March 31, 2007

Treatment of Acute Episodes of Schizophrenia

An acute episode of schizophrenia is characterized by having active psychosis along with a worsening of other symptoms, such as mood problems, cognitive impairments, and negative symptoms.

An acute episode can wreak havoc on a person's life, being damaging to to relationships, job, and personal living, and usually necessitates hospitalization. According to Dr. Michael D. Jibson, MD, PhD writing in Psychiatric Times, much of the deterioration of ability to live independently and hold a job, seen in chronic schizophrenia, occurs during acute episodes.

Dr. Jibson discusses the goals of, and pharmacotherapy (medication) options for, treatment of episodes of acute schizophrenia.

He states that the overriding intial goal is to "maintain a safe environment for the patient and for caregivers". Therefore, to begin with, both aggression and suicidality need to be quickly addressed. To that end, Dr. Jibson discusses options such as the use of benzopdiazapines in conjunction with various antipsychotic options - typical, atypical, oral, and injectables.

Other treatment goals discussed, along with discussions about how to attain those goals, are finding and addressing what preciptated the episode, quickly treating the psychotic symptoms, creating a medication regimen that works and is well-tolerated with minimal side-effects, and finally, to start the transition to the maintenance phase of treatment.

Read the full article: Pharmacotherapy of Acute Schizophrenia

Related Reading:
Tailored Treatment of Schizophrenia

Treating Schizophrenia: Pharmacological and Psychosocial Interventions: April, 2007 UK Professional Conference

Schizophrenia Drug Studies: One Size Does Not Fit All; Community Services Also Needed

Patients May Try Many Medications Before Finding One That Helps

Older Medication May be More Cost-effective for Some People who Have Schizophrenia


I am trying to figure out the behavior of a family friend. He is almost 27 years old, has abused drugs for off and on for many years and now is showing signs that something serious is wrong. He writes pages of incoherent "research" on subject matter that jumps all over the place. He is creating scenes in local businesses, he does not work and is driving his family insane. He refuses to see a therapist for help or even try an inpatient drug rehab. Pennsylvania does not seem to be an easy state to commit someone against their will even though they despertly need help. Can someone please advise me of any options. This is a very troubled young man, he is a sweet person but is acting more and more irrational and I am afraid becoming paranoid and angry.

Posted by: alicia at March 31, 2007 02:00 PM

I feel your pain and can understand your troubles. Unfortunatly anyone over the age of 21 is considered an adult and their family can not force treatment. One option is to convince the person to go see a doctor for any reason and at that point the doctor can possibly intervene or convince the person to seek help. Thats how I was able to get my son the help he needed for his schizophrenia. Also if he does seek help try to get him to sign a paper allowing the doctor to give the family info on his condition if they are interested in helping him. Without it, the doctors won't tell them anything. Good Luck

Posted by: Jana McCarty at April 5, 2007 11:13 AM

I may need some help with this: One of my cousins I have grown up with and I feel some memory loss in his behavior. It’s not something serious, but he denies the fact. I was wondering if he is under the danger of becoming a schizophrenic… or is it Alzheimer.

Posted by: Detox at May 11, 2007 08:23 AM

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