Treatment for Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects about one percent of the population. Common symptoms include hallucinations, disorganized speech, lack of emotion and delusions. However, each individual who has this condition has a unique experience with it. Symptoms can range from mild and temporary to severe, lifelong and devastating. Because of these variations, treatment plans also differ from person to person. They typically include the common recommendations of therapy, medication, support and nutritional and lifestyle changes.
Medication is the most important part of a treatment plan for schizophrenia patients. Antipsychotic drugs are used to reduce or eliminate symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia, delusions and psychotic episodes. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers are also frequently given to improve quality of life. Finding the best combination of drugs for an individual is largely trial and error. More effective drugs are continually being developed.
Therapy is also important for people with schizophrenia, especially those who are recently diagnosed or have severe cases. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on the patient’s thought patterns and behaviors, is most effective for this condition. The professional can provide advice and guidance on dealing with hallucinations, making decisions, developing coping skills and can simply be a nonjudgmental person for the sufferer to vent to.
The role of nutrition in schizophrenia is still being studied. However, research has shown that a healthy diet, along with specific supplements, can reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia. A study done by researchers at the Medical College of Georgia showed that antioxidant vitamins and omega-3 essential fatty acids have a positive effect. Although there are claims that certain diets can completely cure the illness, this hasn’t been scientifically proven.
Individuals with schizophrenia need to have loved ones who are educated about the illness and are willing to offer support. Family members can help by learning talk to someone who is having a psychotic episode, how not to ridicule, and provide structure and encouragement. Getting involved with support groups can be beneficial for people who have schizophrenia as well as their caregivers.
Part of the treatment for schizophrenia is developing a lifestyle that will help minimize the symptoms of the mental illness. This means trying to avoid stressful situations, getting plenty of sleep and not using alcohol or illegal drugs. It’s helpful for the individual to get involved in a hobby that doesn’t aggravate the schizophrenia.