A serious mental illness that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Gradual changes in thinking, mood, and social functioning often begin before the first episode of psychosis, usually starting in mid-adolescence. 


  • Affects less than 1% of the US population
  • The overall U.S. 2002 cost of schizophrenia was estimated to be $62.7 billion
  • Men tend to be diagnosed slightly earlier than women (16-25 years old)

Risk Factors

Since multiple factors may contribute, scientists cannot yet be specific about the exact cause in individual cases.

  • Brain structure and function
  • Environment
  • Genetics


There’s no sure way to prevent schizophrenia, but sticking with the treatment plan can help prevent relapses or worsening of symptoms.


People with a chronic disease are at higher risk for serious problems from certain diseases. Getting vaccinated is an important step in staying healthy.

The CDC recommends all adults receive:

  • Influenza – recommended every year, age 6 months and older
  • Tdap – (if an adult did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years.

Talk to your doctor about which other vaccines are right for you.

COVID-19 and Schizophrenia

People with schizophrenia may be more susceptible to transmission of COVID-19 due to a number of factors: cognitive impairment, lower awareness of risk, and barriers to adequate infection control including congregate living.


Support Groups