Schizophrenia is a chronic illness that will likely require lifelong treatment. Even when symptoms have subsided, it is likely treatment will continue in some capacity. With long term treatment, people with schizophrenia can lead prosperous lives.
It’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. You know when your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions are diverting from your normal. Don’t ignore those signs, especially if they’re affecting your daily function, career, academic performance, relationships, or social engagements and responsibilities.
Treatments for schizophrenia involve several approaches, typically with a combination of medication and therapy.
How is Therapy Used to Treat Schizophrenia?
Drug therapy is often coupled with psychotherapy or counseling. Individual therapy sessions help our behavioral health specialists learn a patient’s life history, including incidents of trauma or family history of illness. In addition, therapists may work to re-acquaint individuals with reality, identifying tools and strategies to cope with hallucinations or delusions.
Which Medications are Prescribed to Treat Schizophrenia?
In many cases, a psychiatrist will prescribe medications to treat schizophrenia. Anti-psychotic medications are the mostly commonly prescribed medications. They’re thought to control symptoms by affecting the brain chemical dopamine. The goal is to effectively manage a person’s signs and symptoms. Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications may also be prescribed.
Medications for schizophrenia can cause serious side effects. Be sure to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor.
Finding the Right Medication
Your doctor may try different drugs, doses, or combinations of drugs over time to find the best medication for your individual needs. It’s important to remember it can take several weeks for medications to reach their full effect or before a person notices an improve in their symptoms.
Each patient responds differently to medication it takes time for your body to adjust to the medication and for side effects to ease. Some patients may need to try a few medications or combinations of medications before finding the one that works best. Be sure to consult with your doctor to find the best solution to manage your symptoms.
What are the Risks of Abruptly Stopping Medication?
If your doctor has prescribed an anti-psychotic, it’s crucial you don’t stop taking the medication without first talking to your physician. Abruptly stopping your medication could suddenly worse your symptoms or other side effects, or cause withdrawal-like symptoms.
If you feel like your medication is doing more harm than good or if you’re experiencing negative side effects, talk to your doctor. Your physician will work with you to safely change your medication or dosage.
Other Treatment Programs
Depending on a person’s symptoms, an inpatient stay or participation in a partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient program may be recommended as part recommended as part of a comprehensive treatment program. These services offer more in depth, structured, and intensive treatment than an outpatient setting.
People with schizophrenia may also need access to additional social services or resources. For some people, rehabilitation and mentorship may be helpful. Access to career training and opportunities may help an individual readjust to the community. For others, resources providing housing, food, and medication assistance will be vital to a treatment plan. In addition, family therapy and education can be crucial to a person’s treatment and recovery, especially with young patients.
If you’re unable to care for yourself, or if you’re in immediate danger of harming yourself or others, an inpatient treatment facility may be recommended. Inpatient services at MedStar Harbor Hospital include recreational therapy, group therapy, crisis intervention, and medication management.
Learn more about Inpatient Care at MedStar Harbor Hospital.
Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs
The Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient programs at MedStar Harbor provide treatment to patients who require more care than the typical outpatient setting, while avoiding an inpatient stay. These programs provide group therapy, education, and medication management to help patients get their symptoms under control.
Request an Appointment
To schedule an appointment with a behavioral health specialist or for more information, please call
MedStar Harbor Hospital
3001 South Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225