According to the World Health Organization schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that affects around 20 million people worldwide.

This chronic disabling disorder affects around 2.4 million people in the US and 5 million people in the European Union that had a disability-adjusted life years lost (DALY) total of 637,693 in 2010.

Psychoses, including schizophrenia, are categorized by distortions in thinking, language, emotions, perception, sense of self and behaviour.

Frequent psychotic experiences include hallucinations (hearing, seeing or feeling things that are not there) and delusions (fixed false beliefs or suspicions that are inflexibly held even when there is evidence to the contrary).

The disorder often makes it challenging for people affected to work or study normally. Discrimination and stigma may result in a lack of access to health and social services.

Moreover, individuals with psychosis are at high risk of exposure to human rights violations like long term confinement in institutions.

Schizophrenia usually commences in late adolescence or early adulthood. Treatment with drugs and psychosocial support is effective.

With suitable treatment and social support, affected people may lead a productive life and can be integrated in society.

The World Health Organization assessed direct costs of schizophrenia in Western countries that ranged from 1.6% to 2.6% of total health care expenditures that translates to between 7% and 12% of the gross national product.


Bipolar disorders affect about 60 million people worldwide.

They affect approximately 5.7 million adults in the US or around 2.6% of the US population aged 18 and older every year according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

A further 3 million people in Europe suffer from these conditions and they had a DALY of 727,841 in 2010.

These conditions usually manifest both manic and depressive episodes separated by periods of normal mood.

Manic episodes are characterised by an elevated or irritable mood, over-activity, pressure of speech, inflated self-esteem and a decreased need for sleep.

People who have manic attacks but do not experience depressive episodes are also categorized as having bipolar disorder.

There are effective treatments available for the treatment of the acute phase of bipolar disorder as well as preventing relapse.

These are drugs available that stabilize mood.

Psychosocial support is a significant component of treatment.


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