How are relationships impacted by schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia can have an intrusive effect on personal relationships, social interactions and on libido. For people with schizophrenia who experience difficulty forming and maintaining relationships, this may be a direct consequence of the disorder and its debilitating symptoms. Investigations have found that cognitive deficits experienced by many people with schizophrenia, including impairments in social perception and emotional recognition, may also pose hindrance to the formation of meaningful relationships. Antipsychotic medication has also been shown to impact on sexual function.

What is the evidence on relationships?

Moderate to high quality evidence finds a medium-sized association between increased psychotic symptom severity and increased levels of loneliness in people with schizophrenia. Moderate to low quality evidence finds people with first-episode psychosis have smaller social networks than people without a mental disorder.

Moderate quality evidence finds the marital status of people with schizophrenia varies considerably in the developing world, with marriage rates ranging from 16% to 73%, divorce rates ranging from 6% to 39%, and being single ranging from 26% to 65%. Sexual dysfunction is common, and sex education can increase functioning and improve personal relationships, as well as reduce risks of HIV and unplanned pregnancies.

August 2020

Last updated at: 11:41 pm, 17th August 2020
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