More than 7.8 million Chinese people suffer from schizophrenia and 30 percent of them refuse to take drugs regularly, according to the country's first survey of mental illness.
The survey, released on Sunday, was carried out by the Chinese Medical Association (CMA) in association with Xi'an Janssen Pharmaceutical Ltd, a drug company.
Given the fierce competition in Chinese society and the pressures of daily life, the number of mental health patients is on the rise, said Zhou Dongfeng, a CMA professor.
"Schizophrenia poses a huge burden on society," said Zhou. "Patients' uncooperative attitudes towards drug-taking increase the chances of a relapse."
According to schizophrenia patients themselves and their family members, about 30 percent of the patients have poor drug compliance -- cutting doses without doctors' agreement or stopping altogether, the survey found, while doctors put the percentage at over 40.
The side effects associated with various psychiatric drugs are probably a factor in these figures.
Thirty-eight percent of patients who do not comply with medical prescriptions say they fear side effects while another 20 percent find taking drugs too troublesome.
(Xinhua News Agency June 19, 2007)