Dr. Lieberman recalls if schizophrenia is a fatal diagnosis.
Schizophrenia doesn’t directly kill you, like, let’s say, cancer will kill you or Alzheimer’s disease will result in mortality, but it indirectly has a high mortality rate. Many people attempt and die by suicide. Overall, between 6 and 10% of people who have schizophrenia will die by suicide. That’s many, many times the average in the population.
In addition, people who have schizophrenia, because of the side effects of the medication they take or because they tend to then kind of lapse into a lifestyle which is unhealthy and inactive, they smoke a lot, they don’t exercise, they are taking medicines which stimulate their appetite so they eat more, they can become obese, they can develop diabetes, cardiovascular disease.
It’s been found that there is a survival rate, which is much less than their peers, other people who are the same age, the same socioeconomic status. So, for example, the average lifespan for a man or an individual in today’s society is mid to late 70s. The average lifespan for somebody with schizophrenia is about 20 years less. So there’s a huge decrease in survival and the decrease in survival is due to excess mortality coming from suicide, coming from cardiovascular disease, coming from respiratory disease, associated with these lifestyle factors.
About Dr. Lieberman, M.D.:
Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D. currently is the Lawrence E. Kolb Chairman of Psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He also holds the Lieber Chair and Directs the Lieber Center for Schizophrenia Research in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia.