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Schizophrenia Treatments


Schizophrenia is not curable but it is highly treatable. Hospitalization may be required during acute episodes. Symptoms are usually controlled with antipsychotic medications.

Antipsychotic Medications

Antipsychotic medications work by blocking certain chemicals in the brain. This helps control the abnormal thinking that occurs in people with schizophrenia. Determining a medication plan can be a complicated process. Often medications or dosages need to be changed until the right balance is found. This can take months or even years. Examples of medications include:

  • Haloperidol (Haldol)
  • Thioridazine
  • Fluphenazine

Relapse is common, even for patients taking medication. Treatment compliance can be a challenge since people often stop taking their medication when they are feeling better. If you don’t take your medications as prescribed, your doctor may give you a long-acting injection instead of daily pills. The side effects of traditional antipsychotics also can cause people to discontinue treatment. The most common are physical side effects such as:

  • Slow and stiff movements
  • Restlessness
  • Facial tics
  • Protruding tongue

New medications, called atypical antipsychotics , have fewer side effects, and are better tolerated over long periods of time. However, they may cause weight gain, elevated blood sugar, and elevated serum cholesterol. Examples of these medications include:

  • Aripiprazole (Abilify)
  • Clozapine (Clozaril)
  • Risperidone (Risperdal)
  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • Paliperidone (Invega)
  • Quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • Ziprasidone (Geodon)

Medications for Coexisting Conditions

Conditions often associated with schizophrenia include depression and anxiety . They may be treated with:

  • Antidepressants
  • Anxiolytic drugs
  • Lithium
  • Anticonvulsants

Electroconvulsive Therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy may be used to treat severe depression, suicidal ideation, or severe psychosis.

Supportive Therapy

Schizophrenia is a lifelong condition. It can be confusing and frightening for the person with the disease and for family members. Individual and family therapy can address:

  • Social skills
  • Vocational guidance
  • Community resources
  • Coping with family
  • Living arrangements
  • General emotional support
  • Working with the family to help them deal with the patient

If you are diagnosed with schizophrenia, follow your doctor's instructions .

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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