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Stephen M. Lawrie

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date: 02 March 2021

Schizophrenia is typically a severe chronic mental illness with a high morbidity and increased mortality. It has a complex aetiology including a substantial genetic component. Its clinical features include characteristic delusions and hallucinations. There are no diagnostic tests. The differential diagnosis is from manic states, organic brain disorders, and substance misuse. Whilst the management is complex, antipsychotic drugs are effective in reducing symptoms. The overall prognosis is poor; many patients live restricted lives and there is a high rate of suicide. However, some patients return to normal functioning. Importantly for physicians, people with schizophrenia die on average 10 years earlier than the general population, mainly because of cardiac and cerebrovascular disease, which is often inadequately treated.

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