Schizophrenia cannot be prevented, since we do not yet understand what causes it. There is no cure, but antipsychotic medications, psychotherapy, rehabilitation, and support from family and friends can help to treat the symptoms.
It is very important that medications are taken correctly and regularly, according to your doctor's instructions. Taking medication regularly can be difficult for people with schizophrenia, either because of side effects or from the symptoms of the condition getting in the way. If you have trouble taking your medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see what can be done to help (e.g., change medications).
Antipsychotic medications can control delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thinking. These can greatly lower the chances of further psychotic episodes. Although most people respond well to first-generation medications (e.g., haloperidol*, fluphenazine), due to the side effects of these medications (e.g., drowsiness, tremors muscle stiffness, weight gain), schizophrenia is often treated with "atypical" or second-generation antipsychotic medications (e.g., olanzapine, risperidone, ziprasidone, quetiapine, aripiprazole, clozapine).
With any therapy, the dose a person is started on might need adjustment in order to find a good balance between the treatment and the side effects. Your doctor will discuss the risk and benefits of the medications available to treat schizophrenia, and together you will decide on the best treatment for you. Other medications can also be prescribed to help reduce the side effects of antipsychotic medications.
In all instances, a doctor will monitor for side effects and will ensure the medication is working.
People being treated for schizophrenia require more than just medications. They also need counselling to be coached on coping with the stresses of daily life, since these can aggravate symptoms or cause a relapse. Health care professionals are on hand to help people learn to take care of themselves. They can advise those living with schizophrenia on how to have better relationships with the people around them and on how to hold onto a job. These are all skills that must be learned, since the illness has kept many of those affected from participating in activities others take for granted. Rehabilitation and psychotherapy provide assistance that allow people with schizophrenia to live independently.
Along with appropriate medical treatment, having a good support network of friends and family can make a difference in dealing with schizophrenia, and make inroads towards leading a full, productive life. It is important that family members become informed and educated about the condition so that they can be advocates for their loved ones. For more information, consult your community mental health agencies, local chapters of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, or the Canadian Mental Health Association.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Schizophrenia