Am Fam Physician. 2014 Dec 1;90(11):775-82.


Schizophrenia is the most common psychotic disease, with a global prevalence of less than 1%. It affects all ethnicities and is slightly more common in men. Patients with schizophrenia commonly experience debilitating social and occupational impairments, but some are able to function well with proper treatment. Symptom onset is generally between late adolescence and the mid-30s. There are two categories of symptoms: positive and negative. Hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized speech are examples of positive symptoms, whereas decreased emotional expression and lack of motivation are negative symptoms. Antipsychotic medications can treat some symptoms of schizophrenia but are associated with multiple adverse effects, including extrapyramidal symptoms and metabolic changes. Patients receiving antipsychotic medications, especially second-generation (or atypical) antipsychotics, should be monitored regularly for metabolic changes and cardiovascular risk factors. Persons with schizophrenia who undergo psychosocial therapy in addition to medical therapy have better outcomes. Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia have a higher overall mortality rate than the general public, partly because of the increased suicide risk associated with schizophrenia.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Family Practice / education
  • Family Practice / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Young Adult


  • Antipsychotic Agents