Although schizophrenia is not yet a “curable” illness, it is TREATABLE. The proper treatment includes the following four stepping stones to recovery:
- Medication to lessen symptoms and prevent relapse.
- Psychosocial rehabilitation to help men and women reintegrate into the community and regain social, educational and occupational
- Psychoeducation for individuals and families to help solve problems, deal with stress and cope with the illness and its complications.
- Empowerment and Recovery training to deal with loss of sense of self and to deal with the various traumas associated with schizophrenia.
There are two categories of medications:
i) Typicals – These are the older or “standard” antipsychotics introduced in the 1950’s include: Chlorpromazine (Largactil), Flupenthixol (Fluanxol), Fluphenazine (Modecate), Zuclopenthixol (Clopixol), Loxapine (Loxapac), Haloperidol (Haldol), Pimozide (Orap), Thioridazine (Mellaril), Trifluoperazine (Stelazine), Methotrimeprazine (Nozinan).
ii) Atypicals – These newer antipsychotics began to be introduced in the 1990’s. The
following atypicals were available by the end of 1990’s: Risperidone (Risperdal), Olanzapine (Zyprexa), Clozapine (Clozaril), and Quetiapine (Seroquel).
The atypical antipsychotic medications have less severe (though still unpleasant) side effects, and work on negative as well as the positive symptoms. Often, with the older drugs, the person had to take a second drug to control the side effects such as muscle rigidity, tremors, and involuntary movements. Side effects from the newer medications may be nasal congestion, obsessive compulsive symptoms, and impaired glucose tolerance. Side effects can cause the ill person to be reluctant to continue with the medication. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for complete information on all medications.