How many people have schizophrenia?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that about 1 in 100 adults in the United States is affected by schizophrenia. This percentage represents about 3 million people nationwide. The mental illness usually starts to appear when a person enters their teenage and early adult years, often becoming full-blown once they reach their mid-20s. However, some females may not have symptoms of schizophrenia until later in life.

The disease may grow progressively worse throughout a person's lifetime, yet it can often be effectively treated. Since the 1970s effective medical treatments have emerged, allowing the vast majority of people with schizophrenia to live outside of hospitals and institutions. In 1971, according to the National Institute of Health, almost a half million people with schizophrenia were living in institutions. By 2000 that number had dropped to 170,000. Early diagnosis and treatment can help people with schizophrenia to lead healthier and more satisfying lives.

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