Definition Of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that affects 1.9 to 3 percent of Americans. Worldwide prevalence is similar among most cultures and between males and females. Symptoms of schizophrenia usually begin during late adolescence or early adulthood, and rarely occur before adolescence or after the age of 40.
People with schizophrenia hear voices that other people don’t, believe others are reading their minds or trying to harm them. This can cause people with the illness to become agitated or withdrawn. Most people with schizophrenia are not violent towards other people and are more likely to harm themselves. Approximately one-third of people with schizophrenia will attempt suicide while only an estimated 4.2% of yearly murders (1000/year) are caused by people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Sometimes people with schizophrenia may seem completely fine until they share their bizarre thoughts. People with schizophrenia often cope with the symptoms throughout their lives, even while on treatment.
People with schizophrenia who do not receive treatment often end up homeless or in jail. In 2000, approximately 20% of the 2.1 million Americans in jail (420,000) were seriously mentally ill. About 200,000 people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are homeless, which is one-third of the near 600,000 homeless population. Many schizophrenic people will bounce between jails, hospitals and shelters throughout their lives.
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