Psychosocial Treatments

Once patients become stabilized on antipsychotic medication, psychosocial treatments can provide further assistance. Psychosocial treatments can assist patients in managing the daily challenges of schizophrenia: communication, self-care, work, forming and keeping relationships, and participating in school and employment. Patients receiving regular psychosocial treatment are more likely to adhere to medication regimens and are less likely to experience relapses or be hospitalized. Psychosocial treatments may include one more of the following modalities:

  • Integrated treatment for concurrent substance abuse. Substance abuse is the most common concurrent disorder in schizophrenia patients, but most substance abuse treatment programs do not address this population’s particular needs. When schizophrenia treatment programs and drug treatment programs are used together, patients get better results.
  • Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation emphasizes social and vocational training to help patients function better in their communities. Because schizophrenia typically develops during the career-forming years (ages 18 to 35) and makes normal thinking and functioning difficult, most patients do not receive appropriate training in job skills.
  • Family education. Family members can learn coping strategies and problem-solving skills to aid patients in adhering with their treatment regimens.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. Through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), patients can learn how to test the reality of their thoughts and perceptions, to not listen to their voices, and to manage their symptoms overall, thereby reducing the severity of symptoms and the risk of relapse.
  • Self-help groups. Self-help groups assist patients in learning that others are facing the same problems and thereby feel less isolated.

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