What Treatment Options Are There For Schizophrenia Patients?

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Although there is no cure for schizophrenia, it is interesting to note that studies reveal that up to 25% of those who develop schizophrenia will make a full recovery. However, for most people, treatment of one kind or other is likely to continue for a life time.

In recent years there have been great improvements in diagnosing and treating schizophrenia and the outlook is greater than ever before. With medication, therapy or a combination of both along with the right support, many people with schizophrenia go on to lead full and satisfying lives.

The following are some of the treatment options available for people with this devastating and complex mental disorder.

Medication

Antipsychotic drugs are commonly offered to patients with schizophrenia to help alleviate the distressing hallucinations and delusions that are so characteristic of this condition. Most people who are prescribed antipsychotic medication see a great improvement.

Psychotherapy

Some form of psychotherapy or counselling has proven to be extremely effective in helping schizophrenia sufferers cope with the condition on a day to day basis. The two most common are behavioural therapy and cognitive therapy. Behavioural therapy can help identify and change negative behaviours. Cognitive therapy focuses on altering thinking patterns.

Fish Oil

Many people with schizophrenia have been found to have low blood levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Some studies have shown that supplementing with fish oil high in EPA can help reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Self Help Methods

It is important to have a good understanding of what schizophrenia is so that you know what to expect and learn how to recognise your own symptoms and patterns and when a psychotic episode might be about to start.

As stress can make the symptoms of schizophrenia much worse, it is advisable to avoid stressful situations as much as possible. Talking with family members and close friends can prove to be very positive and help prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Avoiding recreational drugs and alcohol is highly advisable as these are known to exacerbate the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Hospitalisation

It may be necessary to spend some time in a hospital during the course of the illness either at the individual’s own request or at the discretion of the psychiatrist. Usually, enforced hospitalisation would only occur if the patient needed to be prevented from harming themselves or harming others and would only last as long as is necessary.

ECT

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is quite a controversial treatment but highly effective in the short term. It tends to be used in the most severe cases and where other methods have failed.

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