Over three million people in the United States are diagnosed with the mental health condition schizophrenia. However, only a small number of these people are actually able to seek treatment that will help them to manage its often-debilitating symptoms.
Finding the right schizophrenia treatment can be an overwhelming task. We are here to act as your guide in understanding the different schizophrenia treatment options so that you can find help today.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that impacts your behavior, thoughts, and feelings. The symptoms of schizophrenia can vary depending on your situation, experiences, and if you have other related mental health conditions, such as schizoaffective disorder. Most commonly, the symptoms of schizophrenia include:
According to the DSM-5, a mental health professional can diagnose you with schizophrenia if you have two or more of the classic symptoms, including delusions, hallucinations, and/or disorganized speech. A mental health professional will also take a look at your family history, use of social skills, and specific negative symptoms to better understand how schizophrenia might be affecting you.
Receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia can feel overwhelming at first. You might feel relieved to finally have an answer or a name to the symptoms that have been weighing you down, but you’re probably also wondering, “What do I do next?”
Though living with the symptoms and the stigma of schizophrenia can be extremely challenging, finding a happy, healthy lifestyle is possible with the right schizophrenia treatment.
There are two main types of treatment options for schizophrenia, and mental health professionals recommend a combination of both to fully manage your symptoms. These treatments include antipsychotic medications and psychological, therapeutic treatment options.
Antipsychotic medications can be extremely beneficial in managing your most severe symptoms of schizophrenia. Throughout the years, experts have created first-generation and second-generation antipsychotics to help bring balance to the chemicals, hormones, and physiological changes that occur in the brain of a person with schizophrenia.
These antipsychotic medications work to keep one of the most common side effects of schizophrenia—psychosis—at bay. During a psychotic episode, you are unable to distinguish between the reality you are perceiving and the true facts of the situation. Antipsychotic medications work to block specific parts of your brain from receiving this harmful or unnecessary input during periods of psychosis.
The goal is that it becomes easier to recognize what is real and what is not real. Even if you still experience some of the classic symptoms of schizophrenia (i.e., hallucinations) antipsychotic medications signal that these might not be real. From there, you will be able to better distinguish reality, and apply the skills you’ve learned through psychological treatment to manage the symptoms.
Working with a mental health professional is crucial during the process of finding the right antipsychotic medications. There are a lot of side effects that you might experience–some that might make symptoms worse for a brief period of time. Thus, always check in with your mental health professional and report shifts in thinking, behaviors, and overall bodily sensations.
Most importantly, if you feel that the antipsychotic medications are working, it is essential that you continue to take them as prescribed. Medication management services through mental health and addiction programs can help you to keep track of the correct dosing as well as handle any addiction struggles that might arise while you are finding the right prescription.
In addition to antipsychotic medications, psychological treatment will help you to understand your symptoms and develop the skills you need to healthily live with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia treatment can help you in all areas of your life through the use of psychotherapy, group therapy, and family therapy.
Here’s what you need to know about these three approaches and where you can find schizophrenia treatment centers near you.
You might have heard of psychotherapy referred to as “talk therapy” and wondered what good it could do for your specific experiences with schizophrenia. Simply put, the mental health professional you work with will be able to facilitate a discussion about your symptoms and teach you new (or better) strategies on how to live with schizophrenia.
In individualized psychotherapy, you will learn to retrain your brain to process certain thought patterns, behaviors, and social skills. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is also a psychotherapeutic tool that is used as a way to reapproach problematic thinking and behaviors. CBT skills such as mindfulness, fact checking, and emotion regulation can help you to manage your symptoms of schizophrenia even when they feel overwhelming.
Group therapy is also extremely important for schizophrenia treatment. Here, you will work together with other people who are also struggling with the symptoms of schizophrenia or other serious mental health conditions.
Typically, a mental health professional will lead the group therapy sessions with a series of questions, activities, or assignments. These elements of group therapy work to help you speak openly about schizophrenia. Additionally, group therapy introduces valuable tools that can help you combat the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, such as:
Group therapy sessions might not get into your specific hallucinations or other symptoms of schizophrenia, but in group therapy, you learn how to manage this condition alongside others who understand exactly what you are going through. Sharing your experiences with schizophrenia in group therapy is essential in realizing that you are not alone in this struggle.
Similarly to group therapy, family therapy is a collaborative effort. Since both genetics and environmental factors play a role in your chances of developing schizophrenia, this means that this disorder can be passed down through families. It’s important to learn to heal alongside trusted family members and loved ones, especially when there is a family history of mental illness and/or substance abuse.
In family therapy, the goal is to start building a solid support system that will have your back when you are struggling with the symptoms of schizophrenia. Oftentimes, family therapy also helps to break down the stereotypes of schizophrenia and create awareness about what it’s actually like to live with this condition.
The Blackberry Center in St. Cloud, Florida is dedicated to helping you manage your mental health and addiction struggles. Our team of mental health professionals use effective, up-to-date schizophrenia treatment approaches and, most importantly, create a treatment plan that works for you.
If you have questions or would like more information on receiving mental health and schizophrenia treatment in Florida, give us a call at 888-512-9802 or fill out our confidential contact form today. Help is just around the corner.