Living With Schizophrenia

People with Schizophrenia Die 20 Years Earlier

Posted: Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Researchers at Oxford University have confirmed that the life expectancy of people living with schizophrenia is lower than normal by 10 to 20 years; worse than that caused by heavy smoking. The research carried out by Doctor Seena Fazel and published in May 2014 looked at 20 previous studies covering over 1.7 million individuals and a quarter of a million deaths and found that whilst heavy smokers can expect to die about ten years earlier people living with schizophrenia will die up to 20 years younger.

Suicide and the very high level of drug and alcohol abuse amongst people with schizophrenia is a large part of the increased mortality but the research also found that people living with schizophrenia are more likely to die from serious physical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer and this may be because, due to the stigma around the condition, they are not always taken seriously when first presenting to doctors with physical ailments.

Living with Schizophrenia asks whether mental health workers particularly in the third sector (the voluntary organisations) are giving sufficiently clear and robust messages to people with schizophrenia about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and whether the Mental Health Service is being given sufficient resources to properly monitor those at risk of suicide. Almost 3,000 people with schizophrenia die by their own hand each year in the UK, a tragically high death toll which exceeds deaths on the roads.

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