7 Crucial Facts About Schizophrenia Treatment

  • Depressed man
    Important Treatment Essentials
    Schizophrenia is a severe brain disorder that's usually a lifelong challenge. With proper treatment, however, many people with the illness can lead full, rewarding lives. If you or someone close to you has schizophrenia, here are seven things you need to know about getting the most from treatment.

  • shot, injection, needle
    1. Some Medications Can Be Taken Monthly
    Antipsychotic drugs are a mainstay of treatment for schizophrenia. But remembering to take medicine every day is often a problem. One possible solution is getting a long-acting injection of the drug. The shot is given at a doctor's office once or twice a month, compared to taking a pill once or twice a day.

  • Other Medications
    2. Newer Antipsychotics Treat More Symptoms
    In general, newer antipsychotic drugs and older antipsychotics, such as haloperidol (Haldol), work about equally well for treating hallucinations and delusions. But for treating problems with showing emotion and relating to others, second-generation drugs, such as aripiprazole (Abilify), risperidone (Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel), olanzapine (Zyprexa), or clozapine (Clozaril), may work better.

  • Layer on Therapy
    3. Talk Therapy Can Help Bolster Medications
    Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that focuses on thoughts and behavior. For some people with schizophrenia, medications don't get rid of symptoms completely, and CBT may help them cope. For example, they might learn how to test the reality of their thoughts or ignore the voices in their head.

  • Fish in a pan
    4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Be Beneficial
    The omega-3 fatty acids in fish are good for heart health. That could be especially helpful for people taking newer antipsychotic drugs, which can cause metabolic side effects that increase heart disease risk. There's also evidence that omega-3s may improve brain health, but more research is needed to know for sure.

  • woman sitting at table paying bills, bills
    5. Psychosocial Rehab Boosts Success in Daily Life
    Psychosocial rehabilitation helps people with schizophrenia develop the skills they need to thrive in the community. Rehab participants may work on getting and keeping a job or pursuing an education. They may learn specific skills such as how to find housing, manage money, or take public transportation.

  • group, therapy, counseling, talking, feelings, support group
    6. Peer Support Can Make a Big Difference
    If you have schizophrenia, joining a support group is an excellent way to meet others who face similar challenges, which may help you feel less alone. This also gives you a chance to practice social skills. Another great place to find support is at a "clubhouse"—a community center for people living with mental illness.

  • The Substance Abuse Connection
    7. Substance Abuse Can Be Treated Simultaneously
    About one-fourth of people with schizophrenia also abuse alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs. Substance abuse can make schizophrenia treatment less effective. If you have both schizophrenia and an alcohol or drug problem, you're likely to do better in a treatment program that addresses both conditions.

7 Crucial Facts About Schizophrenia Treatment
  1. Antipsychotic Medicines for Treating Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder: A Review of the Research for Adults and Caregivers, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, April 2013.  http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/ehc/products/146/1458/antipsychotics-adults-130410.pdf
  2. Omega-3 Supplements: An Introduction, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, September 20, 2013.  http://nccam.nih.gov/health/omega3/introduction.htm
  3. Fish 101, American Heart Association, March 20, 2013.  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Fish-101_UCM_305986_Article.jsp
  4. Clubhouse Model Fact Sheet, National Alliance on Mental Illness, undated.  http://www.nami.org/factsheets/supportedemployment_clubhousemodelFS.pdf
  5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Mental Illness, National Alliance on Mental Illness, April 2013.  http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_Treatments_and_Supports&Template=/ContentManagement/C...
  6. Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotic Medications, National Alliance on Mental Illness, May 2013.  http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_Treatments_and_Supports&Template=/ContentManagement/C...
  7. Schizophrenia, National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2011.  http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=Schizophrenia9&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.c...
  8. Schizophrenia, National Institute of Mental Health, undated.  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml
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Last Review Date: 2018 Apr 24
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