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Is There A Medication For Schizophrenia

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What Is The Difference Between Schizophrenia And Psychosis

Treating Schizophrenia with Antipsychotic Medication (1 of 4)

Schizophrenia and psychosis are two strongly connected terms, but they also have significant differences.

  • Psychosis: This is a grouping of symptoms that involve a disconnection from reality and the world around you . Psychosis can happen with other medical conditions and mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder.
  • Schizophrenia: This is a spectrum of conditions that involve psychotic symptoms.

Medications To Treat Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a complicated, chronic neuropsychiatric disorder that affects how you feel, think, and behave. Less than 1% of people in the United States have schizophrenia, and its exact cause isnt known. While there isnt a cure for schizophrenia, understanding as much as possible about it can help with both treatment and learning to manage the disorder.

Schizophrenia treatment can greatly improve most, if not all, symptoms. Effective treatment also reduces the likelihood of a recurrence of negative symptoms.

Schizophrenia medications like antipsychotics and other meds when combined with psychological treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy and other psychotherapy techniques work together to significantly reduce symptoms.

Keep reading to learn more about meds for schizophrenia. Were discussing everything you need to know, including how they work, what side effects may occur, and how to get medication to treat schizophrenia.

What Can I Expect If I Have This Condition

Schizophrenia is a condition where the outlook varies greatly from person to person. People who have schizophrenia tend to struggle with work, relationships and self care. However, with treatment, some are able to work, care for themselves and have fulfilling relationships.

This condition also often affects people in cycles. That means many people with this condition go through periods where the condition flares up and their symptoms get much worse, followed by a period where symptoms improve but they still have some ongoing struggles.

Despite how serious this condition is, treatment does make it possible for people with schizophrenia to live with the condition and minimize how it affects their lives.

How long does schizophrenia last?

Schizophrenia is a lifelong condition. While some people will recover from this condition after having only one or two episodes, schizophrenia symptoms can return unpredictably. People with a history of schizophrenia are in remission as long as symptoms dont return.

Whats the outlook for this condition?

Schizophrenia itself isnt a deadly condition. However, its effects on a person can lead to dangerous or harmful behaviors, to both themselves and the people around them.

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Antipsychotics: Medications That Tame Psychosis

The medications doctors prescribe most often for schizophrenia are called antipsychotics. They ease symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations.

These drugs work on chemicals in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin. You can get them during an episode to help relieve psychosis quickly, and also take them long term to prevent symptoms.

You’ll most likely have to take schizophrenia medication your entire life, even if your symptoms get better. You can take antipsychotics as a liquid, a pill, or as an injection.

If you think you might have trouble remembering to take medicine every day, you can try a shot you get from your doctor once or twice a month called a long-acting injectable antipsychotic medication . It works just as well as taking a daily pill.

Doctors will choose which medication is best by looking at the following:

  • How well it works on your symptoms
  • How much it will cost
  • How easily you can get it
  • How often you have to take it

Your doctor may adjust your dosage over time and might change the medication you take, depending on how you respond. In some cases, your doctor will prescribe more than one kind of antipsychotic drug.

Antipsychotics work best on “positive” symptoms like hallucinations and delusions. They may be less effective on “negative” symptoms like withdrawal and lack of emotion.

What Is The Difference Between Schizophrenia And Multiple Personalities

How Todays Treatments For Schizophrenia Have Improved Outcomes

While the name schizophrenia does come from the Greek words for split and mind, none of the conditions under schizophrenia involve multiple personalities. Instead, multiple personalities fall under a condition known as dissociative identity disorder . That condition falls under the category of dissociative disorders.

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Community Mental Health Teams

Most people with schizophrenia are treated by community mental health teams.

The team provides day-to-day support and treatment. They will also try to ensure you have as much independence as possible.

The team can have:

  • community mental health nurses who have specialist training in mental health conditions
  • occupational therapists
  • psychologists and psychiatrists

Side Effects Of Antipsychotics

While the first-generation, older meds usually cost less, they can have different side effects than the newer antipsychotics. Some can cause higher levels of the hormone prolactin. This can affect sex drive, mood, menstrual cycles, and growth of breast tissue in both men and women.

One of the common side effects of many of the newer antipsychotics is weight gain. You may also have trouble keeping your blood sugar and cholesterol levels under control.

One of the more serious side effects from long-term use of both the older and newer medications is a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia. It makes your facial, tongue, and neck muscles move uncontrollably and can be permanent.

While both older and newer antipsychotics can cause tardive dyskinesia, researchers believe that the odds are higher with the older antipsychotics.

Antipsychotics come with other side effects as well. You could have any of the following:

Be sure you see your doctor regularly while taking antipsychotic medication. And talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about side effects.

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What Medications Or Treatments Are Used

Treating schizophrenia and related conditions typically involves multiple methods. Those methods can happen in combinations or steps.


There are two main types of medications that treat schizophrenia.

