How Many People Have Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a type of severe mental disorder that can disrupt a person's sense of self, perception, and language. In many cases, it also includes delusions, hearing voices, or other psychotic experiences. Schizophrenia can also hinder a person's ability to function by disrupting their studies or causing them to lose the skill that helped them make a living. Today, there are many effective treatments available, letting those with the condition live productive lives where they are fully integrated into society.

How Many People Have Schizophrenia?

Experts estimate that almost 1.2 percent of the United States population suffers from schizophrenia and there are 51 million schizophrenia sufferers worldwide. It can vary greatly in how manageable and severe it is. Even in mild, highly treatable cases, schizophrenia will leave a mark.

It is challenging to get exact statistics for schizophrenia because of the illness itself. Many patients do not receive treatment and instead end up homeless and struggling. In fact, the majority of the 3.2 million Americans suffering from schizophrenia don't receive treatment. This is concerning for experts since treatment is necessary to take care of severe symptoms and prevent psychotic episode relapses.

What Are the Signs of Schizophrenia?

The answer to "how many people have schizophrenia" doesn't indicate the number of people who have symptoms but don't seek help. There positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

Positive symptoms of schizophrenia are those that add to a person's personality. These include delusions or false ideas, such as that they are famous or someone is spying on the patient. There may also be hallucinations, such as smelling, hearing, tasting, feeling, or seeing things that don't exist. This is most commonly in the form of imaginary voices that talk to the patient or give them commands. There can also be disordered speech and thinking, such as moving between topics nonsensically or making up their own sounds and words.

Negative symptoms of schizophrenia include those that a person loses or no longer has. These include emotional unresponsiveness, a lack of initiative or drive, extreme apathy, and social withdrawal.

How to Treat Schizophrenia

Now that you know how many people have schizophrenia, it is time to learn about the various treatment options.

1. Individual Psychotherapy

Individual psychotherapy involves having regular sessions with a therapist. These focus on current or past relationships, feelings, thoughts and problems. This one-on-one contact with a professional lets patients learn more about their illness and themselves, giving them skills necessary to handle daily problems. This therapy makes it easier to tell what is real and can help enhance problem-solving skills.

2. Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation focuses on social skills training, money management education, problem solving support, and vocational or job counseling.

3. Cognitive Remediation

Cognitive remediation typically involves exercises and drills with pencil and paper or computer-based exercises and is a type of behavioral treatment. It works to help those with schizophrenia develop and strengthen their existing cognitive skills while developing more effective strategies to help with issues related to organization, planning, memory and attention.

4. Family Involvement

Numerous studies have shown that schizophrenics with support from their family do better than those who try to tackle their condition alone. Because of this, most treatment aims to involve all family members in the process.

5. Self Help Groups

Community outreach and care programs help those with schizophrenia avoid legal problems, repeat hospitalization, non-compliance and relapse.

6. Medications

Treatment for schizophrenia is heavily based on medications. Many patients, however, are hesitant to take their medications because side effects can be serious, although rare. Most of the drugs prescribed for schizophrenia are antipsychotic medications which control symptoms by affecting serotonin and dopamine, brain neuro-transmitters. The choice of medication may also depend on how willing the patient is to be involved. In the case of patients who don't want to take medication, injections may be the preferred treatment.

Famous People Who Have Schizophrenia But Lived a Fullfilling Life

Even with the answer to how many people have schizophrenia being incredibly high, it is possible to lead a fulfilling life. Many people have suffered from this condition and still made a name for themselves.

1. John Nash

This mathematician won a Nobel Prize and is known for his paranoid schizophrenia in addition to his genius. His theories focused on forces that rule chance and are still used to analyze cooperation, currency trends and arms race. During the later portion of his career, his delusions involved persecution of government agents. The movie "A Beautiful Mind" is based on Dr. Nash.

2. Peter Green

Peter Green is a British guitarist who was a Fleetwood Mac founding member known for his unique sound. He was on most lists of the top guitarists in the world at one point. He received a schizophrenia diagnosis in the 1970s and began treatment. He was in psychiatric hospitals and had some violent episodes, then was a recluse. He still plays live performances.

3. Lionel Aldridge

Lionel Aldridge was a rookie who started playing with the Green Bay Packers in 1963, winning two Super Bowls. After retirement, he developed schizophrenia during the late 1970s. He was homeless for years before finding the right treatment. He then advocated for the mentally ill and the homeless before dying in 1998.

4. Jim Gordon

The most famous drummer during the golden years of rock ‘n roll Jim Gordon was the percussionist of choice during the 1960s and 1970s. His paranoid schizophrenia appeared in the late 1970s when he heard voices. He was not properly diagnosed or treated and his illness led him to kill his mother in 1983. He is still in prison.

5. Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson is a Grammy winner and the former lead singer of the famous Beach Boys. He was also on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest singers ever. He had multiple mental disorders, including schizoaffective disorder. This caused delusions similar to those of schizophrenia. He eventually controlled his problems and still performs today. 

 
 
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