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, 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.
Penny Frese, PhD, was studying fine arts at Ohio University when she met her future husband. They saw each other for several months, and she noticed he avoided talking about anything personal. "We took a walk in a park, and it was toward the end of summer -- a gorgeous, beautiful day. I confronted him about not being totally honest … and he said he had had a 'schizophrenic break.'"
For some couples, that might have been the end. Frese went to the library and read up on schizophrenia. She learned...