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Schizophrenia and Suicide

The risk of suicide in the general population is only about 1%. But people with schizophrenia are at a much greater risk of suicide. Approximately 30% to 40% of people with schizophrenia attempt suicide at some point in their lifetime. About 10% will actually die by suicide. In fact, suicide is the most common cause of premature death among people with schizophrenia. And the suicide rate may be even higher for people with schizoaffective disorder.

Although suicidal behavior is difficult to predict, research scientists have found several factors that can increase the risk of suicide in people with schizophrenia. These risk factors include:

  • Symptoms of depression, hopelessness, and worthlessness
  • Hallucinations (imagined but untrue ideas, visions, or voices that the person believes are telling him/her to commit suicide)
  • Substance abuse
  • Recent loss or rejection
  • Being unmarried
  • Not having a job
  • Recent discharge from the hospital


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