The term “schizophrenia” was coined by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler. Symptoms of schizophrenia include hallucinations, delusions, bizarre actions, incoherent speech and lacking interest in various activities. Psychosocial treatment allows for a schizophrenic’s psychological development in a social sense, developing the mind, emotions and maturity level through a combination of rehabilitation, psychotherapy, family education and self-help methods.
Anti-psychotic drugs such as Seroquel and Geodon are used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia. However, they will not eliminate the underlying causes of schizophrenia. By providing various non-medical intervention services, rehabilitation delves into the root of the issue. Through vocational counseling, patients learn achieve self-identify, and are taught locate satisfying and realistic roles in their environment, helping them develop the maturity needed to make sound career decisions. Included in rehabilitation are job training, problem solving, money management skills, public transportation use and social skills training (interaction and communication with others). Once patients complete the rehabilitation program, there are better equipped to handle living in the external world outside the mental institution.
Psychotherapy is most effective when combined with medication to relieve psychotic symptoms. Psychotherapy is conducted in a safe and controlled environment, where only the patient and a mental health professional are present. By releasing inner thoughts and feelings to empathetic professionals, patients begin to understand their condition and learn cope with it. By using cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy teaches patients separate fantasy from reality, and they learn change their distorted thinking patterns in order to exhibit positive thoughts and behaviors.
The New York State Office of Mental Health cites that an estimated one-third to one-quarter of adults suffering from mental disorders live with their families. When a schizophrenic patient is discharged from an institution and placed into the care of his family, family members must know handle the transition. They should learn as much about the condition as possible, finding methods to minimize the patient’s chances of relapsing by utilizing the outpatient and family services available to family members. All programs servicing schizophrenics offer family education services.
Self-help groups can provide the schizophrenic and her family with the chance to connect with others who are in a similar situation. These groups can bring families together and serve as advocates for research, hospital and community treatment services. Visit online resources such as Hearing Voices Network, Schizophrenia.com and Self-Help Source Book Online (see Resources) for a wide array of self-help opportunities.