Schizophrenia is one of the most complex mental disorders, the causes of which are still not fully understood. This illness is expressed in a fundamental thought disorder, but its manifestations are so varied that some specialists consider schizophrenia to be a group of disorders rather than a single disorder.
When asking the question ‘how to cure schizophrenia’, it is important to understand that the disorder cannot be cured completely. Doctors are only able to make its manifestations less vivid and prevent the progression of the disease. In order to cure schizophrenia completely, the causes must be identified and eliminated, but medicine is powerless in this regard at the moment.
- schizophrenia inevitably causes changes in the personality of the person affected. The degree of degradation depends largely on the form of the illness, its severity and the course of each individual case.Specialists distinguish several forms of this serious mental disorder, among them:
- catatonic schizophrenia – characterised by alternating stupors and periods of agitation. The catatonic stupor can last several hours, during which time the patient experiences visions of a fantastic nature;
- paranoid schizophrenia – the most common form of the illness. The patient has delusions and hallucinations, while other signs of the disorder may be absent or mild;
- hebephrenic schizophrenia – is characterised by a dullness, inadequate behaviour and excessive mannerism. What distinguishes this form of schizophrenia from the other types of disorders is that the patient’s actions are unreasonable and the behaviour is often indecent or ridiculous. The person is never serious or collected;
The simple or primitive form of schizophrenia has a standard set of symptoms that develop progressively with increasing severity.
Each of these types of schizophrenia requires a different approach to treatment. Psychiatrists also consider the nature of the course of the illness when choosing the most effective treatments for this disorder.
Schizophrenia can run in waves, be continuous or progress from episode to episode. The most complex form of schizophrenia is the one that develops during childhood and adolescence. Such schizophrenia is considered malignant. If the condition is diagnosed at a later age, the chances of recovery are much greater. As already mentioned, this type of mental disorder is an incurable illness. Recently, however, new developments have emerged that allow for better results in combating it. The treatment of schizophrenia will be more successful if the treatment is timely. Only a specialist can assess the patient’s condition, determine the form of the disorder and prescribe adequate treatment. Schizophrenia cannot be managed on your own, so seek immediate medical attention as soon as the first symptoms appear.
Drug treatment for schizophrenia
When the question of how to treat schizophrenia arises, it must be understood that it is almost impossible to get rid of the disorder completely. The efforts of doctors will focus on alleviating the symptoms and alleviating the condition. However, this does not mean that no cure should be attempted.
The treatment of schizophrenia is primarily based on taking special medication like seroquel. The medication helps the patient to think clearly, reduce delusions and hallucinations. The risk of relapse is considerably reduced when these drugs are taken for a prolonged period of time. The effects of taking these antipsychotic drugs should be monitored by a doctor who has specialised and qualified in this area, since in addition to their positive effects these drugs have a number of side effects and contraindications.
The effects of taking the drugs are particularly pronounced in the first days of medication therapy. The human body needs about a week to become accustomed to the effects of the medication. During this time, you may experience drowsiness, dry mouth and dizziness if you try to stand up from your seat. These symptoms will go away on their own after a few days. Modern medications have fewer contraindications and side effects and are often more effective in treating schizophrenia.
Effective treatment of any mental disorder, including schizophrenia, is not possible without family involvement. Psychiatrists maintain close contact with the patient’s relatives, helping them to understand the specifics of the disease and advising on the care of the person suffering from schizophrenia. By working together, patients can learn to understand their condition, sense the onset of seizures and control the symptoms of the illness.
Psychotherapy for schizophrenia
For a long time, the treatment of schizophrenia was exclusively with medication. Psychotherapy was rarely used for this category of patients, it was only an auxiliary method, but today the situation is changing.
A psychotherapist with experience in this area is able to make his or her patient’s life complete. In order to achieve this, work is carried out on several fronts:
- Individual work with the patient. With the help of a specialist, the patient understands what is wrong with him or her. He or she learns to recognize the factors that can provoke an exacerbation. Behavioural therapy helps to correct the patient’s behaviour so that the risk of relapse is minimised.
