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Associated Conditions (Comorbidity) of Schizophrenia

Virtually all psychiatric conditions can coincide with SchizophreniaMajor Depression is known to occur in about a quarter of people with Schizophrenia and is particularly common after the first active phase [ref].   Substance Abuse is also a major problem in this group, and includes cannabis, alcohol and cocaine abuse. Close to 40% of people with Schizophrenia meet clinical criteria for Substance Abuse or Dependence, especially in men with high levels of positive symptoms [ref].  

People with Schizophrenia also tend to have much higher rates of general medical illnesses than the general population, including serious conditions like obesity, high cholesterol, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease [ref, ref, ref]. Much of this is likely due to poor lifestyle habits, such as unhealthy diets, exercising rarely, high rates of cigarette smoking and alcohol and drug abuse, and not seeking proper medical help when needed.  Some of the medications that are prescribed for Schizophrenia, especially some of the Atypical Antipsychotics, can contribute to obesity, high cholesterol and lipids, and diabetes mellitus. 

Up to 25% of people with Schizophrenia have a condition called psychogenic polydipsia, where they drink so much fluid during the day (over 3 litres per day) that they disrupt the balance of electrolytes in their blood stream and get symptoms such as confusion, restlessness, irritability, nausea and diarrhea [ref].  When these individuals drink large amounts of carbonated beverages, this can lead to significant weight gain.


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