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
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