It is known that psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar I, and bipolar II are for life, and require long term treatment (lifelong).

Is this always the case?

The answer could include reference to any disorder, even those not listed in the DSM, say bipolar III, bipolar IV, bipolar V, etc. This refers to what is known as bipolar spectrum disorder.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Most patients are not born with any of these disorders, so they are certainly not "lifelong". $\endgroup$
    – user3116
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ Is this question specifically about schizophrenia/bipolar disorder (that's what the edited title looks like), or to any disorder (that's what the question text looks like)? $\endgroup$
    – Krysta
    Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 14:09

3 Answers 3


According to this systemic review (:the most objective kind of evidence come from reviews of studies not primary sources:) 1 in 7 schizophrenia patients met criteria for recovery.

Source: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/814844

A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Recovery in Schizophrenia:

Conclusions: Based on the best available data, approximately, 1 in 7 individuals with schizophrenia met our criteria for recovery. Despite major changes in treatment options in recent decades, the proportion of recovered cases has not increased. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/814844


The current understanding, I believe, is that symptomatic psychiatric disorders may or may not be lifelong according to many factors, but that the susceptibility to them probably is lifelong. Some examples. . .

  • Substance-induced psychosis (which is pretty much what it sounds like) is often though not always temporary.

  • Certain types and locations of brain tumors may cause psychotic symptoms, which may or may not reverse on treatment. Afr Health Sci. Dec 2004; 4(3): 190–194.

  • Major depressive disorder has a highly variable course, and may reoccur or may not. N Engl J Med 2008; 358:55-68. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra073096


Schizophrenia has no cure, which means you cannot "force" it to stop. However, not every case is lifelong by nature.

Information on schizophrenia prognosis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prognosis_of_schizophrenia

"A clinical study using strict recovery criteria (concurrent remission of positive and negative symptoms and adequate social and vocational functioning continuously for two years) found a recovery rate of 14% within the first five years.[17] A 5-year community study found that 62% showed overall improvement on a composite measure of clinical and functional outcomes.[18]"

Some tellings from people who have come through: http://www.topix.com/forum/health/schizophrenia/TL09TM53OI68I1IVI


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