So, schizophrenia sounds like a really friggin’ scary deal, and, it kind of is, but the odds are that you probably will not develop it. Interestingly enough, schizophrenia effects about 1 percent of the population worldwide according to most statistics. There also seems to be little variation to the 1 percent figure. In other words, developing and developed countries seem to have the same rates of illness. It seems that there is not one place that has more or less of the disease.
Here are some other figures provided by narsad.org, a charity dedicated to mental health research. The percentages below show the likelihood of acquiring the disease.:
General population: .6% – 1%
Brother or sister has schizophrenia: 6%
One parent has schizophrenia: 6% – 8 %
Fraternal twin has schizophrenia: 10%
Both parents have schizophrenia: 39 – 46%
Identical twin has schizophrenia: 50%
One grandparent has schizophrenia: 4%
These figures are pretty much the same as most other organizations report.
Of course, just knowing someone with the disease does NOT increase your likelihood of developing the disease at all. And, if anyone needed friendship, it would certainly have to be schizophrenic people. People with the illness are often isolated by their disease and live life quite alone and removed from social situations. Sometimes the isolation is self-inflicted, because people with schizophrenia are too paranoid or have too much anxiety to be around other people. Often times people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses tragically lose friends and loved ones, because of misunderstandings and misinformation about the diseases, or simply because it is sometimes very difficult to be a friend or loved one to someone who is actively sick.
However, being a part of a community of friends and developing a social network, as for anyone, can have great benefits for the person with mental illness.
And, if you are afraid of schizophrenic people and fear that they will harm you, time to put those fears to rest. Statistically speaking, a schizophrenic person is MUCH MORE LIKELY to be the victim of violence than to be the perpetrator of violence. Despite the popular media’s depiction of schizophrenic people as crazed killers, schizophrenic people are not likely to cause anyone other than themselves harm. Also, most people are more likely to be harmed by “regular” people than schizophrenics, so if you are going to be watching out for anyone to bring out a machete, watch out for the people who DON’T have psychosis!
More notes on schizophrenia later. :)