course of schizophrenia

Last reviewed 01/2018

The course of schizophrenia is vary variable. An acute onset tends to predict a better prognosis. Florid symptoms die down (even without treatment, although much more quickly if treatment is given), and the person returns to their normal self. However it is likely that there will be other acute relapses.

A chronic course to the illness is more likely if the onset was insidious. In these cases, delusions and hallucinations tend to persist unless drug treatment is maintained (i.e. the course tends not to be marked by remission and relapse), but, more importantly, the person does not return to their premorbid state. Instead he or she remains lacking in motivation and emotional responsiveness, and becomes increasingly apathetic and withdrawn.