Schizophrenia is classified as a personality disorder, meaning that the illness affects the way individuals perceive and interact with the world in ways that can impair them from functioning healthily in daily life. This guide will cover various schizophrenia treatment options available to you as well as the basic steps you need to take to obtain treatment.
Identifying Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia symptoms can be severe and often debilitating, causing depression and numerous other comorbid conditions. Schizophrenics experience three major types of symptoms, including positive, negative, and cognitive. Positive symptoms include such overtly recognizable phenomena as hallucinations, delusions, disordered thought and speech patterns, and irregular mannerisms and movements. Negative symptoms may be invisible to others and include depression, poor planning skills, a lack of emotions, and a monotonous speaking voice. Negative symptoms are often the hardest to spot because many of them can be misdiagnosed as symptoms of depression, and depression itself is a symptom of schizophrenia. Cognitive symptoms include a lack of concentration, memory issues, and general inattentiveness. These symptoms may be displayed to various degrees depending on the severity of your disorder, but depression and hallucinations are generally the most common symptoms that friends and loved ones notice.
Before beginning any treatment for schizophrenia, you must first undergo a series of psychological tests to assess your symptoms and determine the treatment that’s best for you. A diagnosis of schizophrenia is only given to individuals who meet specific objective criteria because the treatment options can be harmful to anyone who does not actually have the disorder. Your doctor will want to ensure that your symptoms are not the result of depression or another similar disorder. Misdiagnosed mental illness is often as serious as undiagnosed mental illness, so your doctor will provide you with a fair and thorough assessment before giving you an official diagnosis or starting you on any schizophrenia treatment methods.
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Once you have been thoroughly evaluated by a licensed psychological professional and diagnosed with schizophrenia, you will have the opportunity to discuss various treatment options with your medical team. Antipsychotic medications are some of the most popular schizophrenia treatment options available, and there are decades of academic studies that attest to their effectiveness. Antipsychotic medications are divided into two separate categories, including typical and antitypical antipsychotics. Typical antipsychotics include medications that have been used for schizophrenia treatment since the 1950s, while atypical antipsychotics include a second generation of antipsychotic medications that were developed in the 1990s.
Typical Antipsychotic Medications
Some of the most conventional antipsychotic medications used in schizophrenia treatment include chlorpromazine, haloperidol, perphenazine, and fluphenazine. Schizophrenia is believed to be caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters that affects the way the mind perceives reality, so the goal of pharmacological treatment is to correct the imbalance, which can result in a reduction or total elimination of the schizophrenic symptoms.
Atypical Antipsychotic Medications
Some of the most popular atypical antipsychotics used for schizophrenia treatment include risperidone, olanzapine, ziprasidone, and aripiprazole. These drugs treat the more serious symptoms of schizophrenia, including depression, anxiety, hallucinations, and delusions among others. In the rare case that none of these typical or atypical antipsychotics are effective treatment options, doctors may prescribe a drug called clozapine. Clozapineis are generally only used for schizophrenia as a last resort because it can cause a rare condition in some individuals that causes the loss of the white blood cells used by the body to stave off infections and build a healthy immune system.
While natural supplements are by no means an effective form of schizophrenia treatment when taken alone, they can be effective in conjunction with other forms of treatment. Some doctors may prescribe supplements as treatments for comorbid disorders, such as depression, if they deem it unsafe for you to take two prescription medications at the same time. Depression is known to respond well to certain supplements. However, because of the unique neurological structure and health considerations associated with schizophrenia, you should consult with your doctor before taking any supplements for schizophrenia. Self-medication of your symptoms may lead to greater depression and other serious side effects. While no academic studies provide definitive proof of the effectiveness of any supplement used for schizophrenia, there is some evidence that the supplements DHEA, glycine, and lithium may be effective.
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Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a powerful form of psychological intervention that has been proven particularly effective. In conjunction with antipsychotic medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy can greatly help you learn to cope with the hallucinations and delusions caused by schizophrenia. It works by teaching patients to be aware of their own thought processes and gives them coping mechanisms through which they can learn to modify their behaviors and change their perceptions. Since depression is one of the major symptoms of schizophrenia, many cognitive-behavioral therapists focus on treating depression through mental exercises and talk therapy. If your depression is particularly severe, you may be advised to join a local support group.
Depression is one of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia, although depression may occur independently of the disorder as well. Many people with schizophrenia are diagnosed with depression even before their schizophrenia symptoms set in. Many of the symptoms of schizophrenia can be mistaken for depression, including emotional detachment and a monotonous voice.
Long-Term Schizophrenia Treatment
Maintaining your positive progress is one of the most important aspects of schizophrenia treatment. Your current schizophrenia treatment may not work as well in ten years, and you may require a higher or lower dosage. For this reason, it is essential to stay in regular contact with your doctor and disclose any changes in your symptoms, such as increased depression or hallucinations. There is no cure for schizophrenia, but with proper medical and psychological treatments and basic lifestyle changes, it is possible to lead a normal life through the management of depression and your other schizophrenia symptoms.