May 24, 2019

Life Challenges for Women with Schizophrenia


Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling.

People with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment. Early treatment may help get symptoms under control before serious complications develop and may help improve the long-term outlook.

Typically, women with schizophrenia function better socially than men, often because a later age of onset indicates a less severe form of mental illness. Women with schizophrenia are likely to experience fewer hospitalizations and shorter visits while in the hospital compared to men. Some researchers believe that this later onset is because hormones like estrogen have a protective effect.4 However, this disparity in the age of onset is not present in all ethnic groups. For example, multiple studies in the country of India have found no difference in the mean age of onset between men and women.

Women with schizophrenia are more likely to be married and have children. They’re also more likely to have unplanned pregnancies than women without the condition. In developed countries, women with schizophrenia experience higher rates of homelessness. They are, however, less likely than men to have a substance use disorder or smoking problem. Older women experience severe tardive dyskinesia (TD), an involuntary movement disorder usually seen in the jaw, lips and tongue caused by antipsychotic medications, more often than older men.6 Finally, being female and having schizophrenia is also more closely associated with a higher incidence of migraines and thyroid problems.




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