How is Schizophrenia Treated?
There is a lot of hope for people
with schizophrenia. Just like diabetes, schizophrenia can be managed.
Your life can get back on track. Schizophrenia is very treatable.
Though some people recover eventually without medicine, most people get
better by taking medicine. And, the medicine people take for schizophrenia is a
lot better than it used to be. Mental health workers and a supportive family
can also be very helpful in getting better.
What is the best treatment?
The best treatment for schizophrenia is taking medicine,
going to treatment, getting family support, decreasing stress and learning as
much as you can about the illness.
1. Taking medicine
For people with schizophrenia, taking medicine will
be a big part of their treatment plan. Sometimes people will be taking more
than one medicine to help unwanted side effects.
Medications help get rid of symptoms so that you
feel better. They can help to stop you from getting sick again and having to
go to the hospital.
Take your medicines regularly, as prescribed. When
someone is not taking their pills like they are supposed to, they can put
themselves at risk of getting sick again and going back to the hospital.
2. Identify early signs of getting sick again. Make your own early warning
Knowing your warning signs will
help you to know that you are starting to get sick again. If caught early
enough, sometimes getting sick can be avoided. If you would like to read more
about how to identify early warning signs of getting sick again please visit How to
tell if a person with schizophrenia is getting sick again.
3. Family Involvement
It is normal for your family to
feel anger, confusion, guilt, shame and fear. As normal as these feelings are,
they are still painful and will grow when family members do not understand.
They may get upset because they feel no one knows what they are going through.
The National Alliance for the
Mentally Ill Family-to-Family Education program is a free 12-week course
for family members of people with serious mental illness. This program offers
education and skills training to the family so they can better understand and
help relatives with mental illness. These classes are small. The courses are
taught by trained family members.
Family-to-Family classes are
offered in hundreds of communities all around the country. To find out
more about the Family-to-Family program and classes being held near you, call
You can find out about self-help and support s
by asking your therapist or psychiatrist. They will know where to
direct you. Also, you can call the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill or
look in the social services section of the white or yellow pages.
means teaching people about their illness. Learning about schizophrenia can
help you and your family manage it better. Knowing about the illness can help
you and your family know when you are getting sick again.
psychoeducation approach includes teaching coping strategies and problem-solving skills
to families (and friends) of people with mental illness. This can help them
deal with their ill family member better. Family psychoeducation reduces
suffering, confusion, and worries within the family, which may help the person
recover. By learning about the illness, family members are aware of what the person
with schizophrenia is going through, and they can be more helpful in helping them
5. Identify your strengths and things that you cannot do well.
Knowing your strengths and things that you do not do
well will help keep stress at a low level. This way, you can work to improve
on some things, and stop doing others.
Therapy can be done on an
individual or , basis. Therapy can help someone deal with their feelings.
It can be helpful for some to understand more about themselves and their
problems. You will have a therapist at Colorado Recovery and several
s to choose from. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of therapy
that can help you reduce the distress caused by voices or false beliefs.
Another way to get into therapy is to call your insurance
company to find out which therapists take your insurance. From there, you
choose a therapist, and call them to set up a time to meet with them.
There is an array of
psychiatric rehabilitation methods that can help you
move forward with your life, get a job, get back into school and feel part of the
community around you.
Vocational Services can help you find and keep a job.
Through an approach called
your job coach can work with you and potential employers to find a job that
suits you, get trained and do it successfully. You can get
supported employment services from our job coaches
at Colorado Recovery or through the Chinook Clubhouse, a
psychosocial clubhouse in Boulder.
Community Drop-In Centers will help
you have something to do. Keeping busy and doing things you like can help you
learn how to keep stress at a comfortable level. Finding a hobby that you
like can help you to learn how to improve your relationship with other people.
You can have free access to the local recreation center through Colorado
Recovery. Community centers give you a choice of how to spend your day.
You could go to a Psychosocial Clubhouse or drop-in social center.
Social skills training can help people with schizophrenia learn how to interact with
other people. Social skills training also helps people learn daily living
skills like cooking and cleaning. It can be done in a , with a therapist
or in family therapy sessions.
10. Self-help and support s
Self-help and support s for
people with a mental illness and families dealing with mental illnesses are
becoming more and more common. These s are really helpful
because members give each other constant support.
Members of support s share
their problems and how they got better. They also are good for hearing
about the best places to get treatment. Many people in support s become good friends with the
other members of the .
You can attend one of the s
run by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). The National Alliance
for the Mentally Ill is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advocate
on the behalf of persons with mental illness, their families and friends.
The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill has support s all over the
country. You can call the
national help line at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) to find a near you.
What else can you do?
Be optimistic, read about
The Recovery Model which is a movement inspired by the optimistic,
empowerment and interpersonal support which has helped many people with
mental illness find the road to recovery.
If you get sick again, go slowly and get back
to your everyday duties.
things that cause you stress and then work on the stressful things by choosing
ways that reduces the stress.