SCHIZOPHRENIA TREATMENTS

Schizophrenia symptoms may be managed

While there is currently no cure for schizophrenia, the symptoms of schizophrenia may be managed with ongoing treatment.

Treatment for schizophrenia focuses on reducing the severity of symptoms. An integrated approach—combining medication and different psychosocial treatments—is most effective. It may include:

  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Illness management strategies
  • Treatment for substance abuse
  • Rehabilitation
  • Family education
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Support from self-help groups

Medications

Finding the medication that works best for you can take time. Not everyone responds to medication the same way. Because your doctor may have to try several medications, or kinds of medication—as well as different doses, it can be helpful to know about the different types.

“Typical” antipsychotics—Antipsychotic medications first became available in the 1950s. As other antipsychotic drugs were developed, these early medications became known as “typical” antipsychotics.

Atypical antipsychotic medications, sometimes called “second generation” antipsychotics, were developed in the 1990s and are also used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia. LATUDA is an atypical antipsychotic. It is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia in patients 13 years of age or older.

Illness management, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and other strategies

Along with medication, treatment for substance abuse, talk therapy, and other strategies are important parts of the schizophrenia treatment picture. Once your symptoms are under control, these approaches can help you learn important skills to cope with the stresses of everyday living, stay on your medication, manage your illness generally, and find the support you need. They may also enable you to avoid hospitalization, attend school, or hold a job.

  • Illness management helps you gain the skills and insight to take an active role in your own care.  It can help you better understand your illness and its treatment, learn the early warning signs of worsening illness, and cope with any symptoms that don’t go away
  • Substance abuse treatment. Many people with schizophrenia also have problems with drug or alcohol misuse. If you’re one of them, substance abuse treatment—combined with continuing treatment for your schizophrenia—is critical to reaching your goals
  • Rehabilitation focuses on the social and vocational skills you may need to become more self-sufficient. Rehabilitation typically includes job training and counseling, help with money management and communication, and other practical skills  
  • Family-focused education involves a therapist working with family members to help them learn important coping and problem-solving skills.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on thinking and behavior. It may be especially helpful if you have symptoms that never seem to go away. CBT can teach you how to test the reality of your thoughts and ignore the voices in your head to avoid a setback
  • Self-help groups are a good way for you to network, share what you know, and learn from others with schizophrenia in a welcoming and nonjudgmental environment. There are also many self-help groups for families of people with schizophrenia

You and your doctor should work together to decide on the kind of approaches most likely to help you, based on your individual needs and condition.

You may find over time that, with a plan of care that includes the right medication for you, you can get back to doing everyday things like working, going to school, and being with family and friends.

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