Schizophrenia

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideSchizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

What are potential complications of schizophrenia? What is the prognosis for schizophrenia?

Possible complications for schizophrenia range from more medical conditions (morbidity) or shortened life span (mortality) to negative impacts on their family members as well. For example, people with schizophrenia who continue to suffer from residual symptoms have more trouble thinking than those whose negative symptoms are adequately managed with treatment. Women with schizophrenia are thought to be more likely to suffer from complications during their pregnancies, at delivery and during their children's newborn period.

Individuals with schizophrenia have more than twice the rate of death than those without the disorder. Almost half of people with schizophrenia will suffer from a drug-use disorder (for example, alcohol, marijuana, or other drug) during their lifetime. Research shows that people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder have a better quality of life when their family members tend to be more supportive and less critical of them.

Is it possible to prevent schizophrenia?

Prevention of schizophrenia for individuals who have yet to develop even the early symptoms of the disorder focuses on decreasing many of the environmental insults that increase the likelihood of developing the disorder. Therefore, improving prenatal care, ameliorating poverty, bullying, child abuse and neglect, as well as protecting people from family and community violence are important aspects of preventing schizophrenia. For people who show early signs of schizophrenia, some research is exploring the potential use of medications to prevent full-blown schizophrenia.

What research is being done on schizophrenia?

Cognitive remediation continues to be an experimental treatment that addresses the cognitive problems that are associated with schizophrenia (for example, memory problems, speech impairment, learning problems). Studies using this intervention in combination with vocational rehabilitation to improve work functioning have shown some promise, but more research is needed, particularly that which focuses on improving how well the person with schizophrenia functions in real-world situations as a result of this treatment.

Peer-to-peer treatment is a promising possible intervention since it promotes active constructive involvement from people who have schizophrenia, provides role models for individuals whose functioning is less stable, and may be accessible in individual and group settings, in person as well as by telephone or through the Internet. However, further research is necessary to demonstrate its effectiveness in decreasing symptoms or otherwise clearly improving functioning for people with schizophrenia.

In terms of weight management, more research is needed to explore how to best help people with schizophrenia retain the weight loss they achieve and even to prevent weight gain.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/24/2016

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