Schizophrenia - Management

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder which results in disorganised thinking, associated with abnormal perceptions. Although there is currently no cure for schizophrenia, there are different ways of treating the condition to improve functioning.

A key part of the management of schizophrenia is the prompt diagnosis by a trained professional, taking a holistic approach.

Widely used form of medications are antipsychotics, which are classified into Typical and Atypical antipsychotics. All antipsychotics stabilise the level of dopamine in the mesolimbic pathway to treat positive symptoms including delusions and hallucinations. As atypical antipsychotics selectively work in this pathway, they tend to cause less side effects such as muscular stiffness and tremors. However the risks, benefits and side effects of the different options require careful weighing up tailored to individual patients.

As medications can cause metabolic and cardiac side effects, the treatment requires careful monitoring with both baseline assessments and ongoing monitoring by a skilled professional.

Another form of treatment is psychological therapy. There is strong evidence for the use of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for the treatment of the schizophrenia. Depending on the nature of the symptoms experienced, psychological therapies can form part of the overall management to give much improvement in the level of functioning.

Often family members are concerned and closely involved in the treatment. By providing the necessary support for carers, it can significantly help manage the condition for the long term.

Sometimes, during an acute episode a patient may require hospitalisation to stabilise the treatment. This can be difficult for the patient as well as the family. Providing high quality treatment is vital in maintaining overall wellbeing and prognosis.

Schizophrenia is a long term condition which can be successfully managed. Early assessment and treatment is important to improve the quality of life and overall prognosis.

Guirish Radja