recovery possible through time, treatment, and support.

Taken from a sample of people who have lived with schizophrenia for ten years, nearly 28% of the individuals made a full recovery. That's almost a third of the people! And that number continues to grow as treatment plans improve and the stigma around mental illness weakens.

Another 23% of individuals are able to live independently with their symptoms. This means that they are not fully recovered, but have learned to make it through the daily processes of life on their own. Similarly, 21% of people have made drastic improvements to their situations, but are still in need of treatment.

However, not everyone is as lucky. Some people continue to struggle with the disorder with no signs of improvement. These people, approximately 15%, often remain hospitalized or are provided with constant care.

Another 8% of the people find it difficult to continue onward and end up committing suicide. 2% perish for other medical reasons unrelated to suicide.

Filling in the Gaps

Understanding schizophrenia statistics is an important way to keep yourself informed. We want to fill in all the gaps in our knowledge so that we can better help and support those living with schizophrenia.

If you or someone you know is dealing with schizophrenia, reach out to them. Show them you support them, understand the details of what the disorder entails, and are comfortable still being their friend. A simple gesture can go a long way in preventing that 8%.

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