|Treatment for Schizophrenia|
|What can society do?|
|What treatments are available?|
What treatments are available?
Effective treatment involves a number of different approaches. Ideally it is most effective when given early in the illness. Some form of medication is essential for most cases. However, this should be in combination with education about the disorder, support and counselling for the emotional effects, and psychological training in how to manage those symptoms that continue despite medication. This work should be carried out both with the individual, and their family and/or close friends.
Probably the best treatment plan is one developed in partnership with the person and their family. This may include attending a rehabilitation program to enable them to return to work, regain social contact with others, and care for themselves. It can be carried out within a hospital setting but increasingly it is possible to assist people to live in their own homes, and indeed there are many reasons why this could be advantageous. In many services a team of professionals including nurses, social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and others are able to contribute their different skills in assessing and enhancing the abilities of the affected person. In some areas people who have experienced mental illness are employed in this process, through giving advice, counselling and support, as well as becoming skilled therapists themselves. No mental health professional can understand the distress of mental illness as well as someone else who has had the experience. Self-help groups are another way of using this valuable expertise.
Since schizophrenia may not be a single condition and its causes are not yet known, current treatment methods are based on both clinical research and experience. These approaches are chosen on the basis of their ability to reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia and to lessen the chances that symptoms will return.
What are effective treatments
The goal of treatment is to help the person resume a life that is as normal as possible. At first, treatment focuses mainly on removing the symptoms. It is essential that drug treatments are combined with practical help and support for the young person and their family. To obtain the best outcome, everyone involved, including the young person, the family, the psychiatric team, education and social services, need to work together from an early stage.