What Progress and Recovery Look Like For Schizophrenia
“I have schizophrenia. I am not schizophrenia. I am not my mental illness. My illness is a part of me.” — Johnathon Harnisch, author, artist, filmmaker
Being a chronic brain disorder, there is no cure for schizophrenia. However, treatments are available that allow individuals to live a higher quality of life by managing active symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions.
Schizophrenia recovery differs from one person to the next, as it is a complex disorder with many variables to consider. Requiring lifelong treatment, you can expect a combination of pharmacological and therapy treatment options. Here’s what progress and recovery can look like for schizophrenia.
How Schizophrenia Is Treated
Researchers continue to study the potential causes of schizophrenia, hoping to develop innovative, effective therapies. Genetics, behavioral research, and advanced imaging of the brain’s structure are some of the key areas of interest.
Current treatment options can help people with schizophrenia lead productive lives. Like any chronic illness, no two people are the same in terms of their treatment plan and how they respond to that plan .
Treatment for schizophrenia focuses on managing your symptoms. Most patients will follow a treatment plan that combines medication and psychotherapy. Antipsychotics are the most common medication prescribed. However, antidepressants and mood stabilizers are also fairly common. For therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be powerful. Several studies support this..
The most effective treatment plans are those that are tailored to the individual. This is because schizophrenia is often part of a bigger picture throughout the recovery process, as co-occurring conditions are common, including depression and substance use disorder.
How to Make Progress With Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Each individual’s journey to recovery is unique. What works for one person may not be best for you. To make progress, you need to work closely with your healthcare providers and therapists. This one-on-one approach ensures you receive the type of treatment you need based on your symptoms, the phase you’re currently in, your history, your living situation and the level of support you have, etc.
It can be disheartening that there is no cure. However, the outlook for individuals with schizophrenia is improving.
One of the most important steps to take is to accept your diagnosis. Schizophrenia is often episodic, so you will probably have periods of remission. When you are not experiencing severe symptoms, this is the perfect opportunity to implement an ongoing treatment plan to help limit the frequency, length and severity of future episodes.
Work with your recovery team and stay on track. Schizophrenia is a lifelong disorder, but you can learn to manage symptoms, develop greater support and build a fulfilling, purpose-driven life.
The earlier you seek treatment, the better.
To continue making progress:
- Take your symptoms seriously and focus on the fact that you can improve.
- Communicate with your doctor and therapist to ensure the right dose of medication and to develop self-help strategies within your day-to-day life. For example, you may find that high-stress situations trigger episodes. You can focus on managing your emotions while learning beneficial relaxation techniques.
- Set and work towards rewarding life goals
Remember, schizophrenia doesn’t define you .
What Can I Expect From the Schizophrenia Recovery Process?
The schizophrenia recovery process has come a long way throughout history. Over a century ago, when the concept of schizophrenia began to develop, there was little hope of recovery. It wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century that new treatments emerged and patients showed signs of improvement. Since then, treatment options have significantly evolved, making the road to recovery possible .
If you have recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia, know that you are not alone and that help is available. You can live a happy, healthy life — it just takes time, understanding and support.
During periods of clarity, or if you have the support of loved ones, you must begin the recovery process. Sadly, lack of treatment can lead to serious negative health outcomes, resulting in a life expectancy shortened by an average of 28.5 years. When you enter recovery, your healthcare team will address any co-occurring mental health conditions as well.
Whether it be depression or substance use disorder, approximately half of all schizophrenia patients have a co-occurring condition . This means that when you seek help for one disorder, you can get help to treat any other mental or behavioral disorders.
Get the Help You Deserve
Summit Detox can help you take the next step. Contact us today to discuss your needs and goals.
- APA. What Is Schizophrenia? Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/schizophrenia/what-is-schizophrenia
- Bighelli, I. et al. Response rates in patients with schizophrenia and positive symptoms receiving cognitive behavioural therapy: a systematic review and single-group meta-analysis. Retrieved from https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-018-1964-8
- HelpGuide. Schizophrenia Treatment and Self-Help. Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/schizophrenia-treatment-and-self-help.htm
- Bull, S. Recovery From Schizophrenia: With Views of Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Others Diagnosed With This Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2659312/
- Schizophrenia & Psychosis Action Alliance. About Schizophrenia. Retrieved from https://sczaction.org/about-schizophrenia/