Prognosis for any particular individual affected by schizophrenia is particularly hard to judge as treatment and access to treatment is continually changing, as new methods become available and medical recommendations change.
A retrospective study has shown that about a third of people make a full recovery, about a third show improvement but not a full recovery, and a third remain ill42.
Another study suggests recovery from schizophrenia is much less likely. Where full recovery is defined as concurrent remission of positive and negative symptoms and adequate social/vocational functioning (fulfillment of age-appropriate role expectations, performance of daily living tasks without supervision, and engagement in social interactions) recovery from schizophrenia was put at 13.7%.43.
Generally remission is a less strict standard than is recovery and when a remission standard is used in lieu of a recovery standard the effectiveness of treatments for schizophrenia are greatly overstated.
The World Health Organization conducted two long-term follow-up studies involving more than 2,000 people suffering from schizophrenia in different countries, and discovered these patients have much better long-term outcomes in poor countries (India, Colombia and Nigeria) than in rich countries (USA, UK, Ireland, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Japan, and Soviet Union)44, despite the fact antipsychotic medication is typically not widely available in poorer countries.
In a study of over 168,000 Swedish citizens undergoing psychiatric treatment, schizophrenia was associated with an average life expectancy of approximately 80-85% of that of the general population. Women with a diagnosis of schizophrenia were found to have a slightly better life expectancy than that of men, and as a whole, a diagnosis of schizophrenia was associated with a better life expectancy than substance abuse, personality disorder, heart attack and stroke.45
There is an extremely high suicide rate associated with schizophrenia. A recent study showed that 30% of patients diagnosed with this condition had attempted suicide at least once during their lifetime.46 Another study suggested that 10% of persons with schizophrenia die by suicide47.
References & Bibliography
- Zubin J, Salsinger S, Burdock 1961, A biometric approach to prognosis in schizophrenia. In P Hoch, J Zubin (eds). Comparative Epidemiology of the Mental Disorders. New York, Grune and Stratton Inc
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- Achte K A 1967, On Prognosis and Rehabilitation in Schizophrenia and Paranoid Psychoses. Copenhagen: Munksgaard
- Phillips L. 1953, Case history data and prognosis in schizophrenia, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 1C7: 515 25
- Pulkkinen F 1977, Immunoglobulins, psychopathology and prognosis in schizophrenia, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 56: 173-82