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Publication 50 "Schizophrenia"

Published in July 2010 as part of the series of Federal Health Reporting ("Gesundheitsberichterstattung des Bundes")

GBE-Booklet 50: Schizophrenia. Source: © RKI Source: © Robert Koch-Institut

ISBN 978-3-89606-194-2
ISSN 1437-5478
German version only

Schizophrenia – Booklet 50 (PDF, 1 MB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)

Schizophrenia is one of the most severe of mental illnesses. It affects about 1% of the population worldwide at least once in their lives. The onset age is usually between 18 and 35. Schizophrenia is among the ten diseases worldwide involving the highest number of "years of life lived with disability", and for many patients it involves a considerable reduction in the quality of life.

There are several contributory factors to this: the early onset of disease, the fact that about three quarters of patients suffer relapses, a higher mortality rate, and often long-term impairments of their cognitive skills. It also reduces their ability to lead a normal social and professional life, which restricts or even precludes gainful employment for most schizophrenic patients. This causes great personal stress for patients and their families and generates high costs for health and social systems.

On the other hand, effective pharmacological and psychosocial treatment options have become available in the meantime. Furthermore, the organization of care over the last 30 years has focused mainly on the needs of schizophrenic patients, leading to a significant reduction in hospitalization times. Early detection and treatment, as well as consistent relapse prevention can positively influence the course of schizophrenia. In acute and long-term treatment, symptom remission and relapse prevention is achieved in approximately 70% of cases. Improvements in care can be expected from efforts to improve the integration of outpatient care, inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization and rehabilitative care, as well as from the wider use of quality-assurance measures. Combating the stigmatization of – and discrimination against – schizophrenic sufferers ultimately not only serves to relieve the people affected and promote their social integration, but also helps them overcome their inhibitions to accepting offers of help.

Date: 15.07.2010