How to Minimize Symptoms of Schizophrenia

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Ask your doctor about antipsychotic medication.,
Watch for undesirable side effects.,
Remember that medication is only one treatment for your symptoms.,
Be patient.

Antipsychotic medication has been used in treating the symptoms of schizophrenia since the mid-1950s. Older antipsychotics, sometimes called typical antipsychotics or 1st generation antipsychotics, work by blocking a specific subtype of dopamine receptor in the brain. Newer antipsychotics, also called atypical antipsychotics, block the receptor as well as a specific serotonin receptor.1st generation antipsychotics include such medication as chlorpromazine, haloperidol, trifluoperazine, perphenazine and fluphenazine.
2nd generation antipsychotics include clozapine, risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine, paliperidone and ziprasidone.

, Antipsychotic medications often have significant side effects. Many side effects will go away after a few days. Side effects include blurred vision, drowsiness, sensitivity to the sun, skin rashes, and weight gain. Women may experience menstrual problems.It may take a while to find the medication that works best for you. Your doctor may want to try different doses, and combinations, of medication. No two people respond in exactly the same way to medication.
Clozapine (Clozaril) can result in a condition called agranulocytosis, which is a loss of the white blood cells. If your doctor prescribes clozapine, you will need to get your blood checked every week or two.
Weight gain from antipsychotic medication may result in diabetes and/or high cholesterol.
Long-term use of 1st generation antipsychotics may result in a condition known as tardive dyskinesia (TD). TD causes involuntary muscle spasms, usually around the mouth.
Other side effects from antipsychotic medication include rigidity, tremors, muscle spasms and restlessness. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing these side effects.

, Despite the importance of taking medication to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia, medication by itself does not cure schizophrenia. It is only one tool used to help minimize the symptoms.Psychosocial interventions such as individual therapy, social skills training, vocational rehabilitation, supported employment, and therapy for your family can also help to manage your condition.Be proactive in seeking additional information about treatment options that may work together with medication to minimize your symptoms.

, Medications may take days, weeks, or even longer to become truly effective. While most people may see good results after taking medication for six weeks, others may not see good results for several months.If you don’t start seeing improvement after six weeks, check with your doctor. You may benefit from a higher or lower dosage, or a different medication.
Never stop taking antipsychotic medication abruptly. If you choose to discontinue taking medication, do so under a doctor’s guidance.

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