Although there is no cure for Schizophrenia, there are successful treatment options available. An individual suffering from the disease has a much brighter outlook than those without a consistent treatment plan. Contrary to popular belief, schizophrenia cannot be treated effectively with medication or psychotherapy alone. The best treatment plans involve a combination of antipsychotic medications, psychotherapy and stable support systems. It’s also important, if you are someone suffering from schizophrenia, to adopt a positive attitude in regards to treatment.
Medication is necessary in the treatment of schizophrenia, because it helps control the psychosis and reduces other symptoms in the disorder. Individuals with schizophrenia generally take a combination of antipsychotic, antidepressant and antianxiety medications, but this treatment plan isn’t successful if the person does not consistently take the medication. Common antipsychotic medications used in schizophrenia are clozapine, Seroquel, Risperdal and Zyprexa, but there are others.
Antipsychotics are known to have unpleasant side effects, and many people will stop taking the medication after the first year of treatment. Some common side effects are dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, muscle spasm, muscle control, fidgeting, pacing, tremors and shuffling.
Recent studies from the National Institute of Mental Health reveal that approximately 75% of patients stop taking medication, because they don’t think it is helps and/or they can’t tolerate the side effects.
Psychotherapy is used in conjunction with medication for schizophrenia and is never recommended as a treatment plan by itself. Group, individual and rehabilitation therapy can help individuals with schizophrenia maintain their medication regimen, learn social and coping skills and make it easier to perform everyday tasks such as school or work. Group therapy is also helpful in warding off social isolation, and family therapy can significantly reduce relapse rates for the family member of the sick individual.
Psychotherapy offers education on the disease, advice and reassurance and helps patients regain after developing schizophrenia. Therpasists also perform reality testing and observe and measure the progress and efficacy of the treatment plan. Treatment plans differ from person to person, but in every case is only successful with a patient's cooperation and active participation in the process.
Attitude Towards Treatment
To be a willing participant in your treatment plan, it's important to have the right attitude about treatment options. Individuals are no longer defined by their illness, and it is possible to lead a relatively normal life after being diagnosed with the disorder. Looking past your diagnosis and realizing that it doesn’t make you who you are as a person will help lift your spirits.
Positive thinking, communicating with your doctor, participating in therapy, and working to accomplish realistic goals are important to your treatment. It’s equally important to forge friendships, surround yourself with loving family, and to be aware of schizophrenia support services in your area. Schizophrenia is not a disease to be worked through alone--you can never hav too many allies in the struggle to treat your disorder.