Schizophrenia is a chronic psychotic disorder characterized by symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, and impaired cognitive ability. It has a prevalence between 0.6% to 1.9% in the United States.

Schizophrenia patients tend to experience their first episodes in their 20s to 30s, this early start combined with the chronic character of the disease make schizophrenia a disabling disorder for many patients. Due to the heterogeneity of schizophrenia, consensus on its diagnosis criteria, etiology, and pathophysiology is not well established. However, others found that schizophrenia starts to develop in utero, and other evidence also support that genetic factor is important in development of schizophrenia.

Patients of schizophrenia can also often lead to substance use disorders, including alcohol, tobacco, and opioids.

Presently, schizophrenia is without a cure and hard to treat due to medication adverse effects and nonadherence patients, especially for treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Existing treatments for schizophrenia include both nonpharmacological and pharmacological therapies, so that the treatment can target symptoms, prevent relapse, and increase adaptive functioning. With the current methods of intervention, schizophrenia patients still tend to be nonadherent with a rate from 37% to 74%, either due to their denial of illness or adverse effect from medication, and even adherent patients rarely reacquire their adaptive functioning to baseline. Given the efficacy and problems of existing treatment options and potential consequences induced by schizophrenia, it is crucially important to develop new medications for this disease.

Schizophrenia is one of the top 15 leading causes of disability worldwide, and individuals with schizophrenia have an increased risk of premature mortality. Such lost in life expectancy is estimated to be 28.5 years in the United States. An estimate of 4.9% patients with schizophrenia die by suicide, which is far greater than the general population, with the highest risk in the early stages.

Financial costs associated with schizophrenia are disproportionately high. Mainly due to the induced mental and physical conditions, as well as factors outside health care like justice involvement and social service.

Related Bibliography:
[1] NIH statistics on schizophrenia (
[2] Van Os, Jim, and Shitij Kapur. “Schizophrenia.” The Lancet. 374.9690 (2009): 635-645.
[3] Patel, Krishna R et al. “Schizophrenia: overview and treatment options.” P&T: a peer-reviewed journal of formulary management vol. 39,9 (2014):638-45.
[4] American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. American Psychiatric Pub, 2013.