Schizophrenia: Other Health Problems That May Occur

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Schizophrenia: Other Health Problems That May Occur

Topic Overview

Other medical or mental health problems sometimes occur along with or because of schizophrenia.

Medical problems

Other medical problems may include:

  • Obesity (being very overweight). This can be caused by side effects of medicines used for schizophrenia or because your symptoms make healthy eating and activity hard.1 People who have schizophrenia also are more likely to have metabolic syndrome.
  • Type 2 diabetes. This may be caused by obesity or by some medicines used to treat schizophrenia.1
  • Heart problems, such as coronary artery disease. These may be caused by schizophrenia, by some side effects of medicines for schizophrenia, or by obesity, smoking, drinking, or diabetes.1
  • HIV. Schizophrenia may result in behaviour that makes HIV more likely.1 This behaviour includes having unprotected sex, having many sex partners, and using drugs.1
  • Liver disease, as a result of heavy drinking.
  • Lung problems, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), because of heavy smoking.
  • Contagious diseases. Some people who have schizophrenia live in institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes. Living with many other people makes getting diseases that are easily spread, such as tuberculosis, more likely.
  • Injuries. People who have schizophrenia are more likely to have accidents because they can be confused or reckless. Body stiffness and lack of coordination, which are sometimes side effects of medicines, also make accidents more likely, and some people who have schizophrenia hear voices that tell them to do dangerous things.

Mental health problems

Mental health problems that may occur along with schizophrenia include anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. You need to treat these problems as well as the schizophrenia.

Related Information



  1. Sadock BJ, Sadock VA (2007). Schizophrenia. In Kaplan and Sadock’s Synopsis of Psychiatry: Behavioral Sciences/Clinical Psychiatry, 10th ed., pp. 467–497. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Miklos Ferenc Losonczy, MD, PhD - Psychiatry
Last Revised January 14, 2011

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