During an episode of schizophrenia, the peson may need to stay in the hospital for safety reasons.
Antipsychotic medicines are the most effective treatment for schizophrenia. They change the balance of chemicals in the brain and can help control symptoms.
While helpful, these medicines can cause side effects. Many side effects can be managed though. For this reason, they should not prevent the person from getting treated for this serious condition.
Common side effects from antipsychotics may include:
- Feelings of restlessness or jitteryness
- Sleepiness (sedation)
- Slowed movements
- Weight gain
Long-term use of antipsychotic medicines may increase the risk of a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia. This condition causes repeated movements that the person cannot control. Call the health care provider right away if you think you or your family member may have this condition due to the medicine.
When schizophrenia does not improve with antipsychotics, other medicines may be tried.
Schizophrenia is a life-long illness. Most people with this condition need to stay on antipsychotic medication for life.
SUPPORT PROGRAMS AND THERAPIES
Support therapy may be helpful for many people with schizophrenia. Behavioral techniques, such as social skills training, can help the person function better in social and work situations. Job training and relationship-building classes are also important.
Family members and caregivers are very important in the treatment of schizophrenia. Important skills that may be learned at such programs include:
- Coping with symptoms that are present even while taking medicines
- A healthy lifestyle, including getting enough sleep and staying away from recreational drugs
- Taking medicines correctly and how to manage side effects
- Watching for the return of symptoms, and knowing what to do when they return
- Getting the right support services