Mental Health & Substance Abuse

How can you treat schizophrenia

A serious form of mental disorder, schizophrenia causes a person to interpret reality in an abnormal manner. It is characterised by symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, disorganised thought process and speech, abnormal motor behavior, and inability to function normally. If this condition is not treated, then it could lead to severe consequences. Typically, people suffering from schizophrenia lack awareness about their condition, so their family and friends will have to get them the right medical help.

Getting your loved one onboard for treating schizophrenia might be challenging. Talking to a psychiatrist to know more about the condition can help you understand how to approach the problem. Once your loved one agrees to the plan, the doctor will start by scrutinizing all their symptoms and conduct a physical exam. A psychiatric evaluation and follow-up appointments are necessary for confirming the diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Treating schizophrenia
Schizophrenia requires lifelong treatment even when the symptoms go into remission. The good news is that persistent treatment can help your loved one lead a normal life. The following are some treatment methods that usually prescribed to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Antipsychotic medications are imperative for managing schizophrenia. They control the symptoms by altering dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter. The goal of the treatment is to effectively put the symptoms into remission mode with the lowest possible dose of antipsychotics. To achieve results, the psychiatrist might use a combination of medications or keep changing the medicines and its doses.

The doctor might also prescribe medications like antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills. It may take a few weeks for the symptoms to get better. Antipsychotics might cause some side-effects, therefore, it is vital that you discuss its pros and cons before letting your loved one use them.

Psycho social intervention
Once the symptoms start improving it would be beneficial to try psycho social intervention to get your loved one’s day-to-day life back on track. These may include:

  • Therapy
    Therapy can help an individual streamline their thoughts, cope with stress, and recognize any early signs of relapse.
  • Social skills training
    This type of psycho social intervention focuses on honing a person’s social interaction, daily communication, and participation.
  • Family therapy
    Such therapy offers support to you or other family and friends who are dealing with the effects of schizophrenia.
  • Supported employment
    This part of the intervention helps people with schizophrenia to prepare, find and sustain employment.

In case, the symptoms get out of control, then hospitalization might be essential to ensure their safety and well being.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Adults that don’t respond to schizophrenia treatments such as medications, ECT might be recommended. ECT can also be useful if the patient is suffering from clinical depression.