Schizophrenia substantially contributes to the burden of mental disorders. Schizophrenia’s burden and epidemiological estimates in some countries have been published, but updated estimates of prevalence, incidence, and schizophrenia-related disability at the global level are lacking. Here, we present the data from and critically discuss the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study data, focusing on temporal changes in schizophrenia’s prevalence, incidence, and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) globally. From 1990 to 2019, schizophrenia raw prevalence (14.2 to 23.6 million), incidence (941,000 to 1.3 million), and DALYs (9.1 to 15.1 million) increased by over 65%, 37%, and 65% respectively, while age-standardized estimates remained stable globally. In countries with high socio-demographic index (SDI), both prevalence and DALYs increased, while in those with low SDI, the age-standardized incidence decreased and DALYs remained stable. The male/female ratio of burden of schizophrenia has remained stable in the overall population over the past 30 years (i.e., M/F = 1.1), yet decreasing from younger to older age groups (raw prevalence in females higher than males after age 65, with males having earlier age of onset, and females longer life expectancy). Results of this work suggest that schizophrenia’s raw prevalence, incidence, and burden have been increasing since 1990. Age-adjusted estimates did not reduce. Schizophrenia detection in low SDI countries is suboptimal, and its prevention/treatment in high SDI countries should be improved, considering its increasing prevalence. Schizophrenia sex ratio inverts throughout the lifespan, suggesting different age of onset and survival by sex. However, prevalence and burden estimates for schizophrenia are probably underestimated. GBD does not account for mortality from schizophrenia (and other mental disorders, apart from anorexia nervosa).

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