New Approach to Schizophrenia Treatment Focuses Less on Medicine

New Approach to Schizophrenia Treatment Focuses Less on Medicine

Research has revealed schizophrenia may be treated effectively with talk therapy and family support while keeping medication to a minimum. This is incredible news for those who face debilitating side effects from antipsychotics. A government-funded study is based partly on long-standing programs in Australia, Scandinavia and other countries where the lives of those with schizophrenia have been improved by a combination treatment.

The combination tested in the study involved three elements. First, clinics assessed symptoms to determine what employment or classes at school were most appropriate for each individual. Second, clinics educated family members about schizophrenia so they could better help their loved ones. Third, one-on-one talk therapy was used to teach study participants to manage symptoms even with less medication and to develop healthy social relationships.

Read more about the approach in the New York Times:

New Approach Advised to Treat Schizophrenia
By Benedict Carey

More than two million people in the United States have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and the treatment for most of them mainly involves strong doses of antipsychotic drugs that blunt hallucinations and delusions but can come with unbearable side effects, like severe weight gain or debilitating tremors.

Now, results of a landmark government-funded study call that approach into question. The findings, from by far the most rigorous trial to date conducted in the United States, concluded that schizophrenia patients who received a program intended to keep dosages of antipsychotic medication as low as possible and emphasize one-on-one talk therapy and family support made greater strides in recovery over the first two years of treatment than patients who got the usual drug-focused care. Continue