  • Typical antipsychotics. Also known as first-generation antipsychotics, these medications block how your brain uses dopamine, a chemical your brain uses for cell-to-cell communication.
  • Atypical antipsychotics. These medications, also called second-generation antipsychotics, work differently from first-generation antipsychotics. These block both dopamine and serotonin, two key communication chemicals in your brain. Clozapine is a particularly effective medication that can treat symptoms of schizophrenia when other drugs dont work. However, it has a rare serious side effect that requires frequent blood monitoring to keep people safe, which is why healthcare providers usually recommend other antipsychotics first.

There are other medications your healthcare provider might also prescribe to treat other symptoms that happen alongside or because of your schizophrenia symptoms. They might also prescribe medications to help reduce side effects of antipsychotic medications such as tremors.

In general, your healthcare provider is the best person to talk to about the medications they might prescribe. They can give you more specific information related to your specific situation, including your life circumstances, medical history and personal preferences.


Talking With Your Doctor

Medications for Schizophrenia | Schizophrenia

If you have schizophrenia, youll likely talk with a doctor regularly. During this time, you can discuss the best medication options for your treatment plan. Other aspects of treatment may include psychotherapy and support groups.

You may want to discuss the option of LAIs with your doctor, whether you want to avoid taking daily oral medications, have difficulty adhering to oral medications, or continue to experience symptoms.

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What If I Want To Stop Taking Antipsychotics

If you want to stop taking antipsychotics, you should discuss this with your doctor.

Your doctor should discuss the negatives and benefits of stopping antipsychotics. You can ask them about these things. Its important to think about the negatives and benefits of stopping antipsychotics.

If you decide to come off antipsychotics your doctor will help you come off the medication gradually by reducing the dose over a period of time.

If you stop antipsychotics suddenly it can cause ‘rebound psychosis’. This means that the symptoms of your illness return suddenly, and you may become unwell again. This is also known as relapse.

If you or your family or friends think you are becoming unwell again, you should speak to your doctor.

You may find that stopping your medication can lead to your symptoms returning within 3-6 months. Your doctor may suggest that you keep taking the medication because it is keeping you well. If this is the case, you could ask about trying another type of medication.

If you want to stop taking antipsychotics, it is important to consider what happened during previous episodes of illness. The risk of the same symptoms occurring again needs to be weighed up against not having the side effects of the medication and any other things important to you. Your doctor can talk these things through with you to help you come to the best decision.

Can I experience withdrawal symptoms from stopping antipsychotics?

Do I have to take antipsychotics?

How Does This Condition Affect My Body

Schizophrenia is a condition that has severe effects on a persons physical and mental well-being. This is because it disrupts how your brain works, interfering with your thinking ability, memory, how your senses work and more.

Because your brain isnt working correctly, having schizophrenia often causes you to struggle in many parts of your day-to-day life. Schizophrenia often disrupts your relationships . It can also cause you to have trouble organizing your thoughts, and you might behave in ways that put you at risk for injuries or other illnesses.

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Antipsychotic Drugs And Possible Side Effects

Older and newer antipsychotic drugs can cause side effects, including the following:

  • Uncontrollable movements, such as tics, tremors, or muscle spasms
  • Weight gain and other metabolic effects like development of diabetes and high cholesterol

Different antipsychotics have different possible side effects it is important to speak with your doctor about the potential side effects from your particular medication.

Antipsychotics can also cause interactions with certain medications and supplements.

Discuss all other medications or supplements that you take with your doctor before starting on an antipsychotic.

This includes over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and illegal and recreational drugs, including , which has been shown to worsen psychotic symptoms in those with and susceptible to schizophrenia.

How Do Antipsychotics Work

Top Medications for Catatonic Schizophrenia

Antipsychotic drugs don’t cure psychosis but they can help to reduce and control many psychotic symptoms, including:

Antipsychotics might not get rid of these symptoms completely. They may just stop you feeling so bothered by them. This is to help you feel more stable, so you can lead your life the way you want to. Taking antipsychotics can also reduce the risk of these symptoms returning in future .

You may find that some types of antipsychotic work better than others for your symptoms. Or you may find that antipsychotics arent right for you. See our page on how antipsychotics can help to find out more.

“They make me feel calm, help me sleep, stop racing thoughts and help blunt hallucinations. Meds don’t make life perfect they just help me cope with the imperfections and struggles I face.”

What’s the science behind antipsychotics?

There are several possible explanations why antipsychotic drugs may help to reduce psychotic symptoms:

Antipsychotics may help to relieve psychotic symptoms by causing changes to your brain chemistry. But the causes of psychosis can be very complex, and may be affected by your life experiences and your environment as much as the chemicals in your brain.

This is why you are likely to be offered talking therapy as a treatment for your psychosis, alongside medication. This is to help you with the causes of your psychosis, while the medication helps you deal with the symptoms.

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Are You In A Crisis Or Considering Suicide

If youre having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can access free support right away with these resources:

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call the Lifeline at 800-273-8255, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • The Crisis Text Line. Text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
  • The Trevor Project. LGBTQIA+ and under 25 years old? Call 866-488-7386, text START to 678678, or chat online 24-7.
  • Veterans Crisis Line. Call 800-273-8255, text 838255, or chat online 24-7.
  • Befrienders Worldwide. This international crisis helpline network can help you find a local helpline.

