Gender and Schizophrenia

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Schizophrenia is a chronic psychotic illness that characteristically manifests itself from the early adult years throughout the entirety of life. Its symptoms are well known, its phenomenology has been exhaustively studied, and palliative treatments exist, although they rarely produce complete response. The pathophysiology and the etiology of the illness remain unknown. Clues to the basic understanding of schizophrenia are rare, but they do appear. Gender differences in schizophrenia have always been implicated in the challenge to clearly understand the disorder. Male and female schizophrenics display identical symptomatic features during acute illness, seemingly minimizing the relevance of gender issues. Within the last decade, however, more careful screening has revealed significant gender differences in schizophrenia: in age at onset, premorbid personality, subtype of schizophrenia, psychosocial function, and treatment response. Attention to these differences could be important to answer theoretical and therapeutic questions regarding the disorder.​​

J Clin Psychiatry 1997;58(suppl 15):33–37