Where did the Schizophrenics Go

Wondrous are the ways of Washington. In a single day, the federal government officially reduced the number of people with schizophrenia in the United States from 2.8 million to 750,000. With a change of the National Institute of Mental Health website in 2017, two million people with schizophrenia simply disappeared.

The 2.8 million estimate, or 1.1% of the adult population, had been the official standard for the U.S. since the 1980s, when the last major prevalence survey was carried out. The figure was provided to Congress in 1993 and used for national estimates such as the cost of schizophrenia.

NIMH Director Joshua Gordon wrote in the Psychiatric Times that “the 1.1% figure is no longer scientifically defensible” in view of “the most recent findings.” These findings come from a 2001-03 National Comorbidity Survey, which included only those who lived at home and acknowledged symptoms of schizophrenia. It excluded those in hospitals, nursing homes, group homes, jails, prisons, homeless shelters and on the streets. Nor did it include the people with schizophrenia among the 29% who refused to participate in the survey.

In short, the 750,000 estimate, 0.3% of the adult population, was an absurd undercount, obvious to anyone with knowledge of the subject.

– Treatment Advocacy Center

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