Epidemiology of Schizophrenia

A. The lifetime prevalence of schizophrenia is one percent.

B. Onset of psychosis usually occurs in the late teens or early twenties.

C. Males and females are equally affected, but the mean age of onset is approximately six years later in females, and females frequently have a milder course of illness.

D. The suicide rate is 10-13%, similar to the rate that occurs in depressive illnesses. More than 75% of patients are smokers, and the incidence of substance abuse is increased (especially alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana).

E. Most patients do not return to baseline functioning, and most patients follow a chronic downward course, but some have a gradual improvement with a decrease in positive symptoms and increased functioning. Very few patients have a complete recovery.

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