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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2001 Jun;3(2):109-19.

Characteristics, experience, and treatment of schizophrenia in China.

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Research Center of Clinical Epidemiology, Beijing Hui Long Guan Hospital, People's Republic of China, and Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass, USA.


Assessment of differences in the characteristics, experience, and treatment of schizophrenia between China and the West highlights the importance of the interaction of biological and sociocultural factors in the onset and course of the disorder. China reports a much higher prevalence of schizophrenia in urban areas than in rural areas and, surprisingly a higher prevalence in women than in men. Despite differences in the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia, the pattern of positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms is similar to that seen in the West. Almost ail medical treatment for schizophrenia is provided from specialized psychiatric hospitals, most of which are situated in urban centers. Antipsychotic medication (often the generic clozapine) is the mainstay of inpatient treatment. China developed a variety of innovative community-based treatment models in the 1980s, but the social and economic changes of the 1990s have made ii difficult to generalize these models. Overall, approximately 70% of the estimated 4.8 million persons with schizophrenia in China do not receive regular treatment.


China; epidemiology; nosology; rehabilitation; schizophrenia; treatment

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