Schizophrenia Treatment

This page talks about some potential treatment options for dealing with schizophrenia.

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Medication Treatments

Currently, there is no cure for schizophrenia. Many individuals experience an improvement in symptoms with treatment, while some see their symptoms cease for extended periods or disappear entirely. Others learn to manage and live with schizophrenia as a long-term condition.

If you’re diagnosed with schizophrenia during a psychotic episode, you might be given medication. Doctors often prescribe antipsychotic drugs to help manage the condition.

The effects of medication for schizophrenia can vary.
Some people notice a reduction in their psychotic symptoms, while others may not feel much improvement.

If you’re taking antipsychotic medication, you might experience side effects, so it’s important to discuss these with your doctor. You may need to try different medications to find the one that suits you best, and the duration of treatment can vary – some people might take them for a short period, while others may need long-term medication.

Medication can be very effective for some but may not be suitable for everyone. Before deciding on any treatment, make sure you’re well-informed. Speak to your healthcare professional and ask them any questions you may have, they are there to help you.

Family-based Interventions

Family intervention helps families learn how to support each other better when dealing with schizophrenia. It involves learning how to communicate effectively, solve problems together, and make plans for dealing with difficult situations. If you’re interested, your doctor or the local mental health team can tell you if this help is available where you live.

For more information on how schizophrenia can be treated, including questions you might want to ask your doctor, there’s a guide by NICE that can help. This guide gives clear advice on the best ways to manage schizophrenia. 

Talking Therapies

The main talking therapy suggested for treating schizophrenia is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It helps you spot and change negative thoughts or behaviours that make life difficult. CBT aims to assist you in:

  • Dealing with psychosis symptoms, like false beliefs or hearing voices
  • Reducing stress to prevent your symptoms from getting worse
  • Handling side effects from medication
  • Managing other issues such as social anxiety and depression, which can also affect people with schizophrenia.

Talking therapies for schizophrenia should aim to help you manage your symptoms, instead of trying to persuade you that your beliefs or experiences are incorrect.
The quality of the relationship with your therapist is crucial across all types of counselling or psychotherapy. Therapy tends to be more effective if you think your therapist is supportive and helpful.

Some studies indicate that early trauma might cause schizophrenia, so psychodynamic therapy could be beneficial. This therapy helps you explore deep-seated or unconscious thoughts.

Creative & Artistic Therapies

Therapies involving art, music, dance, or drama can be beneficial in allowing you to express your emotions, particularly if you struggle to discuss your feelings or feel disconnected from them. These creative therapies can also aid in processing and coming to terms with past traumatic experiences that may be influencing your psychotic symptoms.

It’s important to note that what works as a treatment can vary widely among individuals and at different stages of their lives; predicting the most effective therapy for you can be challenging.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) suggests that healthcare providers consider offering arts therapies to individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, as well as those experiencing similar conditions such as schizoaffective disorder and psychosis.

Important to note

If you’re taking antipsychotic medicine and don’t find it helpful or want to stop because you’re feeling better, remember not to quit suddenly. Stopping all at once can cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. It’s safer to reduce the medicine slowly.
Before deciding to stop your medicine, even if you think you don’t need it anymore, it’s really important to talk to your doctor or the team looking after you.

Also, if you’re thinking about trying any medicines you can buy without a prescription or any natural treatments, make sure to talk about it with your healthcare team first. This is to make sure these don’t mix badly with your current medicine.

Get support

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