How is schizophrenia treated?

How is schizophrenia treated?

Since schizophrenia may not be a single condition and its causes are not yet known, current treatment methods are based on both clinical research and experience. These approaches are chosen on the basis of their ability to stabilise the condition, and to reduce the likelihood that florid psychotic symptoms will return.

Antipsychotic medications first became available in the early 1950s. Second generation antipsychotic medications were introduced in the 1990s. These new medications are less likely to produce the sometimes severe side effects of earlier medicines, although they do have problems of their own, particularly metabolic effects, including weight gain, diabetes and their complications. However, medications of these kinds have allowed many people with schizophrenia to achieve long-term stability by maintaining their regular dosages.

Just as important as medications are psychosocial interventions.

  • Behavioural family management helps family members to support and cope more effectively with their ill family member.
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy can assist in controlling delusions and hallucinations that have responded incompletely to medications, and there is some evidence to suggest that such treatments can help with social withdrawal and related problems as well.
  • Supported employment programs can assist people to not only find and retain competitive employment but can also help with education and training.
  • Case management, social support programs and supported accommodation initiatives are all important forms of psychosocial assistance for people with schizophrenia.

Page last updated: 12:43  27 June 2013