What are the treatment options available for schizophrenia?
It is important to understand there is no cure for schizophrenia. Therefore, treatment for this mental illness is long-term. Because of the complexity of schizophrenia, currently, treatment involves the management of symptoms only. Here are some treatment options available:
- Psychotherapy: This type of therapy is used to help with the negative and cognitive symptoms associated with schizophrenia. There are a variety of options used to help with coping skills to manage symptoms. Examples of psychotherapy include:
- Behavioral skills
- Supported employment
- Cognitive remediation
- Medication: Antipsychotics are a very popular option and usually the gold standard for the treatment of schizophrenia. Multiple preparations such as oral pills or injections are available and can be given daily or even once a month for convenience. They do have several side effects that must be closely managed by a healthcare provider. Anti-anxiety and antidepressants may also be used if these symptoms are also present.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): ECT is usually reserved when medications and psychotherapy have failed with managing schizophrenic symptoms.
- Inpatient treatment: Hospitalizations for schizophrenia are serious risks if early treatment intervention is not provided or successful. This form of treatment is usually reserved for serious symptoms to protect the person who has schizophrenia from hurting themselves or others, providing proper nutrition, and hygiene.
Many times combination treatment is the best approach to manage schizophrenia which regularly incorporates different types of psychotherapy with medication.
Are there support programs available?
Yes, there are many educational programs for family members who want to learn how to better help and cope with their loved one’s schizophrenia. It usually provides guidance on how to recognize symptoms, develop their own coping skills, and develop techniques to assist their loved ones. This can be done individually or in a group setting. Our trained healthcare providers at TeleMed2U are always available to help you and your family get the support you need, which can even be done from the comfort of your home.
What is coordinated specialty care?
Coordinated specialty care is a type of recovery program specifically for those who have just suffered their first psychotic episode during early schizophrenia. This is usually a multidisciplinary approach where multiple specialists develop a comprehensive treatment plan. It has been shown to be an effective treatment approach for those in the early stages of treatment. Early treatment for schizophrenia helps prevent long-term problems and complications from the disorder.
Is treatment for schizophrenia successful?
Yes. Although treatment may be difficult as many schizophrenic patients suffer from anosognosia where there is sometimes denial about the illness, treatments can be successful and patients may have a good quality of life. Because many other mental illnesses may coincide with schizophrenia, it is important to identify other illnesses that may need to be addressed for a successful treatment program. Other illnesses that may coincide with schizophrenia include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Substance abuse
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
The best way to help yourself or a loved one suffering from schizophrenia is to get early and continuous treatment. This reduces the chance of hospitalizations and homelessness. If you are struggling with your symptoms of schizophrenia, we may be able to help at TeleMed2U any time you are ready.