Schizophrenia in society and culture

Schizophrenia causes many problems. People with this disorder may not have jobs, and they might be poor or even homeless. It is a big reason why some people cannot live a normal life. The cost of treating schizophrenia is also high, including medical bills and other expenses. But there are medicines available to help treat it. These medicines are important for the pharmaceutical industry.[1][2][3]

Studies show that people with schizophrenia often have higher suicide rates and health problems.[4] They also face challenges in society that make it harder for them to get better.[5] Famous people like John Forbes Nash and Vaslav Nijinsky had schizophrenia, and shared their lives openly about the disorder.[6][7] Even though people do not always agree on how to understand or treat schizophrenia, it is a complex issue that affects both individuals and society in many ways.



Schizophrenia can lead to unemployment, poverty and homelessness[8] among affected individuals. How many people have it changes depending on what people think makes you have it.[9] More research on mental health is needed to work out how to help people with schizophrenia.[10]



Schizophrenia is responsible for considerable portion of global disability, accounting for roughly 1% of worldwide disability-adjusted life years.[11] Active hallucinations, a hallmark symptom of schizophrenia, rank as the third-most-disabling aspects of the condition, underscoring the profound impact of the disorder on affected individuals' functionality and quality of life.[12]

Financial aspects


The economic impact of schizophrenia is substantial, with the disorder costing an estimated $62.7 billion in the United States alone in 2002.[13] These costs encompass direct expenses related to hospitalization, medication, and long-term care, as well as indirect costs such as reduced workplace productivity, unemployment, and expenses incurred by law enforcement. Additionally, antipsychotic medications, commonly prescribed for schizophrenia, are utilized for various other conditions, contributing to a significant number of prescriptions. In the European Union, approximately 16.5 million individuals received daily antipsychotic prescriptions in 2018,[14] with notable increases observed in England between 1998 and 2010.[15]

Pharmaceutical market


The market size for schizophrenia drugs was valued as $9,000,000,000 in 2021. [16] Some firms offering drugs in this market include:

  • Acadia Pharmaceuticals
  • BioXcel Therapeutics
  • Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Eli Lilly
  • Gedeon Richter
  • Intra-Cellular Therapies
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Karuna Therapeutics
  • Lundbeck
  • Luye Pharma
  • MedinCell
  • Minerva Neurosciences
  • Neurocrine Biosciences
  • Novartis
  • Otsuka
  • Reviva Pharmaceuticals
  • Sunovion Pharmaceuticals
  • Teva [17]





A study of 160 people admitted to hospital with schizophrenia during the period January 1997 to 31 December 2012 who had committed homicide in England and Wales found that 94% had a history of alcohol and/or illegal drug consumption and/or were not in receipt of their prescribed medication. In a study of the actus reus of homicide of the years 1997–2003 in England and Wales, diagnosed schizophrenics were more likely to use an object with a sharpened edge, including knives. Homicides were mostly against family members or a spouse in their homes. [18][19][20][21][22][23]



Individuals with schizophrenia face elevated risks of suicide compared to the general population, along with a higher prevalence of physical health issues.[24][25] In 2015, approximately 16,900 deaths were attributed to schizophrenia-related causes.[26] A comprehensive study involving over 4 million individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia revealed that suicide, injury-poisoning, and undetermined non-natural cause were the most common reasons for death, followed by pneumonia.[27] Notably, the use of antipsychotic medication was identified as the primary cause for pneumonia diagnosis in one study. These findings underscore the urgent need for effective interventions to address both the mental and physical health challenges faced by individuals with schizophrenia.

Social judgement issues


Bad social judgment has been identified as a major obstacle in the recovery of schizophrenics.[28]

The word "schizophrenia" is used in reporting as a metaphor in newspapers worldwide.[29][30][31]

Symptoms amongst non-patient groups


Auditory hallucinations[broken anchor] have been shown to extend to mental health nurses[32] and non-patients.[33][34]



schizophrenia and smoking have shown a strong association in studies worldwide.[35][36] Those individuals who smoke tend to smoke heavily and to smoke cigarettes with a high nicotine content.[37]



People with schizophrenia


The sister of Dr Eugen Bleuler was admitted to a Zurich hospital with a catatonic illness. Dr Bleuler would later be the director of the same hospital where he diagnosed his sister with schizophrenia. [38][39][40]

Vaslav Nijinsky (born 1889 [41] died 1950) [42] was a dancer; his parents were also dancers. [43] He was known from about 1913 by the sobriquets [44] as "the God of dance" [45][44][46] and "God's clown". [43] During or sometime after March 1919 Dr Bleuler diagnosed Nijinsky "a confused schizophrenic with mild manic excitement" which meant she didn't need to go to a hospital.[42]


Camille Claudel, diagnosed retrospectively, was a sculptor, and during 1913 became a patient. [47]

Eduard Einstein, one of the children of Dr. Albert Einstein, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and lived his life in a hospital. [48][49][50] Eduard was diagnosed by a Dr. Bleuler sometime during the 1930's. [49]

John Forbes Nash

John Forbes Nash was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1959. John was a mathematician from the United States. He was given the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1994 for "equilibria in the theory of non-cooperative games".[51]

Alternate realities: psychoanalytic and religious


Some researchers believe that in certain unique situations, the personal experience or appearance of psychosis[broken anchor] is evidence of genius. [52]

The autoplastic nature of the psychotic's derangement enters unaltered ... into a work of art"

— K.R. Eissler [53]

Similarities are thought to exist of the structure of how schizophrenia is diagnosed with experiences of mysticism. [54]

Presentation in biography and cinema


A book, "A Beautiful Mind", and then a movie by the same name was made about the life of John Forbes Nash.[51]

The movie “The Soloist” tells the story of Nathaniel Ayers, a prodigious musician who dropped out of the Juilliard School in New York City after the symptoms of schizophrenia began. He later became homeless in Los Angeles, California, in the notorious Skid Row section.

Other words


People sometimes use the words schiz or schizo as abbreviations. [55][56]


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