Schizophrenia is one of the most complex and misunderstood mental health disorders in the world today. If people don’t view those who suffer from this disorder as dangerous, they’ll often imagine schizophrenics as bound for homelessness or a mental hospital. However, this is simply untrue; with the proper support and understanding, people with schizophrenia can live full, happy lives. At Alter Behavioral Health, we believe that the best treatment combines therapy, education, social support, and medication.
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a disorder that disrupts the ability of a person to understand reality. This might manifest as audial or visual hallucinations, but there are many other potential symptoms. For instance, delusions and struggles with thinking coherently are also present in untreated cases. In some cases, schizophrenia is disabling while in other cases it isn’t.
However, all people with schizophrenia will require lifelong treatment as no cure currently exists. The earlier the intervention, the better. If treatment preempts serious complications, the patient will often have a much easier time coping with the disorder and living a full life.
Modern Schizophrenia Treatment
There’s no magic bullet to curing schizophrenia, but there are proven methods to manage the disorder. While modern antipsychotic medications take center-stage, cognitive behavioral therapy and psychoeducation are also indispensable.
Antipsychotic drugs interact with the brain in a way that helps regulate its activity and mitigate the symptoms of schizophrenia. While side-effects sometimes exist, this is why our experts will work with you to determine the most effective medication for you. This way, you’ll be able to find a successful treatment that requires the lowest possible dose. Thankfully, the increasing availability of second-generation anti-psychotics has given people safer, lower-dose alternatives to past medications.
The other main option for schizophrenia medication is long-term injectable treatments. These persist over a much longer period, but may not be right for everyone.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Even as medication subdues the core symptoms of schizophrenia, it’s still difficult to suffer from the disorder. Patients may not understand the condition and themselves, to detrimental consequences. By working through cognitive behavioral therapy in combination with medication, a person who suffers from schizophrenia may be able to achieve more consistent thought patterns. While this will not cure schizophrenia, it may reduce symptoms and make the condition more manageable. Additionally, they’ll be able to reduce the stress that can often trigger a psychotic episode.
While medication is the most important component in treating the mental illness of schizophrenia, talk therapy is key in treating the person as well. To this effect, psychoeducation and social support ensure the best possible quality of life for those with schizophrenia.
Psychoeducation and Group Psychoeducation
Understanding of schizophrenia is essential not just for the person with the disorder, but for their loved ones. Psychoeducation is multifaceted and addresses a variety of concerns that all parties might have. For one, destigmatizing the patient’s condition and erasing fears that they pose a danger to others is important. Next, helping the patient and their loved ones appreciate what triggers psychotic episodes and how to identify the early warning signs will make life much easier for everyone involved.
Schizophrenia Care in Orange County
Alter Behavioral Health is committed to making the latest in evidence-based mental healthcare available to adults throughout Orange County. If you’re suffering from schizophrenia or another mental health condition, you can count on personalized, compassionate care from Alter Behavioral Health. Get in touch today to schedule a consultation and learn more about what we can do for you.