NMHA Launches effort at Early detection and Treatment of Schizophrenia

SAN DIEGO, May 16 -- As part of a program by the National Mental Health Association the following information was released last week: A Case Western Reserve University mental health researcher says early recognition of schizophrenia -- which often appears in late adolescence -- can translate into higher recovery rates for some of the 2.5 million Americans with the disease. At the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in San Diego, scientists say today that knowing the signs of schizophrenia and getting treatment available with new anti-psychotic drugs can allow as many as 83 percent of schizophrenics to lead a normal life.

Dr. Charles Schultz, chairman of the department of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, says, "The signs of schizophrenia are really important danger signals, and they can't be confused with a phase of late adolescence or early adult life. Knowing the warning signs and seeking medical advice are the first steps in making sure people with schizophrenia get help when it matters most." Schultz says as many as half of people with schizophrenia receive no treatment for their condition. New classes of drugs, known as atypical antipsychotics, are able to control the disorder with a minimum of side effects. Among the signs that require psychiatric examination: --Hearing or seeing something that isn't there. --A constant feeling of being watched. --Increasing withdrawal from social situations. --Feeling indifferent to very important situations. --Irrational, angry or fearful response to loved ones. Researchers will discuss a national "signs of schizophrenia" program, in conjunction with the National Mental Health Association, during a symposium at the APA meeting Saturday. Information about schizophrenia is available from the association at 1-800-969-NMHA.

The NMHA web site is at http://www.nmha.org

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