26/01/2018 - 15:00 EST
Diagnosed in Canada as a teenager, Quentin is proof that with the right treatment, there's hope for people living with schizophrenia. Family, friends and the right treatment plan all play an important role in helping him manage symptoms, prevent relapse, and overcome some of schizophrenia's biggest challenges.
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22/02/2018 - 16:43 EST
An experimental therapy which involves a face-to-face discussion between a person with schizophrenia and an avatar representing their auditory hallucination may help reduce symptoms, when provided alongside usual treatment, according to a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.
The randomized controlled trial compared the avatar therapy to a form of supportive counselling (adapted specifically for the study). It found that avatar therapy was more effective at reducing hallucinations at 12-week follow-up, and had a large effect size.
Further research to investigate the treatment's effectiveness in other healthcare settings will be needed, and so the treatment is not yet widely available.
The study is the first large-scale randomized controlled trial of this type of therapy, and was used in people with schizophrenia who had had persistent and distressing auditory hallucinations for more than a year, despite treatment. All participants continued to receive their usual treatment throughout the trial.
Around 60-70% of people who have schizophrenia experience auditory hallucinations that are typically insulting and threatening. For most people, drug treatments reduce these symptoms, but approximately one in four people continue to experience voices. Cognitive behavioral therapy for psychosis (CBTp) can also be helpful but is a lengthy therapy with at times limited effects on voices.