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Schizophrenia takes fatal turn in China

8:37am, September 29, 2004

Suicides among people with schizophrenia are a major public-health concern in China, according to a new report. One-tenth of all Chinese people who kill themselves suffer from this severe mental disorder, say psychiatrist Michael R. Phillips of Beijing Hui Long Guan Hospital and his coworkers. In most other countries with suicide statistics, schizophrenia accounts for a smaller proportion of the deaths.

China is the only nation studied in which a larger proportion of women than men develops schizophrenia and commits suicide, the researchers report in the Sept. 18 Lancet. People with schizophrenia in China's rural villages kill themselves far more frequently than do those in the cities, the team notes.

Schizophrenia-related suicides in China often involve married women with no previous psychiatric treatment. In Western countries, it's more common for men with schizophrenia to kill themselves shortly after being admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

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