Treatment of Schizophrenia:
A good doctor
Find one who is recommended by other doctors or by families with a schizophrenic member; a doctor who combines "technical competence with an interest in the disease and empathy with its sufferers."
When acutely ill, the schizophrenic person should be hospitalized in an accredited hospital where the doctor of choice is affiliated or has privileges. This provides the clinical setting needed for observation, testing, differential diagnosis, and initiation of medication under the supervision of trained staff. It also protects the patient from injury to self or to others - and gives family members an often needed respite after the crisis.
Alternatives to hospitalization
Treatment for a relapse can sometimes be given in the emergency room, clinic, or the patient's home with the use of injectable drugs. A skilled physician can dramatically reduce the psychotic symptoms in approximately half of schizophrenic patients within 6 to 8 hours. Partial hospitalization in day treatment centers or night hospitals is also a good alternative where available.
criteria vary from state to state; the procedures are used when the person is dangerous to self or others.
varioius national organizations address the procedures which are based on the rights of the mental patients, increased exercise of the patient's right too counsel, and other civil liberties.
Drugs: the most important treatment
"It is not that drugs are the only ingredient necessary to treat schizophrenia successfully; they are just the most essential ingredient."
The drugs used in the treatment of schizophrenia are called antipsychotic drugs or neuroleptics. An outdated name for these drugs is major tranquilizer, although they are not per se tranquilizers, nor are they addictive.
"Antipsychotic drugs for schizophrenia are exactly the same as insulin for diabetes or digitalis for heart failure - they are drugs needed by the body to restore the functioning to more normal levels." They are not a cure, but the do control the disease, reducing the:
symptoms of the disease - antipsychotic drugs are "most effective at reducing delusions, hallucinations, aggressive or bizarre behavior, thinking disorders, and the symptoms having to do with overacuteness of the senses."
length of hospital stay - for weeks, or even months, to days.
chance at rehospitalization - "On the average, a person who takes drugs has a 3 out of 5 chance (60%) of not being rehospitalized, whereas the person who does not take the drugs only has a 1 out of 5 chance (20%) of not being rehospitalized."
In studies "on the long-acting injectable form of antipsychotics (where compliance in taking the drug is assured), the results are even more impressive. In one study of schizophrenic patients, only 8% of the patients who were taking the drug relapsed within one year, but 68% of those not taking the drug relapsed. In another study of schizophrenic patients taking injectable antipsychotics, 80% relapsed within 2 years when the drug was stopped."