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Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 90, Issue 3, pp 553–563 | Cite as

Schizophrenia Mortality: Barriers to Progress

  • Mary V. SeemanEmail author
Review Article

Abstract

Individuals with schizophrenia die, on average, 20 years before their peers, with ‘natural causes’ accounting for 80% of premature deaths. The aim of this narrative review is to address this phenomenon from the perspective of known factors that contribute to long life. The relevant literature from the last decade was searched in PubMed and Google Scholar databases. Four factors have been shown to be common to centarians, people who live to be a hundred: genes, life style behaviors that favor a healthy heart, social support, and a subjective purpose in life. The latter three factors are potentially modifiable but, in the context of schizophrenia, there are barriers to change, namely poverty, illness symptoms, stress, stigma, and side effects of antipsychotic medication. Barriers to change need to be addressed before substantial progress can be made in increasing the health and mortality risk of people with schizophrenia.

Keywords

Schizophrenia Mortality Centarians Poverty Symptoms Stress Stigma Antipsychotics 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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