A schizophrenia diagnosis can feel overwhelming, and starting treatment can be frightening. When you understand more about schizophrenia and the treatment options available, you can know what to expect and feel more confident about moving forward.
Schizophrenia is common and treatable with a combination of medication, therapy, and learning. Learn more about the common treatment options, what to expect with each of them, and how to get started.
How to Treat Schizophrenia: Your Options
There are multiple schizophrenia treatment options. Your doctor will support you in making the right choice based on your symptoms and needs.
The type of treatment facility you go to and how long you stay there depends on how you’re feeling.
The emergency room is the best place to go if you’re experiencing a psychotic episode or you feel like you want to hurt yourself or someone else. They’ll be able to help you control those symptoms. It might feel awkward and difficult, but remember the doctors and nurses fully understand what you’re going through and are there to help.
First and Second Generation Medications
The most well-known treatment for schizophrenia is antipsychotics. First-generation antipsychotics (FGAs) block dopamine receptors. They’re prescribed for many conditions, including bipolar disorder. Second-generation medications only partially block those receptors and are becoming more popular. Newer second-generation medications are proving to be more effective and cause fewer side effects. Reactions are individual and depend heavily on the type of medication and dosage.
Finding the right medication and dosage for you might take a few attempts. However, within a few days, you should start to feel calmer and more at ease. Antipsychotics can take a little time to get used to, but it’s worth the wait.
If you’d like to avoid drugs or you’re not reacting well to them, electroconvulsive treatment is a good alternative. This is done under anesthesia, and small electrical currents are passed through your brain. Treatments are usually twice a week for 3-6 weeks; you should feel consistent improvements over time. Your doctor will help you understand how to prepare for sessions. They’ll give you instructions on food and fluid intake before your treatments.
There are two main types of therapy for schizophrenia treatment, individual therapy and social skills training.
Individual therapy is what you might imagine when you think of therapy. It’s one-to-one sessions with a professional therapist. This can help you to understand your condition and feel more optimistic about the future. It’s also a good opportunity to talk about your relationships and friendships, how they have been impacted, and how they can improve.
Social skills training (SST) is for daily communication and social interactions. It’s helpful to involve your family here as this includes valuable support and education for the people closest to you. SST is useful if you experience symptoms that affect your communication. You’ll learn how to cope with specific emotions and key skills around interacting with others.
Finding Schizophrenia Treatment
Too many people go without the right diagnosis and treatment because they don’t know where to start. We recommend talking to your doctor or primary healthcare provider. They’ll help you to narrow down your treatment options based on your symptoms. Before choosing a facility, make sure they have the right specialisms, licensing, and experience to fully support you.
Understanding Schizophrenia Treatment Options
There is a huge misconception that living with schizophrenia is a life sentence, but you have full control over your recovery. While there is no cure, schizophrenia can be treated and managed in a variety of ways, depending on your symptoms. Learning and education are key, as self-help strategies can reduce the frequency and intensity of any episodes you have.
How you feel about your treatment options is individual, but you won’t have to go through the experience alone. If you’re exploring schizophrenia treatment and would like someone to talk to, reach out to us at Comprehensive Wellness Centers. We can answer all of your questions and provide the treatment and support you need.