Schizophrenia is a complex and serious mental illness that influences how a person feels, thinks, and acts. Affecting around one percent of Americans, this disorder involves a combination of symptoms of varying degrees. These include delusions, which are false beliefs not based in reality, and hallucinations, which involve hearing and seeing things that don’t exist. Disorganized thinking and abnormal behavior are also symptoms, which result in impaired communication. There is no one known cause for schizophrenia. Instead, researchers and mental health professionals believe that this disorder is caused by a combination of brain chemistry, genetics, and environment. The majority of people with this condition are not violent or dangerous to others. Fortunately, there are treatment options for those who have been diagnosed with this mental disorder. The top three schizophrenia treatment options include antipsychotic medication, psychosocial interventions like individual and family therapy, and hospital therapies. Read on to find out what you need to know about treating schizophrenia.
Treatment Options for Treating Schizophrenia
- Antipsychotic medication
- Psychosocial interventions
- Hospital therapies
These types of medications are used to control the symptoms of schizophrenia. Current medications help reduce chemical imbalances in the brain and decrease the likelihood of a relapse. There are two different kinds of antipsychotic medication: Typical and Atypical. Also known as “First Generation” medications, the Typical antipsychotics aid in controlling delusions, hallucinations, and confusion attributed to this mental disorder. Some of the Typical medications are Thorazine, Haldol, and Serentil. The Atypical antipsychotics are also referred to as “Second Generation” medications, and generally work well with fewer side effects. Some Atypical medications include Ability, Seroquel, and Risperdal. Side effects are common, and can include dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, dizziness, and drowsiness.
- Two types of antipsychotics
- Atypical antipsychotics have less side effects
- Mild side effects are common
Psychosocial interventions are a combination of psychological and social strategies to help those with schizophrenia to manage their symptoms. In addition to medication, these strategies help individuals to lead more healthy, productive lives. One of these strategies is individual therapy, which helps to normalize thought patterns, cope with stress, and know the early warning signs of a relapse. Family therapy provides family members with the support and education they need. Social skills training helps people with schizophrenia to improve communication and encourage them to participate in social interactions. Vocational rehabilitation helps those with schizophrenia to find and keep jobs. Other resources available in large communities include help with finding housing and self-help groups.
- Individual therapy is essential
- Family therapy supports family members
- Vocational rehabilitation to find and keep jobs
This type of therapy is used to help those with schizophrenia to manage severe symptoms. When individuals with schizophrenia are in crisis, they need safe places to recover. Being hospitalized during these times provide proper nutrition, sleep, and hygiene, as well as around-the-clock care. Patients can also participate in therapy programs and learn what medication works for them. For those who do not respond to drug therapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be considered as a treatment option for schizophrenia.
- Hospital therapies help manage severe symptoms
- Hospitalization helps those in crisis
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an option
This mental disorder is complicated, requiring constant adjustments in treatment strategies to help patients live full, productive lives. What works for one person may not work for another, which means that people with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment.