Can a Person Die from 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.

Ask the experts

I've recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Is this disease fatal?

Doctor's response

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.

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Reviewed on 5/29/2018