- Working with family members. A schizophrenic patient cannot successfully adapt to society without the support of loved ones. The main feature of this illness is that a schizophrenic person is forced to lead a closed lifestyle, he or she cannot work, study or go to public places. Therefore, the burden of adaptation falls on the patient’s environment. The quicker and more successful the adaptation period, the more favourable the prognosis and the lower the risk of relapse.
- Group therapy. During these meetings, people share their experiences of the disease with each other and talk about their achievements and personal victories. This enables you to accept your illness, not be afraid of it and not feel guilty about it.
Quality psychotherapy helps people with schizophrenia to live a normal life, but this can only be achieved with a holistic approach to the treatment of schizophrenia.
Treatment as an inpatient
Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that cannot be treated without hospitalisation. Psychotherapeutic methods and rehabilitation therapies can eliminate the overwhelming number of symptoms of this illness. At the beginning of treatment, however, intensive therapy is usually necessary. This is done on an inpatient basis to stabilise the patient as quickly as possible:
- The initial stages require the patient to be in a specialised clinic at all times. People suffering from schizophrenia often try to end their lives. A hospitalization will help to avoid an accident;
- If the patient does not pose a threat to others or himself, the doctor may prescribe treatment as a day care facility. The patient’s relatives bring the patient in daily to undergo the treatment recommended by the attending physician;
- In the second stage of treatment, the patient also visits the clinic daily. This is necessary so that the doctor can monitor the effectiveness of the treatment and make adjustments if necessary;
- Routine treatment of schizophrenia requires the patient to visit the clinic once a month. At this stage, complex techniques are used, allowing for the restoration of certain processes in the patient’s brain, behavioural correction and socialisation. In some cases, the doctor may cancel daily medication.
The main difficulty faced by doctors in treating schizophrenia is that patients often deny their illness. This also applies to their loved ones. A person who has schizophrenia can be very persuasive in their statements, their mind is quite clear and they themselves sincerely believe in the ideas inspired by the delusion. If the patient’s behaviour becomes aggressive and inadequate, a special committee may decide on compulsory hospitalisation. In this case, doctors do not need the permission of the patient or his relatives in order to initiate treatment.
Treating schizophrenia at home
If you notice the alarming symptoms of schizophrenia in someone close to you, you should not try to treat them yourself. Without the use of special medication, the disease will progress rapidly, leading to the complete degradation of the sick person’s personality.
There is no need to fear that your loved one will forever be branded as a “psycho”. Today, treatment for people with mental health problems is carried out in complete confidentiality and being in hospital can be compared to a holiday at a boarding house. Modern clinics create comfortable conditions to help mentally ill people recover quickly.
Treatment of schizophrenia at home is possible if the patient has undergone intensive inpatient treatment. Once his condition has stabilised, the doctor may prescribe a course of treatment that can be carried out at home. In addition to taking medication and seeing a psychotherapist, rehabilitation therapy includes
- Normalising nutrition. During episodes of illness, the schizophrenic patient experiences extreme nervous tension, which causes him to lose weight drastically. In order to fight the disease, you need to have strength, and for this you need to eat a nutritious diet. The daily diet should include healthy foods that allow the body to get everything it needs to function properly.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Everyone needs to get enough sleep, because only in this way the nervous system can rest. It is considered to be necessary to sleep 8 hours a day, but some of us need only 5-6 hours, and someone may need 12 hours. So you need as much sleep as your nervous system needs to recover. People with schizophrenia often have trouble falling asleep. They may have nightmares, or simply feel sorry for wasting time because they have so many ‘genius’ ideas. But they need to sleep, so they can take medication to help them fall asleep.
- Yoga classes may help. But the exercises should be done under the guidance of a trainer in the absence of contraindications.
- Exercise can help to rehabilitate the nervous system. For people with schizophrenia, a visit to the swimming pool is the best option. The water calms the nervous system and helps the body to relax. Sunlight and fresh air can also be relaxing. If all these ingredients are combined, good results can be achieved. But one should not forget the safety precautions during sunbathing, air bathing and when visiting the swimming pool.
Treatment of schizophrenia is primarily aimed at helping the person regain control of their mind. A psychotherapist can teach appropriate techniques, but success depends largely on the individual. An individual suffering from a mild form of schizophrenia can help themselves by an effort of will, but in severe cases this is almost impossible.