March 22, 2006

How important is early care for schizophrenia?

In the latest issue of Harvard's Mental Health Letter, Michael Craig Miller, M.D. Editor in Chief, suggests that research is showing that early treatment of schizophrenia is very important (a fact we've reported on many times in the past few years).

In the article, Dr. Miller reports that the mental health of people with schizophrenia decreases most significantly in the first few years after the diagnosis, and they respond less well to treatment over time and after repeated psychotic episodes. Dr. Miller suggests that the first episode of psychosis (hallucinations and delusions) should be treated as soon and as thoroughly as possible. And psychosocial treatment is at least as important as antipsychotic drugs.

The following is a brief excerpt of the article:

Antipsychotic drugs, a mainstay of schizophrenia treatment, are most effective in the first psychotic episode. Half of patients get some relief from the psychotic symptoms within three months and three-quarters within six months. ...Their risk of suicide is higher than average, and highest early in the course of the illness.

All too often, patients fall into a "cycle of coercion." A crisis occurs and they are forced into the hospital; frightened by the experience, they tend to avoid treatment afterward. Drug treatment alone rarely returns schizophrenia patients to their previous level of functioning or quality of life. Psychosocial treatments are indispensable -- early detection, case management, community outreach, vocational rehabilitation, and individual and family psychotherapy, with use of crisis centers or hospitalization when necessary.

Source: Harvard Mental Health Letter, April, 2006


how about to treat pregnant schizophrenic

Posted by: aisha at March 29, 2006 10:22 PM

i have experienced caring a schizophrenic patient for 22 years now..the burden of a caregiver is much to be given psychological care in order to become aware of care a patient with schizophrenic behaviors entails physical and psychological readinesss in order to be effective..truly, the most imporatnt intervention for these patients are not solely medicines but socio-cultural care..eliminating the triggers hat may precipitate the attack..preventing further attacks..

Posted by: denden at April 2, 2006 02:31 AM

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