The outlook for people with schizophrenia has improved over the last 30 years or so. Although there still is no cure, effective treatments have been developed, and many people with schizophrenia improve enough to lead independent, satisfying lives.
This is an exciting time for schizophrenia research. The explosion of knowledge in genetics, neuroscience, and behavioral research will enable a better understanding of the causes of the disorder, how to prevent it, and how to develop better treatments to allow those with schizophrenia to achieve their full potential.
There is no test that can make a schizophrenia diagnosis. People with schizophrenia usually come to the attention of a mental health professional after others see them acting strangely.
Doctors make a diagnosis through interviews with the patient, as well as with friends and family members.
Psychiatrists have the most experience with diagnosing schizophrenia. A psychiatrist or other licensed mental health professional should be involved in making a schizophrenia diagnosis whenever possible.
How can a person participate in schizophrenia research?
Scientists worldwide are studying schizophrenia so they will be able to develop new ways to prevent and treat the disorder. The only way it can be understood is for researchers to study the illness as it presents itself in those who suffer from it. There are many different kinds of studies. Some studies require that medication be changed; others, like genetic studies, require no change at all in medications.
To receive information about federally and privately supported schizophrenia research, go to ClinicalTrials.gov. The information provided should be used in conjunction with advice from your health care professional.
NIMH conducts a Schizophrenia Research Program, which is located at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Travel assistance and study compensation are available for some studies. A list of outpatient and inpatient studies conducted at NIMH can be found at http://patientinfo.nimh.nih.gov. In addition, NIMH staff members can speak with you to help you determine whether their current studies are suitable for you or your family member. Simply call the toll free line at 1-888-674-6464. You can also indicate your interest in research participation by sending an email to Schizophrenia@intra.nimh.nih.gov. All calls remain confidential.
WebMD Public Information from the U.S. National Institutes of Health