How Is It Treated And Is There A Cure
Schizophrenia isnt curable, but it is often treatable. In a small percentage of cases, people can recover from schizophrenia entirely. However, this isnt a cure because there isnt a way of knowing who will have a relapse of this condition and who wont. Because of that, experts consider those who recover from this condition in remission.
Treating schizophrenia usually involves a combination of medication, therapy and self-management techniques. While therapy alone is often effective for treating most mental health conditions, managing schizophrenia usually requires medication. Early diagnosis and treatment are important because they increase the chances of a better outcome.
Lsd Dosage And Method
LSD was administered to 567 patients in a dose range from 20 to 800 mcg. The oral route was significantly the most used one, while one study used the intravenous route and another one did not describe the route used. A single dose of LSD was the procedure of choice for most selected clinical trials. Other studies opted for a dosage-escalation approach, and some offered the possibility of repeating LSD doses at 23 week intervals.
The concomitant use in some of the studies of other pharmacological principles, such as dextroamphetamine prior to the dose of LSD, or chlorpromazine or promazine after LSD treatment is worth mentioning. Since the therapeutic potential of LSD may be underestimated or masked by such treatments.
Whats The Outlook For An Individual With Schizophrenia
The challenges facing people with schizophrenia are plentiful and often severe. But with proper treatment, some of the more severe symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions, may be made more manageable.
Lifelong treatment is necessary and medication needs may change through the years. Dosages may have to be adjusted and certain medications may need to be changed, added, or subtracted, depending on how the individual responds.
A study in the journal Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatria suggests that about one in seven people with schizophrenia can achieve functional recovery. With no cure in sight, that means the majority of people with schizophrenia will have to deal with symptoms for the rest of their lives.
Schizophrenia should be considered a treatable disease, though the effectiveness of treatment can vary dramatically from one person to the next. Access to proper healthcare is essential, as is commitment to a treatment regimen.
Individuals who are reluctant or unable to take their medications regularly and follow through on other components of their treatment may need a family member or health aide to assist them. The severity of schizophrenia also varies, so expectations of symptom management and quality of life need to be tempered based on the nature of the individuals condition.
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What Are The Risks And Benefits
Like any medical procedure, ECT is has some risks. ECT treatment has been associated with short-term memory loss and difficulty learning. Some people have trouble remembering events that occurred in the weeks before the treatment or earlier. In most cases, memory problems improve within a couple of months. Some patients may experience longer lasting problems, including permanent gaps in memory.
The risks of general anesthesia, which is needed for ECT, are similar to the risks when anesthesia is used for other procedures such as minor surgeries. The most common side effects of ECT on the day of treatment include nausea, headache, fatigue, confusion, and slight memory loss, which may last minutes to hours.
These risks must be balanced with the consequences of ineffectively treated severe psychiatric disorders. For some patients, the risks of ECT may be less than those of ongoing treatment with medications. ECT can work more quickly than medications. It can be especially useful if a patient is suicidal, is not responding to medications or cannot tolerate the side effects of medication.
What Conditions Fall Under The Schizophrenia Spectrum
According to the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition , the disorders in the schizophrenia spectrum are:
- Schizoaffective disorder.
- Catatonia is a syndrome that can include a lack of movement, unusual movements, unusual repetitive behaviors, not speaking and social withdrawal. It can also complicate schizophrenia, as well as other psychiatric and medical conditions.
- Other schizophrenia spectrum disorders . This diagnosis allows healthcare providers to diagnose unusual variations of schizophrenia.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia usually happens in stages, with different symptoms and behaviors depending on the stage.
- Onset . This is an early phase that happens before a person develops more severe symptoms. It can include social withdrawal, anxiety, lack of motivation and neglect of personal hygiene.
- Active. This is when psychotic symptoms take full effect. Another term for this is psychotic break, where a person shows a disconnection from reality. That includes showing at least two of the five main symptoms listed immediately below.
- Residual. People in this stage still have some schizophrenia signs and symptoms, but theyre not as severe. Odd beliefs, lack of motivation, decreased feelings of enjoyment or pleasure, limited speaking and reduced emotional expression tend to be the most noticeable effects. Many people often improve to the point where they seem mostly or fully recovered. However, this is usually temporary, and symptoms of schizophrenia will return as a person goes back into the active stage of the condition.
What are the early signs of schizophrenia?
The early symptoms of schizophrenia, which happen in the onset stage, usually arent severe enough for a schizophrenia diagnosis but are still a cause for concern. This stage sometimes happens quickly, only taking weeks before moving to the next stage.
The most common symptoms or changes in this stage include:
What are the active stage symptoms?
Are there other possible symptoms?
