Schizophrenia is a type of mental health disorder. It affects brain functioning in a variety of ways, impacting emotions, relationships, and decision-making. Schizophrenia is not considered curable. Instead, therapy and treatment focus on managing symptoms. To do this, behavioral health therapy programs rely on medications and psychotherapy. Some people with schizophrenia need to take medication for their entire lives, while others may only need it for discrete periods of time. Reach out to AssuraSource online or at 972.233.1010 to learn about our schizophrenia therapy program in Dallas, TX.
What Are Common Symptoms of Schizophrenia?
The cause of schizophrenia is unknown. Genetics and a person’s environment both seem to play a role in whether or not someone develops this mental health disorder. Regardless of the timing and reason for its onset, it is an incredibly challenging mental disorder. Symptoms commonly associated with schizophrenia include hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized cognitive abilities.
Hallucinations and delusions are perhaps what people first think about schizophrenia. These can manifest in numerous ways. A common delusion, similar to paranoia, is the idea that people are out to get you. Meanwhile, hallucinations involve experiencing voices, feelings, or events that have no basis in reality yet feel real to the person going through them. A few more symptoms related to suffering from schizophrenia are:
- Decreased emotional affect
- Social avoidance
- Speech difficulties
- Disorganized thoughts
- Difficulty with normal cognitive processing
Treatments Used in a Schizophrenia Therapy Program
So how do schizophrenia therapy programs manage symptoms and improve quality of life? More often than not, schizophrenia treatment programs in Dallas, Texas, rely on medications and therapy. Most programs offer a range of psychotherapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and cognitive enhancement therapy.
CBT targets behavior change and alters the underlying beliefs and patterns of thought that govern a person’s actions. In the context of schizophrenia, therapy will focus on helping someone deal with delusions and hallucinations in a healthy, productive way. On the other hand, cognitive enhancement therapy focuses more on the ways that schizophrenia impairs cognitive functioning.
Schizophrenia therapy programs around Dallas, Texas, also use a range of psychosocial therapy interventions to address the social and relational damage done by schizophrenia. These group sessions could be grounded in social skills training, family education, coordinated specialty care, assertive community treatment, or social recovery therapy. Coordinated specialty care and assertive community therapy are distinct techniques employed in treating schizophrenia.
First, coordinated specialty care is directed at people who have just recently gone through their first bout of psychosis. It is a comprehensive, wraparound approach that aims to change the long-term outlook of schizophrenia through intensive, early intervention. Second, assertive community treatment implements a deeply individualized set of services for people with more severe psychosis. This support tries to prevent mental crises before they occur.
Medications Used by Schizophrenia Therapy Programs
Therapy is often paired with medications. In the case of schizophrenia treatment, the most common medications are antipsychotics. Two common drugs that treat schizophrenia are aripiprazole and clozapine. The latter drug appears particularly useful in stubborn cases where a person does not respond to other treatment methods. Minor side effects often accompany antipsychotics, such as dry mouth, constipation, and blurred vision.
Most antipsychotics are taken in pill form on a daily basis. However, newer medications can be taken as an injection every few weeks for people who struggle to swallow pills. As mentioned earlier, schizophrenia is not a curable disorder. Nonetheless, the majority of people who receive targeted treatment notice a marked improvement in symptoms and quality of life.