Medication for the treatment of schizophrenia is called antipsychotic medication. The available medications can be broadly split into two groups depending on their route of administration: oral (daily) and long-acting intramuscular (injectable) antipsychotics.
Types of treatment
- Convenient, self-administered daily dosing schedule
- Provides a feeling of independence and control
- Available as tablets, liquid or quick dissolving/soluble tablets*
- The medication can be stopped quickly, most of the time, if your healthcare professional believes it is necessary e.g if you are having troublesome side-effects
- You will need to remember to take your medication everyday
- If you forgot to take your medication, you are more likely to relapse than if you adhere to it
- You don't need to remember to take medication every day, which improves adherence to medication
- Ensures regular meetings with your health care professional
- Long-acting, usually lasting for one month or longer
- Provides stable levels of the medication in your blood, which may mean you are less likely to relapse than if you take oral medication (particularly if you do not take your oral medication regularly, as prescribed)
- You will need to see your healthcare professional to receive your medication
- An intramuscular injection is required to administer your medication.
- Administration may be associated with pain
- If you experience troublesome side-effects or the healthcare professional believes it is necessary to stop medication, it will take more time to eliminate the medication than if you were taking oral medication
* Depends on the medication prescribed. Please ask a healthcare professional for more information.
Real Life Insights
Working with your doctor to choose the right treatment is an important step on the road to recovery, find out how the right treatment choice made a big difference to the lives of these people living with schizophrenia, and their friends and family.
Click here to watch more videos on the impact schizophrenia can have on friends and family.
Psychological and Psychological Therapy
In addition to medication, you may be offered psychological and psychosocial interventions.4 These therapies can further help to relieve your symptoms and allow you to get back to normal life.21
There are 5 main approaches to psychosocial intervention:21
Cognitive Therapy 10,21
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helps you to think about how you see yourself, other people and the world around you. It also looks at how actions can affect your thoughts and feelings. CBT can help to change how you think (‘cognitive’) and what you do (‘behaviour’), helping you to feel and cope better.
Psychotherapy is the verbal treatment of emotional and mental disorders. Sharing experiences with a trained and empathetic person, by talking about your experiences with someone who has been specially trained, may help you to gradually understand more about yourself and discover ways to manage your condition.
Family Education 10,21
People with schizophrenia can often be discharged from hospital into the care of their family. If this happens to you, it is important that your family or carers learn all they can about schizophrenia to understand the difficulties and problems that can be associated with the condition. It is also helpful for family members to learn ways to minimise your chance of relapse, for example, family intervention can help your whole family develop patterns of behaviour which will help them to understand you and support you better.
Social Skills Training 21
Sometimes, people living with schizophrenia can struggle with social situations, which can lead to a stressful environment. Social skill training looks at helping you to recognise, understand and react to different social situations. This in turn helps with communication and lets you re-integrate into your community.
Assertive Community Treatment 10,21
People living with schizophrenia who struggle to engage with other people may find assertive community treatment (ACT) beneficial. It involves a high level of exposure to different people in different situations, including at home and in a supervised care environment.
Some of these approaches may be more suitable for certain people than others, and not all people living with schizophrenia find these options helpful. It is important to gain advice about the best approach for you and how it will work alongside the other treatments you are receiving.
A treatment should help you achieve goals that you feel are important.