Schizophrenia - Topic Overview
How is schizophrenia diagnosed?
Your doctor will
ask you questions about your health and about any odd experiences you may have
had, such as hearing voices or having confusing thoughts. You will have a
physical exam. Your doctor also may suggest tests, such as blood tests or
imaging tests, to see if your symptoms may be caused
by another health problem.
How is it treated?
help your symptoms, and counseling and therapy help you change how you think
about things and deal with the illness. Treatment may last a long time.
When you have your symptoms under control, you are in recovery. Recovery
usually is a lifelong process. In the recovery process, you learn to cope with
your symptoms and challenges, find and meet your goals, and get the support
you need. Your recovery depends upon a partnership between you, your doctors,
and others who are important in your life.
People who have schizophrenia often stop
treatment. This may be because they don't understand that they have an illness
or because the medicines cause side effects. When treatment stops, symptoms
usually come back (relapse) or get worse. A relapse might happen right after
treatment is stopped or months later. A later relapse makes it hard to see that
stopping the medicine was the cause. During a relapse, some people who have schizophrenia may need to spend time
in a hospital.
How can family and friends help?
schizophrenia can be a scary experience, and knowing that someone you love has
this illness changes your life. Show love, and learn as much as you can about
the illness. Understand that the behavior you may see is caused by the illness
and is not the person you love.
If you think that someone you love has
schizophrenia, help that person get to a doctor. The sooner the illness is
diagnosed and the person begins treatment, the more successful treatment and
recovery may be.
You can help by talking to your loved one and
helping him or her continue treatment. You also can help your loved one deal
with fear and other feelings about the illness and with the negative attitudes
that some people have toward schizophrenia.