Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder. It causes delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized behavior and speech. A combination of psychological, genetic and environmental factors causes schizophrenia.
Several options are available for treating schizophrenia. Combination of psychiatric drugs is usually recommended for treating the psychological and behavioral symptoms of schizophrenia. In addition, psychosocial interventions are required for improving the mental condition of the patient.
Treatment For Schizophrenia
Antipsychotic drugs are the conventional medications for schizophrenia. The traditional antipsychotic medications, also known as typical antipsychotic drugs, include chlorpromazine, perphanazine, haloperidol and fluphenazine. These drugs help to treat hallucination, delusions and other psychological symptoms.
Agranulocytosis or break down of the white blood cells is a serious side effect of the typical antipsychotic drugs that increases the risk of infections. People who cannot take the conventional antipsychotic drugs are prescribed the second-generation antipsychotic drugs, also called atypical antipsychotic medications. Common new generation antipsychotic medications include risperidone, quetiapine, olanzapine, aripiprazole, ziprasidone and paliperidone.
Mood Stabilizer Drugs
Mood disorders that may affect schizophrenia patients are treated with medications that help to stabilize the moods. Mood stabilizing drugs commonly used for treatment include lithium, lamotrigine, divalproex and carbamazepine. These drugs are considered unsafe for pregnant women.
When in addition to psychosis, a schizophrenia patient experienced depression, antidepressants are needed for improving the levels of the brain chemicals that regulate mood.Antidepressants used for treatment include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and dopamine norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.
Electroconvulsive therapy is recommended when the schizophrenia patient does not respond to medications. In this therapy, a small seizure is stimulated in the brain with the help of controlled electric current. Electric current is usually applied not more than thrice a week. The treatment lasts for two to four weeks.
Psychosocial therapy helps to improve the behavioral functions and social skills of the patient. It helps to improve the relationship of the schizophrenia patients with family and friends. Psychosocial intervention is essential for reducing the relapse rate. Therapists train patients how to handle different social situations.Cognitive behavioral therapy helps the patient to interact with people at workplaces and other social settings.
Certain nutrients are beneficial for schizophrenia patients. One of the supplements that are used as an adjunct to conventional schizophrenia treatment is glycine supplement. Glycine is a type of amino acid. In schizophrenia patients, it helps to improve the psychological and behavioral symptoms by improving chemical signals transmission in the brain. Glycine supplements are usually effective when combined with the second generation antipsychotic drugs.
Some researches suggest that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can benefit schizophrenia patients. The omega-3 fat eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is especially effective in reducing the symptoms of schizophrenia.
The antioxidant vitamins C and E help to alleviate the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. They work by improving the antioxidant status of the brain that helps to reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress tends to aggravate the symptoms of schizophrenia. Consuming antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables can also benefit schizophrenia patients.
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