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Schizophrenia Treatment


Schizophrenia Treatment

Schizophrenia Treatment

No cure exists for schizophrenia. Constant attention is required for this chronic mental illness even when symptoms remit.  Schizophrenia treatment is structured for the management of the condition and subduing the symptoms.

Usually, medications and psychosocial therapy are employed in  schizophrenia treatment.  Patients with this chronic condition usually require lifelong treatment. This includes those periods that the disease symptoms have subsided. Hospitalization is usually recommended in case of crisis or when symptoms become severe.

Hospitalization helps in regulating the patients sleeping patterns, maintaining basic hygiene, enhancement of safety and ensuring proper diet and nutrition.  Schizophrenia treatment  is usually guided by experienced psychiatrists. Psychologists, psychiatric nurses, case managers and social workers may also be part of the treatment team. Such treatment approaches involving full teams may be offered in clinics possessing much expertize in mental illness treatment.

Medications in Schizophrenia Treatment

Schizophrenia Treatment

Schizophrenia Treatment

The basis of schizophrenia treatment usually lies in medications. However, patients may be reluctant to take the medications due to some associated drug side effects. Some schizophrenia medications are associated with some rare but severe side effects.

The most common prescription medications for schizophrenia treatment are anti-psychotic medications. Anti-psychotics alter functions of dopamine and serotonin (brain neurotransmitters) thereby controlling symptoms. The choice of a patient’s medication is also usually affected by their cooperativeness towards treatment.

Uncooperative patients may require injections instead of swallowing pills. Agitated patients may first require lorazepam (Ativan), benzodiazepine to calm them down. This can then be combined with anti-psychotics.

Atypical anti-psychotics are newer versions of anti-psychotic medications. They usually have less severe side effects than other conventional medications. Weight gain, high blood cholesterol and diabetes are some possible side effects of these drugs. Some examples of these medications include Clozapine Fazaclo clozaril  ODT, Aripiprazole (Abilify) Paliperidone Invega,Olanzapine (Zyprexa), Rispridone Risperdal, Quitiapine (Seroquel), Ziprasidone (Geodon).

Conventional or typical anti-psychotics include Chlorpromazine, Perphenazine, Haloperidol (Haldol) and Fluphenazine. These drugs often pose significant neurological side effects. Some of these side effects may be potentially irreversible. Tardive dyskinesia which is a movement disorder that resembles Parkinson’s disease is one such side effect.

Typical anti-psychotics are usually more affordable compared to the newer versions. The generic versions are a vital consideration in cases involving long-term treatment. A patient may take the medication for several weeks before noticing any symptoms improvement.

Generally, anti-psychotic medications in schizophrenia treatment are aimed at reducing symptoms at the minimum dosage possible. To achieve desirable results, a psychiatrist may consider different medications, combinations and dosages over time. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications may also aid in  schizophrenia treatment.

Psychosocial Schizophrenia Treatments

Schizophrenia Treatment

Schizophrenia Treatment

It’s a given that medications are the foundations stones for schizophrenia treatment. However, after recession of psychosis, psychosocial treatments become essential. Psychotherapy can be used strengthen the patient’s resolve to continue taking medication. It can also support their weekly goals and community participation.

Psychotherapy emphasizes advice, education, limit setting, reassurance, and reality testing with therapists. Some problems that schizophrenia treatment patients may experience include difficulties in carrying out mundane tasks. Such tasks may include cooking, grooming themselves and effective communication both at work and at home.  Psychosocial treatments may include:

  • Family Therapy: This offers education and support to families affected by schizophrenia. After hospital discharge, family members take care of patients. Such therapy equips them to handle problems and difficulties linked to this illness. Family therapy has been noted to reduce relapse occurrences from 50 to 60 % to a low of 10 % within a year of discharge. Through family meetings, discussions can be centered upon exact nature of problems. Alternative solutions can be listed, considered and selected before the best consensual solution is implemented.
  • Social Skill Training. This focuses on enhancing better social interactions and  communication. Better results can be achieved with schizophrenia outpatients when group therapy is combined with medication. Focusing on real life problems, plans and relationships has potential for achieving better results. Such success includes social interactions, work activities and roles in recreation. Supportive group therapy also minimizes social isolation and increases reality testing.
  • Individual Psychotherapy. This involves regular talk sessions with healthcare professionals like psychiatric nurses, social workers, psychiatrists or psychologists. It is important for individuals battling schizophrenia to learn how to cope with stressful situations and identify the early signs associated with relapse. Cognitive treatment involves problem solving and coping skills.  Reality oriented psychotherapy for individuals comes in handy in  schizophrenia management.
  • Vocational Rehab and Supported Employment. The focus of this program is to aid schizophrenia patients to land and keep jobs. Money management skills and the use of public transportation are other aspects of this program. Such approaches improve the chances of success for community based  schizophrenia treatment.

Certain community based treatment facilities run programs helping individuals suffering from schizophrenia with housing, jobs and crisis situations. Case managers from a mental health facility can help these individuals find self help groups. With the right treatment, most people with this serious mental illness can manage their condition.

Schizophrenia Treatment Guidelines

While offering  schizophrenia treatment,  it is important for care takers to cultivate supportive relationships with their patients. Possible causes and treatment options should be explained to all the involved. All clinical language or medical jargon should be minimized.

Written information should be availed at all procedural stages including on medication. Facilitate access to assessment and treatment on a timely basis during all stages of care. Assessments by the multidisciplinary team should be availed to schizophrenia patients. Patients should also be monitored routinely for other medical conditions.

The patients families should also be involved if possible. Information on mental and physical healthcare especially regarding serious episodes should be recorded and availed to health teams. The needs of the care takers and patient’s family including social, physical and mental needs should be added into the care plans.

The patient, their family and care takers should be encouraged to join support and self help groups. People with this mental illness symptoms have a real chance of improvement. Confidence is required to take charge of themselves and live a satisfying life. They should have input in deciding their  schizophrenia treatment  options.

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