The British Journal of Psychiatry
Costs of schizophrenia.
M Knapp


BACKGROUND Schizophrenia is a common and burdensome illness, with implications not only for the health service but for a host of other care agencies--public and private--as well as for patients, families and the wider society.

METHOD The paper reviews available UK evidence on the cost of schizophrenia (broadly defined) and on the cost-effectiveness of treatment options and alternative care arrangements. New evidence potentially alters our view of the costs of this illness.

RESULTS Aggregating the identifiable direct and indirect costs of schizophrenia for England suggests an annual cost of 2.6 billion pounds, but even this sum omits some indirect impacts which cannot currently be costed. Just over half the identified total is accounted for by the direct costs falling to the NHS, local authorities, charities and the criminal justice system. In helping to tackle this cost burden, there is now a body of evidence on cost-effective community care arrangements, antipsychotic drugs and psychological interventions.

CONCLUSIONS Although the costs of schizophrenia are considerable, there are treatments and care arrangements which can reduce this aggregate burden while maintaining or improving effectiveness.