Schizophrenia Health (cont.)

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Follow-up after an initial stay in the hospital is absolutely essential if the person with schizophrenia is to continue to improve and recover. It is especially important to take any medications as prescribed and to go to therapy sessions.

Schizophrenia Prevention

Not enough is known, as yet, about the causes of schizophrenia to determine practical preventive measures. However, research in this area is very active, and it may be possible to offer some useful suggestions regarding prevention in the not-too-distant future. Examples of progress toward that goal include preventing and delaying the progression of people who are at high risk for developing psychosis to having those symptoms. Advancements have also been made in intervening early when individuals develop psychotic symptoms.

Schizophrenia Prognosis

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This is a time of hope for people with schizophrenia. New antipsychotics are currently under investigation, and brain research is progressing toward understanding the molecular and neuronal underpinnings of the illness. Currently, schizophrenia cannot be cured but the outlook for people suffering from this illness is constantly improving. Here are a few predictors of outcome worth mentioning:

  • How well the person with schizophrenia functioned in society and at work prior to onset of the mental illness will be important in determining the long-term outcome.
  • The amount of time that lapses from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment can often help to predict outcome as well. The sooner someone is treated for schizophrenia once symptoms begin, the better the overall likelihood for improvement and recovery. However, at this time, the average length of time between the onset of psychosis and first treatment is six to seven years.
  • Schizophrenia can be treated using multiple methods, including medication, psychotherapy, and behavioral therapy. Psychiatrists, primary care physicians, psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals are pivotal in helping people with schizophrenia and their families explore available resources that lead to complete treatment. Many people with schizophrenia recover to the point of living functional and rewarding lives in their communities.

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