Hallucinations and delusions can be a terrifying experience for the individual with Schizophrenia. Fortunately, anti-psychotic medication, particularly the newer so called atypical antipsychotics, are generally very effective at helping to control episodes of psychosis. These include:
These atypical antipsychotics are less likely to cause some of more unpleasant side effects associated with the older types of antipsychotics so are more likely to be tolerated by individuals.
The importance of continuing to take medication
One of the problems with treating Schizophrenia is that people suffering from Schizophrenia will often stop their medication for a number of different reasons. They may find that the side effects are so unpleasant they decide not to bother, or they might believe they don’t need them anymore, or during an auditory hallucination a could have voice told them to stop taking them, or because their thoughts are so disorganised they forget to take them.
People respond to medication in different ways so if one drug doesn’t suit, another can be tried until one is found that suits the individual. It might also be possible to receive long term injections which could possibly help in cases where the individual simply forgets to take their medication. It is important not to stop taking medication unless your doctor advises you to because if you do, the psychotic episodes will most likely return soon after.
The importance of avoiding stress
Research has shown that people with Schizophrenia are far more susceptible to the negative effects of stress than other people and that stress can make the symptoms of Schizophrenia much worse. Losing a job, suffering bereavement or going through a divorce is stressful for anyone but for someone suffering from Schizophrenia even minor stresses can trigger an episode of psychosis. It is therefore important to avoid stressful situations as much as possible.
The importance of Family Support
A number of studies have revealed that if family members are openly critical, hostile, or aggressive, an individual with Schizophrenia is more likely to suffer a relapse. It is therefore important that family members are educated as to the nature of Schizophrenia and are aware of the kind of support they need to offer. There are a number of organisations that can help so find out what is available in your area or speak to your doctor for more information.