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Schizophrenia Health Center

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Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders

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How Are Psychotic Disorders Treated?

Most psychotic disorders are treated with a combination of medications and psychotherapy (a type of counseling).

Medication: The main medications used to treat psychotic disorders are called antipsychotics. These medicines do not cure the illnesses but are very effective in managing the most troubling symptoms of psychotic disorders, such as delusions, hallucinations, and thinking problems. Antipsychotics include medications such as Haldol, Thorazine, Loxapine, and Mellaril and other medications (often called atypical antipsychotics) such as Abilify, Clozaril, Geodon, Invega, Latuda, Risperdal, Saphris, Seroquel, and Zyprexa. 

The atypical psychotics are often considered first-line treatments because they have fewer and more tolerable side effects. Some of the medications are available by injection and only need to be taken once or twice a month.  For patients this can be  easier to keep up with compared to a daily pill.

Psychotherapy: Various types of psychotherapy, including individual, group, and family therapy, may be used to help support the person with a psychotic disorder.

Most patients with psychotic disorders are treated as outpatients. However, people with particularly severe symptoms, those in danger of hurting themselves or others, or those unable to care for themselves because of their illness, may require hospitalization to stabilize their condition.

How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Psychotic Disorder?

Each person being treated for a psychotic disorder may respond to therapy differently. Some will show improvement quickly. For others, it may take weeks or months to get symptom relief.

Some people may need to continue treatment for an extended period of time, and some, such as those who have suffered several severe episodes, may need to take medication indefinitely. In these cases, the medication usually is given in as low a dose as possible to control side effects.

What Is the Outlook for People With Psychotic Disorders?

The outlook varies depending on the type of psychotic disorder and the individual. However, these disorders are treatable and most people will have a good recovery with treatment and close follow-up care.

Can Psychotic Disorders Be Prevented?

In general, there is no known way to prevent most psychotic disorders, but many of the related symptoms can be prevented with early detection and treatment. Seeking help as soon as symptoms appear can help decrease the disruption to the person's life, family, and friendships. Avoiding drugs and alcohol can prevent psychotic disorders associated with these substances.


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on February 13, 2014
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