Schizophrenia affects more than 2 million Americans, or 1% of the nation's population age 18 or older. It is one of the most severe mental illnesses, one of the most feared, and yet also one of the most misunderstood.
People with mental illnesses die at least 25 years earlier than the rest of the population, compounding the cruelty of the disease, which can wear down a person's daily life and hopes for the future. People living with schizophrenia die from heart disease, diabetes, and other medical causes art a rate two or three times greater than the rest of the population. Ten percent of people who struggle with schizophrenia die from suicide.
Yet schizophrenia is a manageable disease. Advances in medicine, including antipsychotic medications, psychosocial therapy, and rehabilitation, now enable many people who live with schizophrenia to recover and live productive, fulfilling lives.
Treatment works--if a person can get it. As many of the findings of the report indicate, getting access to such treatment is a challenge. Individuals living with schizophrenia who participated in the survey, in fact, represent a special population because 95% are engaged in treatment. Most people living with the illness are not.
The analysis is broken down into the following sections:
All three help define living with schizophrenia in human, practical terms.