Changes in “Schizophrenia” Incidence Over Four Decades


Danish and Australian researchers find, in a review of the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register, that the incidence rate of early-onset schizophrenia diagnoses has increased significantly in the period from 1971 to 2010, and that the higher incidence of the diagnosis in males seen earlier in the period has reversed. The authors draw no conclusions as to whether the changes over the time period reflect changes in the diagnostic system, increased awareness of early psychosis, or changes in the actual incidence of the disorder.

Abstract → 
Okkels, N., Jensen, S., McGrath, J., Nielsen, R. “Changes in the Diagnosed Incidence of Early Onset Schizophrenia Over Four Decades.” Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, online August 20, 2012
Related Item:
Incidence of early-onset schizophrenia ‘increasing’

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Great can we finally put to rest the ridiculous mindless citing (never properly cited) figure of “1% of the population” that we hear all the time. It’s up to the capricious psychiatry profession to name-call whoever it likes, at various rates, fluctuating through time, and I’ve NEVER seen the origin of the BS 1% figure. It’s a lie that psychiatry’s name-calling was ever static, any time.

    The fake medical apparatus of “journal articles” and “author researchers” in relation to psychiatric name-calling, is just what we are up against. These people think they are serious medical researchers.

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  2. This study only counts up “cases of schizophrenia emerging in people under eighteen.” By contrast, the 1% figure is supposed to represent any person’s risk of developing schizophrenia over their entire lifetime. Don’t know how real it is.

    The report does disturb me though — it’s a pretty dramatic rise in the number of children and teens diagnosed. I wonder: Are these the same kids who are now being diagnosed as “bipolar” in the US? Or is “early onset schizophrenia” on the rise here too? If so, you sure don’t hear about it. It sounds to me like a case of shifting labels and diagnostic fashions in different cultures, rather than shifts in occurrence of a real disease. And not a shift that is good news for Swedish kids.

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  3. As unpopular as this may sound, it may be due to changes in the foods people eat – everything has sugar in it, processed foods can be a culprit, as can gluten allergies –

    Whatever the reasons, *if* they are related to diet (often are),they can be overcome –

    If *not* nutrition, they can be overcome other ways…
    Whatever *schizophenia* is… (who knows?)…

    It is NOT a lifelong, incurable *brain disease*!
    And more importantly, it is NOT a *neuroleptic* deficiency!


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  4. It may all be a result of what Anatomy of and Epidemic is all about: IATROGENIC DISTURBANCES. An estimated 3% pr. year of people taking anti psychotics will develop tardive psychosis, as well as 5% who will develop Tardive Dyskinesia pr year, (see for several references).

    Since many children are now given anti psychotics for their supposed bipolar disorder, it is no surprise that we end up with higher rates of diagnosed Schizophrenia.

    There is of course also the possibility of doctors wanting to diagnose schizophrenia early, if they believe that it is essential to reduce Time of untreated psychosis, and in addition believe that this is a degenerative disorder that can be slowed down by drugs.

    This article may point to exactly how dangerous the belief system that doctors have may be to a whole population.

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  5. I am not surprised at all. Psychiatrists are very quick at diagnosing schizophrenia left, right and centre without looking closer to what brougt the psychosis on. Diagnose and medicate! The medication paralyses the brain, doesn’t allow the patient to deal with his/her problem rationally and prolongs the situation…I read on the Internet that 62% of delirium gets misdiagnosed as schizophrenia. The same goes for chronic sleep deprivation. my son is a good example of this. But once diagnosed, you have had it. Saying “sorry, I did get that wrong” is not part of the psychiatrist’s vocabulary.

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