Conditions on the Schizophrenic Spectrum are severe illnesses, making treatment essential.

While there is no doubting the complexities of these conditions, one good thing is that with the right treatment and support, recovery is possible.

Treatment for Schizophrenia generally includes a combination of therapy and medication – which has helped many people.

Medication normally plays a large role in the treatment of Schizophrenic Spectrum Disorders

What is the Schizophrenic Spectrum?

Schizophrenic Spectrum: The Schizophrenic Spectrum consists of a few different conditions that are characterised by a range of symptoms. These symptoms normally revolve around a difficulty in understanding reality due to changes in the way someone thinks, feels, or acts. These conditions usually involve a breakdown in the connection between thoughts, emotions and behaviour – often resulting in psychotic symptoms. Treatment is available, and can result in an improvement in quality of life.

Schizophrenic Spectrum Treatment

Treatment is normally organised by Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT). CMHT’s are a team made up of mental health professionals. They help individual’s with complex mental health conditions.

CMHT’s will normally provide the patient with a key worker, who will act as the first point of contact for any enquiries during treatment.

A care plan, which will involve therapy and medication, will also be created. The care plan takes into account living needs like housing arrangements, financial arrangements and more, if the patient requires help.

The purpose is essentially to ensure the patient has support wherever necessary to enter treatment without external pressures. The care plan can be regularly reviewed, and altered wherever necessary.

Talking Therapy

Talking therapy is an important component in the treatment of schizophrenic spectrum disorders. Therapy often helps in making symptoms have less of an impact on an individual’s life. There are several different types of therapy that can be used, including:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that is used to treat a range of mental health conditions. CBT involves an individual talking face-to-face with a therapist, although sometimes CBT can be conducted in a group setting. CBT attempts to improve an individual’s wellbeing and mood. The therapy focuses on the link between thoughts, feelings and actions. This can be useful for those with low self-esteem, anxiety, unhelpful personality traits or intrusive thoughts. CBT can help an individual understand their feelings more, and in the long run should lead to an improvement in quality of life.

Arts Therapy: Arts and creative therapy (also known as expressive arts therapy, creative arts therapy, expressive therapies etc) can help people find a way to express their thoughts and feelings in an easier way. This type of therapy involves an individual creating art, an object or piece of music, which can normally be used by a therapist to link to certain problems. Arts therapy can be a good alternative to talking therapy if needed.

There are a range of other types of talking therapy, aside from the above.

Medication

The use of medication is crucial in the management of schizophrenic spectrum disorders. The primary medication class used is Antipsychotics.

Antipsychotics can help lessen the severity of the symptoms of Schizophrenia. They will normally need to be taken on a long-term basis:

Antipsychotics: Antipsychotics (also known as neuroleptics) block the effect of dopamine – a chemical in the brain that is heavily linked to psychotic symptoms like hallucinations. They can also be useful for stabilising mood, and treating anxiety. They are not suitable for everyone however, and are often associated with many side effects like weight gain, dizziness and dry mouth.

In cases of Schizoaffective Disorder that involve mania, treatment can involve the use of mood stabilisers:

Mood Stabilisers: Mood stabilisers can help level out moods, meaning fewer lows, and fewer euphoric highs are felt. Lithium Carbonate is the best-known mood stabiliser. Valproate is a well-known anticonvulsant which is often used as a stabiliser for people who cannot take Lithium Carbonate.

If a patient is in a state of severe anxiety, sometimes a benzodiazepine can be prescribed in the short-term:

Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines are fast-acting sedatives, which can relax an individual and improve their mood. Any anxiety should fade rapidly upon consumption. The individual should therefore have an improved level of functioning. Benzodiazepines cannot be taken for more than a few weeks, due to acute risk of both physical and psychological dependence.

Other

Sometimes, in very severe cases of Schizophrenia, psychotic symptoms can cause what is known as an “acute schizophrenic episode”.

This involves a worsening of symptoms to the extent where the individual may pose a danger to themselves or others. This will commonly require additional care. Additional care can sometimes be provided by Crisis Resolution Teams (CRT).

CRT’s aid individuals who in normal circumstances would need to be treated in hospital. CRT’s try and stop admission to hospital wherever possible. For instance, treatment may take place at a Day Care centre. If treatment of the acute episode is successful, the CRT’s can help with future prevention of further episodes.

Unfortunately however, in cases where CRT’s are unable to help those having an acute schizophrenic episode, admission to a psychiatric ward or secure hospital will be necessary.

This will often involve an individual being kept in a locked ward. Sometimes, this will involve sectioning. This is in instances where someone may be a danger to themselves or others.

But the individual will only need to remain in hospital for as long is necessary, in accordance to their symptoms.

Sometimes, a person with Schizophrenia will be in a state of catatonia, which may require further intervention, which is typically done through Electroconvulsive Therapy:

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): Electroconvulsive Therapy (commonly referred to as shock treatment) is a treatment that sees an electric current sent through the brain of an individual. The aim is to trigger an epileptic seizure, with the ultimate objective to relieve symptoms of a mental health problem. The human body is fully restrained during the procedure, which also involves a general anaesthetic. Electroconvulsive therapy is normally a last resort. Despite this, ECT actually has an impressive efficacy rate, with many people finding it helps immeasurably.

There are also some alternative and complimentary treatments that offer a different approach to the above types of treatment.

Summary

Any condition on the Schizophrenic spectrum is very difficult to live with, but treatment is readily available, and in many cases will lessen symptoms.

At the very least, a patient should have more control over their life due to treatment. In some cases, full recovery will be possible.

See Also

  1. Schizophrenic Spectrum: Everything You Need to Know
  2. What Are The Different Types of Schizophrenic Spectrum Disorders?
  3. What Are The Symptoms of Schizophrenic Spectrum Disorders?
  4. What Are The Causes of Schizophrenic Spectrum Disorders?
  5. How are Schizophrenic Spectrum Disorders Diagnosed?
  6. How Can Schizophrenic Spectrum Disorders be Treated?
  7. What is the Prognosis for Schizophrenic Spectrum Disorders??
  8. 10 Tips for Living With Schizophrenic Spectrum Disorders?
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References