Paul Stemman

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Schizophrenia - treatment


Medical treatment

Doctors will normally prescribe medication that should limit some of the negative symptoms. Drugs known as ‘atypical neuroleptics’ are normally used. These include drugs such as olanzapine or risperidone. The newer drugs have less side-effects than some of the older neuroleptics (such as haloperidol). The drugs come in different forms and your dosage should be reviewed regularly.


Certain talking therapies are also used to help patients experiencing schizophrenia. In particular, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is recommended. CBT can help some people to recognise things that may trigger their schizophrenia, and support them to invent coping strategies. This can be very important in putting patients in control of their own treatment.


The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued guidance on the treatment of schizophrenia. Doctors should follow these guidelines, or be able to justify why they recommend a different treatment. The guideline says that CBT and Family Therapy should be available as treatment options.




Other steps to overcome distress

People are increasingly looking for other ways to address their schizophrenia. There is growing evidence that diet may have an effect on the symptoms. You might also be able to stop doing things that cause you stress. If you think that your job might be making your mental health worse, then your employer may have to make adjustments because of the Disability Discrimination Act.


Physical exercise can also help improve mental health. Relaxation and yoga are also used by some people. It is important that you do not feel powerless. For more information see the page on the Recovery Model.



Myths about schizophrenia