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Who gets Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a common mental illness affecting approximately 300,000 Canadians. It is a disease that affects both men and women equally, but men are often affected at an earlier age. Schizophrenia generally develops during the most productive years of a person's life—usually between the ages of 15 and 25 in men and 25 and 35 in women. In fact, about 20-40% of people with schizophrenia experience their first psychotic symptoms before they are 20 years old. After the age of 45, the disease appears more often among women than men, and the symptoms tend to be more prominent.

The life expectancy of people with schizophrenia is about 15 years less than in the general population, due to the multiple health risks associated with the illness, such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. Suicide is also a major cause of mortality.