The symptoms of schizophrenia are severe and ongoing. They can disrupt the lives of both the person with the illness and his or her family and friends. Schizophrenia symptoms can cause a great deal of suffering. But treatment may help relieve many of these symptoms. Most often, treatment is life-long and includes both medicine and counseling (psychotherapy). It also may involve help with social, work, and life skills.
Medicine is a key part of treatment for schizophrenia. Medicines known as antipsychotics can help ease present symptoms. They also may prevent future problems. These medicines can have side effects. To avoid side effects, some people may even stop taking their medicines. Unfortunately, this can cause their symptoms to come back. If your loved one has problems with medicine, tell his or her healthcare provider. Changing the dose or type of medicine may help. Your support and caring can also help a loved one stick with treatment.
A therapist can help your loved one deal with problems caused by schizophrenia. Therapy may focus on healing relationships or coping with the disorder. A therapist can also provide emotional support.
Coordinated specialty care
Coordinated specialty care is a treatment model that focuses on reducing symptoms and improving quality of life for the person with schizophrenia. Treatment includes integrated care related to medicines, psychosocial therapies, case management, family involvement, and supported education and employment opportunities. Ask your healthcare providers if this type of treatment model is available in your area.
Some people with schizophrenia may not be able to work. They also may lack basic life skills. For instance, they may not know how to shop or manage money. Some may not be able to care for themselves. Fortunately, there are professionals who can help them learn these skills. If you can’t care for your loved one, there are special places he or she can live. These include halfway houses and group homes. They are safe places for your loved one to start building a new life. There are also agencies that can help with needs such as improving life skills and finding housing.
Research into schizophrenia is ongoing. This may lead to improved treatments in the future. There is always hope for a better life.
To learn more
National Institute of Mental Health 866-615-6464 www.nimh.nih.gov
National Alliance on Mental Illness 800-950-6264 www.nami.org
Mental Health America 800-969-6642 www.nmha.org