Prognosis of Schizophrenia

By  , Expert Content
Feb 27, 2012

Schizophrenia cannot be cured, but currently available treatments work well to control the symptoms and relapse of the disease. With the currently available treatment, outlook for people with schizophrenia has improved considerably and many of them improve enough to lead independent and satisfying lives.

Prognosis of schizophrenia

Medications and psychosocial therapy can reduce symptoms, decrease the likelihood of relapse (that new episodes of psychosis will occur) and shorten the duration of psychotic episodes. With the appropriate treatment (medications and supportive counselling), most schizophrenic people can live and function relatively well in society. The outlook for these patients is optimistic if they stick to their treatment plan even when the symptoms are controlled.

According to research, ten years after initial diagnosis:

  • About fifty percent of people with schizophrenia recover or improve to the point of being able to function independently.
  • About 25% show improvement, but need a strong support network to manage them.
  • About 15% fail to show any improvement and need to be hospitalised.
  • Unfortunately, 10% of people with schizophrenia end up committing suicide.

Statistics for thirty years after diagnosis have almost similar observations, except that some more people improve to become independent, but there is also an increase in the number of suicides (from 10 to 15%). Overall, women have a better chance of recovering from symptoms than men.

Unfortunately, individuals with schizophrenia have a higher risk of committing suicide than people in the general population. Factors that probably contribute to this include fears and anxieties associated with psychosis or depression and hopeless feelings associated with being diagnosed with a serious, chronic and life-changing disease. Substance-use disorder (for example, alcohol, marijuana or other substance) is common in people with schizophrenia. About 50% of people with schizophrenia suffer from a substance-use disorder in their lifetime.



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