Antipsychotic drugs aren’t the only treatment people with schizophrenia need. Psychotherapy and support are also key.
With proper treatment, some individuals with schizophrenia can recover.
About a quarter of young people with schizophrenia who get treatment get better within six months to two years, research has found.
Another 35 to 40 percent see significant improvements in their symptoms after longer-term treatment—enough to let them live relatively normal lives outside hospitals with only minor symptoms.
Antipsychotic drugs play a crucial role in treatment. These drugs don’t cure schizophrenia. Instead, they reduce symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations.
The drugs can have side effects, such as physical agitation and muscle spasms. In addition, their long-term use causes permanent neurological damage.
Reduced symptoms don’t necessarily mean individuals are able to function effectively outside a hospital, however.
Psychosocial support can help make that possible.
Psychotherapy can help individuals learn how to function in appropriate, effective and satisfying ways. By teaching individuals how to cope, psychotherapy can help people overcome dysfunction and regain their lives.
Individuals may also need training in social skills or vocational counseling and job training.
Family education, family psychotherapy and self-help groups are also beneficial.