Medicine for Schizophrenia
Prescription drugs can reduce symptoms such as abnormal thinking, hallucinations, and delusions. It’s thought they work by regulating certain brain chemicals and receptors that influence thinking, perception, and behavior. Some people have troubling side effects, including tremors and weight gain. Schizophrenia drugs can also interact with other medications or supplements. In most cases, long-term medication is essential to managing schizophrenia.
Counseling can help people cope with their problem behaviors and thoughts, and improve how they relate to others. In cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), people learn to test the reality of their thoughts and better manage symptoms. Other forms of therapy aim to improve self-care, communication, and relationship skills. These strategies are not meant to replace medication, but can help people already stable on medication manage everyday challenges.
Rehabilitation may include job training, money management counseling, and guidance in using public transportation or shopping for groceries. The goal is to help people with schizophrenia stay employed and maintain as much independence as possible. Rehab programs are particularly effective when combined with psychotherapy.
People with schizophrenia sometimes quit their medications because of side effects or a poor understanding of their illness. This raises the risk of serious symptoms returning and triggering a full psychotic episode. Regular psychosocial therapy can help people stay on medication and avoid a relapse or the need for hospitalization.