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Incidence and prevalence

Schizophrenia is a relatively common illness, and it is certainly the most common form of psychotic disorder. Schizophrenia is typically diagnosed in late adolescence or early adulthood. The mean incidence of schizophrenia reported in epidemiological studies, when the diagnosis is limited to core criteria and corrected for age, is 0.11 per 1000 (range 0.07–0.17 per 1000); if broader criteria are used, this figure doubles to 0.24 per 1000 (range 0.07–0.52 per 1000).

The incidence of schizophrenia was given as a range of between 7.5 and 16.3 cases per year per 100,000 population.

Lifetime prevalence

The lifetime prevalenceof schizophrenia is between 0.4% and 1.4%. The National Survey of Psychiatric Morbidity in the UK found a population prevalence of probable psychotic disorder of 5 per 1000 in the age group 16–74 years. The lifetime prevalence of schizophrenia is commonly given at 1%; however, a recent review of studies from around the world estimated it to be 0.55%34. The same study also found that prevalence may vary greatly from country to country, despite the received wisdom that schizophrenia occurs at the same rate throughout the world.

It is worth noting however, that this may be in part due to differences in the way schizophrenia is diagnosed. Schizophrenia is also a major cause of disability. In a recent 14-country study35, active psychosis was ranked the third most disabling condition after quadriplegia and dementia and before paraplegia and blindness.

See also

References & Bibliography

Key texts



  • Attanayake V, McKay R, Joffres M, Singh S, Burkle F Jr, Mills E. Prevalence of mental disorders among children exposed to war: a systematic review of 7,920 children. Medicine, Conflict and Survival 2009; 25(1).
  • Chan RC, Xu T, Heinrichs RW, Yu Y, Gong QY. Neurological soft signs in non-psychotic first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuroscience Biobehavioural Reviews 2009.
  • Chan RC, Xu T, Heinrichs RW, Yu Y, Wang Y. Neurological Soft Signs in Schizophrenia: A meta-analysis. Schizophrenia Bulletin 2009.
  • Jablensky, A.; Sartorius, N.; Ernberg, G.; Anker, M.; Korten, A.; Cooper, J. E.; Day, R.; and Bertelsen, A. (1992). "Schizophrenia: Manifestations, Incidence and Course in Different Cultures. A World Health Organization Ten-Country Study." Psychological Medicine 20(Monograph Supplement):1–97.

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