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How is schizophrenia treated and treated with patients?

Schizophrenia is one of the most complex and least understood mental disorders, which is characterized by having a strong influence on a patient’s cognitive, emotional and social state.

 

Andrea Fagiolini, professor of psychiatry at the University of Siena, explains. “The effect that the disease has on the family is just as much as it affects the patient, because patients engage in a series of behaviors that directly affect the patient’s family life.”

Schizophrenia is one of the biggest burdens on the health system, and ranks among the top 20 causes of disability worldwide.

Can schizophrenia be treated

While there may be no cure for schizophrenia, many people with this mental illness can lead healthy and productive lives.

“Patients tend to do well over time,” says Ken Duckworth, medical director of the National Alliance for Mental Illness in the United States and associate professor at Harvard Medical School.

In the United States, the National Institutes of Health estimates that as many as half of the 2 million Americans with schizophrenia could make a major or even full recovery if they get treatment.

The recovery of people with schizophrenia means that they show no symptoms, live in their community and engage in positive social events with friends and family. Briefly. Successful schizophrenia treatment combines medical treatment, social rehabilitation and support.

How is schizophrenia treated

The treatment of schizophrenia combines 3 types of therapeutic interventions:

1. Medical intervention

Dr. Duckworth says that experience with schizophrenia varies from person to person, which makes treatment complicated. Patients will need more or less support depending on the severity of their disease.

The elements of a successful medical intervention are:

Antipsychotic medications: These medications can help control or eliminate symptoms. It works by adjusting the balance of chemicals in the brain. But for these drugs to work properly, a person must take the medication exactly as prescribed. Many don’t: An estimated 50 to 70 percent of patients in the United States – regardless of disease – incorrectly use their medication.

Hospitalization: Hospitalization of patients may be necessary for people whose symptoms are severely worse. People may be admitted to hospital if they are considered dangerous to themselves or others. When symptoms stabilize, people are released from the hospital again to their families and the community.

2. Social intervention

A large part of the treatment that addresses people with schizophrenia helps them learn and practice the basic activities of daily life. But they face many challenges:

Cognitive deficits make it difficult for people with schizophrenia to move between public transportation and locate local pharmacies.

Cognitive symptoms may make it difficult for a person with schizophrenia to convey their needs to a pharmacist and to remember the pharmacist’s instructions.

Training courses aimed at teaching these skills in real and community settings have proven to enhance these life skills.

3. Supportive treatment

Supportive therapy is a comprehensive mental illness treatment strategy that uses a team of psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, drug counselors, rehabilitation counselors, and professional counselors who work with patients in their homes and communities. This form is very effective in preventing the need for hospitalization.

Support from family and peers can also play a big role in the healing process.

Although medication is important in the treatment plan, another goal of recovery is not to be overlooked, which is to reintegrate people with schizophrenia into their communities to allow them to lead healthy and productive lives.

Is it possible to live with schizophrenia?

In the past, schizophrenia was considered a disability. Today, there are many treatments and strategies for learning to live with this disease, ensuring fewer symptoms, fewer side effects and an improved quality of life. The key to treatment success lies in regular lifestyle and treatment adherence.

Most patients can lead relatively normal lives as long as they are treated appropriately and maintain healthy lifestyles.

Science has evolved over the years, and today there are effective treatments available that are able to achieve good symptom control with minimal side effects on a patient’s life.

To maintain disease stability and improve prognosis, it is essential that the patient undergo a series of treatments regularly.

Adherence to prescribed treatments, whether medicinal or rehabilitative, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and carrying out daily activities outside and at home, are the basis of coexistence while ensuring that there are no relapses.

Tips to improve patients’ lifestyle

Several studies have shown that an unbalanced diet, tobacco and alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise contribute to overall health deterioration.

Exercise, in addition to the general health benefits, can also help improve mood and focus, reduce anxiety and stress, and boost self-esteem.

Group exercises, such as soccer matches, also help meet new people, which reduces isolation and improves social skills. Other exercises, such as yoga and meditation, can help facilitate relaxation.

 

Any exercise should not be very difficult technically and above all fun. You should start slowly and carefully, and it is important to consult a physician before starting an exercise program.

We encourage you to adopt a healthy lifestyle, and to acquire the habits shown below:

A healthy, balanced diet

Rich in fiber, vegetables and fruits, which can improve your feeling of well-being while keeping weight under control.

Moderate physical vitality

Maintaining fitness is important to improving overall health, but it also has a major effect on improving our mood.

Work and hobby

Doing some work (voluntary or paid), attending a course or seminar, or practicing a hobby are all activities that can help develop a sense of satisfaction and improve mental health in general.

Avoid stressful conditions

It is important to try to control stress and avoid the stress of the outside environment.

Make friends

The patient should avoid social isolation. Connecting with others may make you feel good.

Try to build a good relationship with your doctor, caregivers, and family. So that you feel more comfortable talking about your problems, and others will definitely help you find a solution.

Avoid alcohol and drug consumption

Drugs (hemp – cocaine etc.) and drinking alcohol do not make you feel better. On the contrary, they make your condition worse. They can cause psychotic disorders and also interact with medications, making your general condition worse and causing relapses. Relapse can lead to the need to visit the emergency room or stay in the hospital for some time.

Sleep well

Sleep 7-8 hours a night. Avoid caffeine. And exercise and try to avoid napping during the day.

If you are having trouble sleeping, it is essential to see your doctor.

Avoid relapses

The consequences of relapse in schizophrenia can be very serious. The risk of relapse increases if the patient discontinues drug therapy or if treatments are taken irregularly.

Each episode of relapse has a major impact on life, functional and cognitive state.

Recovery is slow after each relapse, and in some cases some previous functions cannot be restored.

This is why relapses should be avoided, and in order to be able to prevent them it is important to learn to recognize the warning signs.

Relapses themselves are signs that something is wrong. However, many episodes are not reported immediately and time often passes until the situation becomes unbearable.

Sometimes, people with schizophrenia find that their condition is getting worse and that they may have a relapse, but they can’t always do something about it.

The main causes of relapse can be the following:

  • The treatment is not taken correctly, the patient does not take the treatment in the manner prescribed by the doctor.
  • Lack of awareness of the disease, the patient believes that there is no need to continue treatment.
  • Heavy consumption of substances (drugs or alcohol) can worsen symptoms.
  • The stressors of everyday life can also exacerbate symptoms and relapse.

Friends and family can help the patient identify signs of relapse early.

If certain symptoms called “warning signs” appear, it is important that the doctor is informed promptly.

Warning signs

Sometimes, people with schizophrenia find that their condition is getting worse and that they may have a relapse, but they can’t always do something about it.

If you notice any of these symptoms on a patient, talk to a doctor:

  • Not falling asleep or your sleep patterns have changed.
  • Stop taking treatment.
  • The patient experiences a lot of anxiety, tension or fear.
  • Feel very upset and restless.
  • He doesn’t want to see friends or anyone else.
  • Doesn’t want to get out of bed.
  • He feels sad, does not like anything, there is nothing to interest him.
  • He has no appetite.
  • Doubt, such as thinking other people are speaking poorly.
  • Hear voices that are not real.
  • He cannot focus.
  • When he leaves the house, he has the feeling that everyone is after him.
  • He takes drugs, drugs, or toxic substances.
  • His behavior changes significantly.

Source

Italian Psychiatric Association

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