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The symptoms of schizophrenia are severe and ongoing. They can disrupt lives and cause great suffering. But treatment may help relieve many of these symptoms. Most often, treatment includes both medication and counseling (psychotherapy). It also may involve help with social and life skills.
Medication is a key part of any treatment for schizophrenia. Medications known as antipsychotics can help ease present symptoms. They also may prevent future problems. These medications can have side effects. To avoid side effects, some people may even stop taking their medications. Unfortunately, this can cause their symptoms to come back. If your loved one has problems with medication, tell the doctor. Changing the dose or type of medication may help. Your support and caring can also help a loved one stick with treatment.
A therapist can help your loved one deal with problems caused by schizophrenia. Therapy may focus on healing relationships or coping with the disorder. A therapist can also provide emotional support.
Some people with schizophrenia may not be able to work. They also may lack basic life skills. For instance, they may not know how to shop or manage money. Some may not be able to care for themselves. Fortunately, there are professionals who can help them learn these skills. If you can’t care for your loved one, there are special places he or she can live, such as halfway houses and group homes. They are safe places for your loved one to start building a new life. There are also agencies that can assist with needs such as improving life skills and finding housing.
Research into schizophrenia is ongoing. This may lead to improved treatments in the future. There is always hope for a better life.
National Institute of Mental Health 866-615-6464 www.nimh.nih.gov
National Alliance on Mental Illness 800-950-6264 www.nami.org
Mental Health America 800-969-6642 www.nmha.org