Schizophrenia is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

5-Minute Clinical Consult (5MCC) app and website powered by Unbound Medicine helps you diagnose and manage 900+ medical conditions. Exclusive bonus features include Diagnosaurus DDx, 200 pediatrics topics, and medical news feeds. Explore these free sample topics:

5-Minute Clinical Consult

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --


Schizophrenia is a persistent and severe psychiatric condition characterized by neurocognitive decline and impairment in reality testing.


  • Major psychiatric disorder characterized by prodrome, active, and residual psychotic symptoms involving disturbances in appearance, speech, behavior, perception, and thought that last for at least 6 months
  • DSM-5 eliminated subcategories of schizophrenia (1).
  • System(s) affected: central nervous system (CNS)


  • 7.7 to 43/100,000
  • Predominant sex: male-to-female ratio = 1.4:1.0
  • Age of onset: typically <30 years, earlier in males (early to mid-20s) than females (late 20s), with a smaller peak that occurs in women >45 years

  • Lifetime (1%): highest prevalence in lower socioeconomic classes and urban settings (2-fold higher risk)
  • 1.1% of the population >18 years old; similar rates in all countries

Etiology and Pathophysiology

  • Stems from a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors; higher incidence if prenatal infection or hypoxia, winter births, first-generation immigrants, advanced paternal age, drug use, and genetic (velocardiofacial) syndromes
  • Overstimulation of mesolimbic dopamine D2 receptors, deficient prefrontal dopamine, and aberrant prefrontal glutamate (NMDA) activity results in perceptual disturbances, disordered thought process, and cognitive impairments.

If first-degree biologic relative has schizophrenia, risk is 8–10% (a 10-fold increase).

General Prevention

  • Currently, no known preventive measures decrease the incidence of schizophrenia.
  • Interventions to improve long-term outcome and associated comorbid conditions are employed during management.

Commonly Associated Conditions

  • Nicotine dependence (>50%) (1) and substance use disorders are common and lead to significant long-term medical and social complications.
  • Metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus, obesity, and certain infectious diseases, including HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C all occur in higher-than-expected rates in individuals with schizophrenia.

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --