Schizophrenia is a complex, lifelong disorder that needs specialized, long-term treatment, and is the most difficult mental health disorder to treat.
The most difficult issue for schizophrenics to handle is to even acknowledge that they have a mental health disorder. Or, even for them to acknowledge their symptoms.
People suffering from schizophrenia have great difficulty interacting with other people, including their caregivers and doctors. They can be surly, easy to anger, and irrational. Delusions and paranoia are some of the more serious symptoms. Overall, they have lost touch with reality.
The most successful schizophrenia treatments usually combine medication, psychotherapy, and social and family support.
Most people with schizophrenia are treated with anti-psychotic medications. To date, what factors cause this disease are unknown.
Several drugs can reduce the severity of symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, and agitation. At this time there are two classes of anti-psychotics: first-generation drugs and the newer second-generation drugs.
Doctors prefer the newer drugs as they have less severe side effects. Doctors will start off with either Abilify, Zyprexa), Seroquel), and Risperdal. Their mode of action is similar but mainly differ in their side effects.
The newer drugs can result in weight gain, facial tics, and various degrees of insomnia. Additional drugs are prescribed to address these side effects.
The medications can be given either as daily pills, liquid. and also as long-acting injectables. Injections are long-lasting and given only once or twice a month.
Some patients are also given mood stabilizers like lithium benefit from mood stabilizers like lithium, and anti-anxiety medications. In some cases, doctors may try electro-convulsive therapy (ECT).
Finding the right drugs at the right dosages to work while also minimizing the side effects is a doctors’ constant high-wire tightrope act. The objective is not only to make the patient well, but also to maintain that equilibrium for as long as possible. It’s not easy.
The therapy can include the patients’ family or group, and it can take different forms. These include supportive psychotherapy, cognitive enhancement therapy (CET), or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
The goal is to help the patient cope with symptoms and to move on with their lives in terms of social relationships, education, and work. It’s vitally important for the patient not to skip taking the medications.
The stats show that approximatey 75% of schizophrenics don’t take their meds as instructed because of several reasons. These are side effects, denial about their symptoms, or due to other reasons related to the disease.