In a life that already feels out of control, it can be overwhelming to enter treatment in a new place, with new people and so many unknowns. Your fears are valid, but they shouldn’t stop you from getting the help you deserve.
While the initial phase of starting treatment can surely cause trepidation, participating in treatment for schizophrenia has been shown to decrease the frequency of episodes and reduce negative symptoms so you can live a fuller life.
In this article we’ll look at schizophrenia treatment options and what to expect when you start services.
An overview of schizophrenia treatment
Diagnosis: the first step in treating schizophrenia is ensuring an accurate diagnosis. Schizophrenia and its symptoms are often confused for other mental illnesses, like depression or bipolar disorder (substance use must also be ruled out). In order to make a proper diagnosis, psychiatric evaluations, physical exams, MRI or CT scans and health history reviews may be conducted.
Inpatient services: sometimes a person who is experiencing a schizophrenic episode may need inpatient care. Residential programs can offer stability when the illness is too difficult to manage independently. Inpatient care can prevent the need for emergency hospitalization, although in crisis situations hospitalization may be necessary to ensure safety.
Psychotherapy: one-on-one talk therapy will be a large portion of your treatment for schizophrenia. In therapy, you’ll discuss symptoms, life changes, personal stressors, questions you may have, mental health and personal goals, coping and warning signs of relapse.
Medications: having the right schizophrenia medication is essential to proper treatment. Working with a psychiatrist can ensure you’re getting the right meds in the right doses while accounting for negative side effects.
Case management: the support of case management can make all the difference in managing daily life for a person with schizophrenia. Case management services can help with housing, finances and other life skills so individuals can exercise more independence in their lives.
Adjunct services: other therapies and services will also be available, like family services, vocational training, assistance with transportation the like.
There are numerous treatment options for schizophrenia, but a combination of the above will produce the best results. Generally, the professionals supporting treatment will work as a team to coordinate services.
The first day of treatment
Living with schizophrenia is an isolating experience. It can be difficult for people to learn about your illness, as it’s generally followed by judgments and unkind assumptions. When you’re thinking about starting treatment for schizophrenia, the same fears may loom over you and affect your decision to attend.
Rest easy, though, because when you begin treatment for schizophrenia, you’ll be working with compassionate professionals who understand your condition. Those who specialize in treatment for schizophrenia are extremely knowledgeable on symptoms and manifestations of the illness, and won’t be surprised to learn about your struggles.
As far as the first day’s schedule goes, treatment for schizophrenia will include a comprehensive assessment to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Whether you’re at an inpatient or outpatient facility you’ll receive an overview of what you can expect in treatment and learn about protocols for receiving services.
When you have your first one-on-one with a therapist or counselor you can expect to receive a brief introduction regarding your provider’s credentials and areas of expertise. You’ll also review your own health history, family structure, life stressors and symptoms of your condition. Ending your first session you may brainstorm or identify goals so that you can measure and celebrate progress.
As treatment progresses
While the first day of services may feel extremely surface-level, it sets the foundation for a greater understanding as treatment continues. Over time, medications will take effect and proper dosages can be smoothed out. As symptoms of schizophrenia decrease, you can expect to have made gains in therapy, too.
The first win of the therapeutic process is a strong relationship of trust between the provider and the client. After that, you can expect to address symptoms, starting with the most problematic. For schizophrenia treatment, this is generally learning to separate hallucinations from reality. This step may take time, but progress is assured when you’re committed to treatment.
As treatment progresses your outlook will start to change. You’ll be able to envision a future filled with joy and purpose, which will motivate you to make even greater strides in treatment. Living with schizophrenia is something anyone can learn to manage with the right support in place.
Sadly, there is no definitive cure for schizophrenia, and that can be a hard pill to swallow. There is hope for individuals struggling with schizophrenia, though. According to the Journal of Psychiatric Practice, proper coordination of treatment can enable people to lead meaningful lives with maximum independence and research on the treatment of schizophrenia is ever-evolving.
If you or a loved one has been impacted by schizophrenia, finding hope and healing is possible. Tapestry offers services for individuals facing mental illness, eating disorders or trauma as they seek a free and full life. Call 828-490-4032 so life-long treatment can start today.