Schizophrenia - Risks
What risks and complications can schizophrenia cause?
Research shows that people with schizophrenia have an average life expectancy that is 10 to 15 years shorter than people without the condition. They are at higher risk of having a range of health issues such as being overweight, having heart disease and diabetes. This may be due to genetic factors, lifestyle choices (such as smoking and diet) or side effects from medication. Because of these issues, NICE recommends that when you start taking antipsychotic medication, your doctor should do a full range of physical health checks. This should include weight, blood pressure and other blood tests. These checks should be repeated regularly.
Mental health professionals are responsible for doing these checks for the first year of treatment. Responsibility may then pass to your GP. Your doctor or mental health team should offer you a programme which combines healthy eating and physical. You should be given help to stop smoking with support from a healthcare professional.
The risk of suicide is increased for people with schizophrenia.
Research has found that the increased risk is not usually because of psychotic symptoms. The risk is associated more with negative symptoms and low mood. Key risk factors include:
- previous suicide attempts,
- feelings of hopelessness,
- recent depression,
- drug use,
- recent loss or bereavement, and
- not seeking help.
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