This is a time of hope for people with schizophrenia. New antipsychotic drugs are currently under investigation, and brain research is progressing towards understanding the molecular and neuronal underpinnings of the illness. Currently, schizophrenia cannot be cured but the outlook for people suffering from this illness is constantly improving. If you or a loved one has schizophrenia, here are a few predictors that may determine your long-term outcome:
How well you functioned in society and at work prior to the onset of schizophrenia
The amount of time that lapses from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment; the sooner you are treated for schizophrenia once symptoms begin, the better the overall likelihood for improvement and recovery. However, at this time, the average length of time between the onset of psychosis and first treatment is six to seven years.
Schizophrenia can be treated using multiple methods in combination, including medication, psychotherapy, and behavioral therapy. Psychiatrists, primary care doctors, psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals are pivotal in helping people with schizophrenia and their families explore available resources to help with treatment. Many people with schizophrenia recover to the point of living functional and rewarding lives in their communities.
You may think holding down a job is too much for someone with schizophrenia. But with treatment, many people can -- and should -- stay in the game.
"People feel better about themselves if they're doing something productive," says Steven Jewell, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University. "It's critical to recovery to move forward with your life, whether it's at school or at work." Jewell advocates a team approach to providing patients the treatment, skills, and support...