Schizophrenia appears usually in late teens or in the twenties. It is known to affect men more than women. It is considered to be a life-long incurable but treatable condition. Schizophrenia and other thought disorder’s primary treatment is medication. Compliance with medication is often seen as the largest problem associated with ongoing schizophrenia treatment. Schizophrenic people may go off the medication for some time period throughout their life. However, repercussions of the loss of treatment are felt acutely not just by the individual but also by their family and social circle.
Schizophrenia’s successful treatment depends upon both drugs and psychosocial/ support therapies. While medication controls its symptoms and psychosis (delusions, hallucinations, etc), it does not help the individual get a job, deal with social relationships effectively, increasing the person’s coping skills and help learn how to communicate with other people. If proper treatment is found, the individual may lead a successful life.
In initial recovery, the individual may feel extremely lonely. Coping with the onset for the first time requires extensive support from loved ones. With this social support, understanding and determination, the individual can learn how to successfully cope with it and live their life. Compliance with the treatment plan is of utmost importance. This is set up by the client themselves and the therapist/ doctor while maintaining the balance between medication and therapy. If a sudden stop of treatment occurs, it may lead to a relapse of symptoms.
Psychotherapy plays an important role in schizophrenia treatment which requires appropriate psychotherapeutic intervention programs. Treatment includes psychotherapy, antipsychotic medications, family support and education, and case management. The individual learns social skills and how to make weekly goals including advice, suggestions and education with their therapist. Encouragement and reinforcement when achieving small goals can be helpful.
Schizophrenic people have a hard time in performing daily life skills such as personal grooming, cooking or communicating socially. Therapy helps to regain confidence and live a better life.
Group therapy with a combination of drugs produces better results than giving drug treatment alone especially with outpatients of schizophrenia. Positive results will be obtained when group therapies focus on real life problems, relationships, social interaction, side effects of drugs, and so on. Supportive group therapy is helpful to decrease social isolation and for reality testing.
Family therapy significantly decreases relapse rates. It encourages family members to solve issues that arise and discussing the nature of the problem by finding out alternatives and selecting the best option.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is very effective in the management of Schizophrenia. A therapy known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is applied in cases of psychosis. It is a mindful-based therapy. The aim of ACT is reducing the patient’s suffering by enhancing the ability of tolerating psychotic symptoms including increasing their awareness and acceptance, reduction in focus and the impact of symptoms and redirection on core values.
Assertive Community Treatment, also known as ACT, is a multidisciplinary approach including a team of psychiatrists, social workers, case managers and other mental health professionals. It is ongoing and individualized for each client’s needs. The goal is to help the client adapt to his life.
Cognitive remediation (CR) is a short-term intervention used to enhance the cognitive skills of social functioning in schizophrenic individuals.
Cognitive Adaptation Treatment (CAT) works on the cognitive barriers that interfere with the everyday functioning of individuals with schizophrenia. These may include apathy, impulsive behavior, problem solving skills, and so on. The patients are helped by arranging their environment, making checklists or using reminders, or practicing routines with the patient.