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Treatment options

Schizophrenia is a chronic condition that usually requires long-term treatment with antipsychotic medication.4,10 There are many different medications available to help control your symptoms and reduce the chance of a relapse, each with different advantages and drawbacks. Your healthcare team should provide information about, and discuss, the important aspects of each treatment with you and your family, enabling you to make your treatment decisions together with your healthcare team. It is important that you have open and honest conversations with your healthcare team so that you can fully understand your schizophrenia, and they can understand the best way to help treat it.

Benefits of early treatment

The earlier you receive treatment, the greater the chance that you will respond and be able to return to your previous level of activity at work and with friends. For this reason, it is important to seek medical guidance as early as possible.10,14,15

Although medication is very important in managing schizophrenia, psychotherapy and psychosocial interventions may also be appropriate as supporting treatments. Examples of the types of treatment that may be discussed are:

Medication

  • Daily oral antipsychotics*
  • Long-acting injectable antipsychotics, which can be administered bi-weekly, once a month or once every 3 months
  • Medication to address possible side effects of antipsychotics
  • Other medications to help manage your condition

Psychotherapy

  • Rehabilitation
  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Family education

Benefits of continuing medication

As with any long-term condition, it is extremely important that you take your medication exactly as recommended by your healthcare team.4 Antipsychotic drugs may reduce the risk of relapse and hospitalisation for people who have achieved symptom control,19 but if your symptoms reappear, a temporary increase in dose may be necessary to prevent a full relapse.10

An important reason why people relapse is because they aren’t taking their medication as it has been prescribed (known as partial or non-adherence). Relapse rates are far higher when people are non-adherent with their medication, so you should try your very best to take your medication exactly as it has been prescribed.** 20

Your treatment plan should consider relapse prevention, which should help you stick to your agreed treatment, and provide you with support to ensure you attend your clinic appointments.4,10

* Some daily oral antipsychotics are available in an extended-release form.
 
** All treatment options mentioned within this website must only be used in accordance with the prescription and advice of a healthcare professional. Any treatment that you receive will be prescribed according to your diagnosis and other personal criteria, such as your age, and must be taken as recommended by your healthcare professional.

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