What Is Coordinated Specialty Care For Schizophrenia

A 2016 study found that early intervention after the onset of a first episode of psychosis with a coordinated, team-based approach and low doses of antipsychotic medication resulted in more effective treatment for people with schizophrenia.

This team approach is known as coordinated specialty care.

A coordinated specialty care team may include clinicians, therapists, and case workers with experience in the following areas:

  • Work or education support

Other therapies for schizophrenia may include these options:

Cognitive behavioral therapy Youll meet with a therapist to work on your thinking and behavior.

The therapist may teach you how to test the reality of your thoughts or perceptions, and help you develop ways to ignore the voices in your head.

Peer support groups These are safe places where you can meet people who are going through the same things as you. Professional therapists are usually not involved.

Family therapy This involves seeing a therapist along with members of your family.

Its important that your family knows as much about your schizophrenia as possible. Therapists can help your family develop coping strategies and problem-solving skills.

Rehabilitation These programs can include job counseling, money management, and communications training.

Rehabilitation emphasizes skills that can help people with schizophrenia function better in their communities.

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How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed

Schizophrenia is often diagnosed in a persons late teens through early 30s. Males tend to show signs of the disease a little earlier than females. Someone with schizophrenia may show some early signs of schizophrenia, such as cognitive troubles or difficulties with social interactions, years before a diagnosis is made.

While the symptoms of schizophrenia can sometimes be quite obvious and life-changing, diagnosing schizophrenia can often be difficult. The use of certain mind-altering drugs, such as LSD, can produce schizophrenia-like symptoms, for example.

Even more challenging is that many people with schizophrenia dont believe they have it or any other mental disorder. This not only means many people never get diagnosed in the first place, but that those who do begin treatment often stop taking medications or attending therapy because they insist they dont need it.

Diagnosing schizophrenia relies largely on the observation of symptoms over a period of months, while eliminating other potential causes of such symptoms such as a brain tumor, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, or other separate mental disorder.

To be formally diagnosed with schizophrenia, a person must have at least two of the following symptoms, and they must persist regularly:

  • disorganized or catatonic behavior
  • negative symptoms

Schizophrenia is sometimes divided into phases characterized by the presence and intensity of certain symptoms. The phases include:

How Common Is This Condition

Antipsychotic Medications

Here are some statistics about how common schizophrenia is worldwide:

  • New cases: There are about 2.77 million new schizophrenia diagnoses every year worldwide.
  • Average number of worldwide cases: There are about 22.1 million cases globally at any time .
  • Odds of developing it at some point in your lifetime: About 0.85% of the global population will experience schizophrenia at some point in their life.

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  • There are two generations of antipsychotics. The older first generation and newer second generation.
  • Antipsychotics affect people differently. If you take antipsychotics then you may get side effects.
  • It can take some time to find the right medication.
  • If you are taking an antipsychotic which you feel is not working, or if the side effects are difficult to live with, then you should discuss this with your GP or psychiatrist.
  • You should not stop taking antipsychotics suddenly.
  • Your antipsychotics can interact with other medications. It is important that your doctor is aware of all the medicine you are taking. Including any homeopathic medication.

How Does Medication Work For Schizophrenia

Medication is said to work by altering the neurochemistry of the brain, especially neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.

Studies have shown the effectiveness of antipsychotic medication in reducing the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations, delusions, and suspiciousness.

With the exception of clozapine, careful systematic reviews and meta-analyses have not found convincing evidence that any of antipsychotics are more effective than others for positive symptoms in acute schizophrenia. Clozapine is more effective for patients who do not respond fully to other antipsychotics, but due to increased risk of agranulocytosis is reserved for those who do not respond well to or cannot tolerate other antipsychotics .

The negative symptoms of schizophrenia such as diminished emotional expression and lack of motivation, have proven to be difficult symptoms to treat and studies have shown no significant effects of medication, however, cariprazine has shown positive effects in a randomized trial.

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New Drug For Schizophrenia Could Meet Desperate Need For Better Treatments

The field of treating schizophrenia with drugs has been stuck in a long drought but, this month, a late-stage clinical trial found a new drug called KarXT could treat a range of symptoms.

Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental health condition that affects around 24 million people worldwide. Patients experience hallucinations and delusions when they develop schizophrenia, with experts referring to these new thoughts and behaviors as positive symptoms. They also suffer from negative symptoms in which they lose important functions, suffering from dulled emotions, lack of purpose and social withdrawal.

Currently available drugs can control only a portion of these symptoms but, on August 8th, Karuna Therapeutics announced its completion of a phase 3 clinical trial that found a new drug called KarXT could treat both positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. It could mean substantial progress against a problem that has stymied scientists for decades.

A long-standing problem

The recent clinical trial heralds a new treatment approach. We believe it marks an important advancement for patients given its new and completely different mechanism of action from current therapies, says Andrew Miller, COO of Karuna.

Scientists have been looking to develop alternatives. However, the field of drug treatment of schizophrenia is currently in the doldrums, says Peter McKenna, a senior researcher at FIDMAG Research Foundation in Spain which specialises in mental health.

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