How is schizophrenia treated?
There is no cure for schizophrenia. Treatment for schizophrenia is aimed at managing and controlling symptoms. Usually, schizophrenia is treated with medication. Psychotherapy may also be used. Medications for schizophrenia usually include some kind of antipsychotic drug.
Medications for schizophrenia
Most schizophrenia symptoms are treated with antipsychotic drugs including:
- Atypical antipsychotics, such as risperidone (Risperdal), olanzapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel), aripiprazole (Abilify), or paliperidone (Invega)
- Clozapine (Clozaril) may be the most effective antipsychotic, though it has serious side effects
- Conventional antipsychotics such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), haloperidol (Haldol), perphenazine (Etrafon orTrilafon), and fluphenazine (Prolixin)
Other therapy for schizophrenia
In addition to medication, a variety of psychotherapies and social therapies may be helpful including:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Family therapy
- Illness management education
- Psychosocial treatment
- Support groups
What you can do to improve your schizophrenia
In addition to following the treatment plan developed by your health care provider, you may be able to improve your schizophrenia by:
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs
- Enrolling in a self-help group
- Seeking support from family members and friends
What are the potential complications of schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia cannot be cured. It is usually a lifelong condition, though treatment can help control the symptoms. Because schizophrenia is a complicated illness, it can be difficult to tell how the disease will progress or what complications will arise.
Complications of untreated or poorly controlled schizophrenia can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of schizophrenia include:
- Absenteeism from work or school
- Alcohol abuse
- Drug abuse
- Harm to yourself or others
- Inability to participate normally in activities
- Increased risk of illness or hospitalization
- Withdrawal or depression
Schizophrenia. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/schizophrenia/complete-index.shtml. Accessed June 1, 2011.
Schizophrenia. PubMed Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001925/. Accessed June 1, 2011.
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a complicated mental illness in which a person has a hard time telling between what is real and what is not real. People with schizophrenia have trouble thinking and behaving normally. Schizophrenia affects about one in every 100 people and can happen to anyone, though it is more severe in men and usually occurs in people under age 45 (Source: PubMedHealth).... Read more about schizophrenia introduction
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
Symptoms of schizophrenia get worse over time. They start with mild feelings of tension, disrupted sleep, and isolation. As the disease progresses, you may start to experience things that are not real. It may become difficult to tell the difference between what is real and what is not real. Later symptoms of the disease are known as psychotic symptoms.... Read more about schizophrenia symptoms
What causes schizophrenia?
The underlying cause of schizophrenia is not known. Schizophrenia is related to abnormalities in the brain that may involve injury, infection, or chemical imbalance. Heredity and environment probably both play a role in the development of the disease. Stress may also be a trigger for schizophrenia, although it does not cause the condition.... Read more about schizophrenia causes