Treatment for schizophrenia mostly focuses on psychosocial treatment and therapy as well as antipsychotic medications. This chronic condition requires lifelong treatment as there is no known cure for schizophrenia and the causes are not widely known. Medications combined with psychosocial therapy are the most common options of care provided to those who suffer from mild to moderate schizophrenia but for more severe symptoms it can sometimes be necessary to hospitalize the individual briefly or potentially for an indefinite amount of time.
Schizophrenia treatment is typically performed under the guidance and care of a psychiatrist who is experienced in treating this condition. Behavioral health management may also include help from social workers, psychologists and other psychiatric professionals along the way. Typically, effective schizophrenia treatment encompasses a multidimensional or team approach to care which takes into consideration many different elements of the individual’s life.
Since the mid-1950s, antipsychotic medications have been used for the treatment of moderate to severe schizophrenia. There are a number of different antipsychotic medications that may be prescribed in the effective treatment of this chronic condition. The most commonly used “typical” antipsychotics include:
- Haloperidol which is known by the brand name Haldol
- Chlorpromazine which is known by the brand name Thorazine
- Fluphenazine which is known by the brand name Prolixin
- Perphenazine which is known by the brand name Trilafon or Etrafon
A number of new antipsychotic medications have been developed since the 1950s. The newly developed medications, most of which were created in the 1990s, are considered “atypical” antipsychotics and are not as widely used but have gained ground in recent years as being effective medications for the treatment of schizophrenia. The most common “atypical” medications include:
- Clozapine which is known by the brand name Clozaril
- Aripiprazole which is known by the brand name Abilify
- Quetiapine which is known by the brand name Seroquel
Medications are the first-line of treatment for schizophrenia but once the psychosis that an individual suffers from as a result of the schizophrenia symptoms is under control psychosocial treatment can begin. Various types of psychosocial treatment are available to help those who suffer from schizophrenia to secure adequate housing, jobs, self-help and managed care. Some of the most common psychosocial treatments that are provided to those who suffer from schizophrenia include:
- Family therapy to assist in providing the family members and loved ones of the affected individual with supportive care that helps them to understand the condition and the treatment that is available.
- Vocational rehabilitation which can aid in helping the individual to learn new skills or advance to a new career.
- Employment placement and support to assist the individual suffering from schizophrenia in finding a job and keeping it.
- Individual therapy and self-help to aid in the learning process, help the individual to understand his or her condition and how to cope as well as learn how to recognize warning signs of crisis onset and effectively manager their illness.
- Social skills education and support to help the individual learn how to interact socially without increased stress and problems.