Schizophrenics 'likely to die 20 years younger', study finds

Credit: PA

People suffering from schizophrenia die 20 years younger than those not living with the debilitating mental illness, doctors have warned.

Health experts warned many of schizophrenics were dying from preventable, physical illnesses and better awareness was needed to combat the high mortality rate.

A report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) found many people were not getting crucial healthcare, such as psychological therapies and physical health checks.

This pushed the life expectancy of a schizophrenic down by a whole two decades, the report said.

The root cause of schizophrenia remains unknown, but genetics, stress, substance abuse and even viral infections can trigger an episode.

Schizophrenics can suffer from a wide range of life altering symptoms, such as hearing voices, delusions, paranoia, agitation, plus depression, social withdrawal, apathy and sharp, involuntary movements.

Patients may struggle to administer powerful medication, which can lead to a premature death. Credit: PA

The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) published the report to coincide with Mental Health Day, in the hopes more can be done to help people struggling with conditions like depression, anorexia and hyper-mania.

Charity Rethink Mental Illness has joined in by launching the +20 campaign to fight for people with the condition to have the same life expectancy as everyone else.

The National Institute for Care and Excellence recommends that, wherever possible, the family is involved in care that is based in the community.

A good response to anti-psychotic drugs occurs in about seven out of 10 cases, although the side-effects can cause patients distress.