Lack of insight
Treatment Program And Set
There was great heterogeneity among the clinical trials chosen for this review in terms of patient preparation and the general therapeutic program to which LSD treatment was added. Table 2 shows the type of treatment program used in each study, ranging from 24 h to 90 days from the start of treatment to patient discharge. The treatment program between different studies also differed in structure, varying between highly structured intensive programs and the absence of a specific program.
Preparation of the subject for LSD treatment ranged from very brief orientation with the aim of promoting the therapeutic experience. Preparation time , ranged from a few hours to 5 weeks. The only information provided to subjects in some cases was the great variation in the individual response of the drug , or very brief data on the nature of response , with no intention to perform previous therapy. One of these authors points out that the previous preparation of patients to LSD administration was possibly insufficient for achieving therapeutic objectives.
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Safety And Adverse Effects
Most studies describe exclusion criteria for patients to be treated with LSD. Severe organic disease was a common exclusion criteria .
Gasser et al. do not rule out those patients with cardiovascular disease, due to the idiosyncrasy of subjects under study . Two of the studies also excluded those patients with a history of severe affective disorder. Most clinical trials discarded those patients with active psychosis for the study, but some of them did not rule out patients with a history of psychosis in the past. It is noteworthy that in the study of Tomsovic and Edwards , LSD was administered to a subgroup of 12 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia , to which they applied a separate statistical analysis that showed better results for the subgroup of non- schizophrenics who had received a single LSD dose.
Two cases of serious adverse effects were reported. In one of the studies , authors described a tonicclonic seizure, without subsequent complications, in a patient with a previous history of seizures in a context of abstinent clinical symptoms. In another one , a case of prolonged psychosis was reported in a 21-year-old patient with a previous history of recurrent psychotic episodes in the context of hospitalization during adolescence. This patient received psychotherapy and antipsychotic medication, recovering without later complications. No other serious adverse effects were described in the remaining 565 subjects.
What Is The Difference Between Schizophrenia And Psychosis
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.
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Excessive Weight Gain With Antipsychotics
Second-generation medications for the treatment of schizophrenia and other mental disorders have the potential to induce significant weight gain. This side effect is of great concern because the medications are used over long periods of time and the health burden from obesity-related diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic disease is significant. Not everybody is equally at risk. A genome-wide association study in a large number of patients in American and European institutions pointed to variants in the melanocortin 4 receptor gene . Patients with two copies of the rs489693 A allele appear to be most consistently at risk. Three months of treatment with aripiprazole, quetiapine fumarate, or risperidone induced more than twice as much weight gain in patients with the rs489693 A/A genotype than in other patients. This means that drug-induced weight gain could be anticipated and preventive measures taken.
Neha S. Hudepohl, Henry A. Nasrallah, in, 2012
Questions To Ask The Doctor About Antipsychotic Drugs
If the person with dementia can consent to taking an antipsychotic drug, they need to be properly informed about the drug.
If a doctor is making the decision, the person with dementia and their carer should still be involved as much as possible and should be shown their care plan.
The following questions may help with discussions:
- Why is the person being prescribed an antipsychotic? Which specific behaviours or psychological changes is the drug meant to be helping with?
- Have possible medical causes of the changes been investigated and ruled out?
- Are there any non-drug approaches that havent been tried which might help?
- What can I do as a carer to support the person?
- Is there anything else you need to know about the person to work out what may be causing the changes?
- How will we know if the drug is working?
- What are the risks associated with taking this drug?
- What side effects might the drug cause and how can they be managed effectively?
- What is the plan for the person to come off the antipsychotic?
- When will the continued use of this drug be reviewed?
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How Long Does Treatment Take
Treatment for schizophrenia is complex and multi-faceted. How long it takes to help a patient stabilize and maintain minimal symptoms and good overall function depends on individual factors, like commitment to treatment, severity of the illness, and others. Most patients benefit from a long-term stay in a residential facility and from receiving several weeks to months of intensive inpatient care. Even after this treatment, maintenance requires ongoing outpatient care, often for the rest of a persons life.
The most effective treatment for schizophrenia is the combination of strategies that provides each individual with the greatest symptom relief, maximum restored function, and minimal side effects. This almost always includes medications and therapy, but good treatment can also include other treatments, support, and education.
What Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose This Condition
There arent any diagnostic tests for schizophrenia-spectrum conditions. But healthcare providers will likely run tests to rule out other conditions before diagnosing schizophrenia. The most likely types of tests include:
- Imaging tests. Healthcare providers will often use computerized tomography , magnetic resonance imaging and other imaging tests to rule out problems like stroke, brain injuries, tumors and other changes to your brain structure.
- Blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid tests. These tests look for chemical changes in bodily fluids that might explain changes in your behavior. They can rule out heavy metal toxicity or other causes of poisoning, infections and more.
- Brain activity testing. An electroencephalogram detects and records the electrical activity in your brain. This test can help rule out conditions like epilepsy.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
You should see your healthcare provider as recommended. You should also see them if you notice a change in your symptoms, such as symptoms getting worse even if youre taking your medication. You can also see them if side effects of your medication are causing disruptions in your life. Your healthcare provider can sometimes recommend alternative medications or treatments that might better treat your condition without causing those same effects.
When should I go to ER?
You should go to the ER or call 911 if you have thoughts about harming yourself, including thoughts of suicide, or about harming others. If you have thoughts like this, you can call any of the following:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline . To call this line, dial 1.800.273.TALK .
- Local crisis lines. Mental health organizations and centers in your area may offer resources and help through crisis lines.
- 911 : You should call 911 if you feel like youre in immediate danger of harming yourself. Operators and dispatchers for 911 lines can often help people in immediate danger because of a severe mental crisis and send first responders to assist.
The Most Used Psychopharmaceuticals Against Schizophrenia
Although the typical antipsychotics have historically been more used, the truth is that at present, due to the lower number of secondary symptoms and their greater effect on the negative symptomatology, in clinical practice, the most common is to find typical antipsychotics . Despite this, the typical ones continue being used with certain frequency. Below we can see some of the most used drugs against schizophrenia, both atypical and typical.
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How Do I Take Care Of Myself
People with schizophrenia should do the following to help care for themselves and manage their condition:
- Take medications as prescribed. One of the most critical things a person with schizophrenia can do to help themselves is to take their medications. If you have schizophrenia, you should not stop your medication without talking to your healthcare provider. Sudden stopping of medication often speeds up the return of psychosis symptoms. Side effects are common with antipsychotics. However, there are many antipsychotic medications, so its often possible to work with your healthcare provider to find one that both works well for you and has minimal or no side effects.
- See your healthcare provider as recommended. Your healthcare provider will set up a schedule for you to see them. These visits are especially important to help with managing your condition.
- Dont ignore or avoid symptoms. Schizophrenia is more likely to respond and have a good outcome with early diagnosis and treatment.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drug use. Alcohol and drug use can make schizophrenia symptoms worse and can lead to other issues. This includes using prescription medications in a way other than prescribed.
- Consider seeking support. Organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness can offer resources and information that can help.
The Most Common Typical Neuroleptics
Even though at present they are much less used than atypical ones because they they usually generate more and more powerful side effects , it is common to find that some classic neuroleptics continue to be used in drug-resistant cases in which atypical drugs do not work or under certain conditions. In this sense, although there are many more, two stand out as the best known and most frequent.
The best known of all antipsychotics, has been the most used until the birth of atypical neuroleptics and in fact continues to be used as a treatment for schizophrenia. Its injected use is frequent to treat acute crises and stabilize the patient , even if you later switch to another type of medication.
In addition to schizophrenia, it is used in other psychotic disorders , or other disorders that generate psychomotor agitation: disorders by tics and Tourette syndrome, manic episodes or delirium tremens among others. Occasionally it has been used as an analgesic and antiemetic.
- Related article: “Haloperidol : uses, effects and risks”
Another of the most common and known antipsychotics, is in fact the first antipsychotic that was found . Effects and indications similar to haloperidol. Occasionally it has also been used for the treatment of tetanus and porphyria, or as a last option in the case of OCD.
- You may be interested: “Chlorpromazine: effects and uses of this psychoactive drug”
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What Does Schizophrenia Recovery Mean
Coping with schizophrenia is a lifelong process. Recovery doesnt mean you wont experience any more challenges from the illness or that youll always be symptom-free. What it does mean is that you are learning to manage your symptoms, developing the support you need, and creating a satisfying, purpose-driven life.
A treatment plan that combines medication with schizophrenia self-help, supportive services, and therapy is the most effective approach.
Encouraging facts about schizophrenia
- Schizophrenia is treatable. Currently, there is no cure for schizophrenia, but the illness can be successfully treated and managed. The key is to have a strong support system in place and get the right treatment and self-help for your needs.
- You can enjoy a fulfilling, meaningful life. With the right treatment, most people with schizophrenia are able to have satisfying relationships, work or pursue other meaningful activities, be part of their community, and enjoy life.
- Just because you have schizophrenia doesnt mean youll have to be hospitalized. If youre getting the right treatment and sticking to it, you are much less likely to experience a crisis situation that requires hospitalization.
- Most people with schizophrenia improve. Many people with schizophrenia regain normal functioning and even become symptom-free. No matter what challenges you presently face, there is always hope.