Schizophrenia is a term we’ve all heard of or maybe you’re even acquainted with someone that suffers from this terrible disease. The condition is a brain disorder that leads people to interpret reality in a dysfunctional manner. Some of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia include hearing voices, confused thought patterns, reduced social engagement and an overall lack of motivation. To make matters worse, schizophrenia is often accompanied by conditions like depression, anxiety or even an addiction to drugs and alcohol. An estimated two million people in the United States suffer from schizophrenia.
For decades, the primary treatment method for schizophrenia has been the administering of antipsychotic drugs like Thorazine, Prolixin, Haldol, Loxapine, Trilafon and Navane. The main function of these drugs is to deter hallucinations. However, like all prescription medications, there are common side effects that often includes tremors, weight gain or drowsiness. A new treatment approach has emerged thanks to the efforts of the United States Congress, numerous universities and the National Institute of Mental Health. The study began in 2009 and was conducted at more than 30 community care clinics in 21 states. More than 400 patients that experienced a first episode psychosis participated in the study, many of which were under the age of 30.
This new treatment approach provides patients with the lowest doses of antipsychotic drugs possible combined with one-on-one talk therapy, assistance with work or school and family programs that educated family members about the disorder. The family therapy sessions were aimed at relationship building, managing symptoms and reducing substance abuse. The help with work or school consisted of deciding which jobs or classes the patient may best succeed in.
Of the 400 patients that participated in the study, half of the population received the usual treatment; antipsychotic drugs only. The other half of the population received the combined treatment approach with therapy sessions and low doses of antipsychotic drugs. Each clinic’s clinical staff monitored the patient’s symptoms and overall quality of life. Two years later, the patients that participated in the combined treatment program were much better off with improved symptom relief, health and mood. This method of treatment was utilized in Australia and Scandinavia for decades and in coming years will likely become more mainstream in the United States.
If yourself or a loved one are struggling with Schizophrenia, please call the Pasadena Villa admissions office at 407-574-5190 to learn more about our Social Integration Model and levels of care or fill out our contact form. We currently offer treatment at two residential locations in both Orlando, Florida and Knoxville, Tennessee, and outpatient services in Raleigh, North Carolina.