The sooner you get help, the better the chances are of staying well.
It is critical to be on the correct medication as soon as possible.(Critical period)
Continuous treatment is critical to getting well and preventing relapse.
Symptom Control and Relapse:
With the right medication, symptoms of schizophrenia can be managed to prevent a negative impact on your life, allowing you to live the way you had before.
How Can I Control My Schizophrenia
When dealing with schizophrenia, it is important that action to start treatment begins as early into your journey as possible. Being put onto the correct medication at this early stage is a foundation to the success of your treatment.
However, if symptom control is not achieved, a relapse or "psychotic episode" may occur.
What are the treatment options?
Treatment will usually be a combination of medication, which is needed to reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia, psychoeducation and psychotherapy, which can help you to understand how to successfully manage your illness, and to get on with your life.
Drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia (antipsychotics) cannot cure the illness, but they can help with symptoms. Antipsychotics affect neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters act like messengers, carrying information between brain cells. Specifically, antipsychotics target cells responsible for two important neurotransmitters: dopamine and serotonin (both of which play a role in mood and behaviour).
These medications can be taken by mouth (in pill form, called oral antipsychotics) or by injection (in liquid form – LAIs). With continuous LAI therapy, you can:
Achieve a steady level of medicine in your blood to help control your symptoms
Remove the worry of taking a pill every day
Focus on other aspects of treatment, such as managing stress, building positive personal relationships, and finding a job and appropriate housing
Daily oral antipsychotics
Long-acting injectable antipsychotics (LAIs), which can be administered bi-weekly, monthly or every 3 months
Additional medicines to address possible side effects of antipsychotics
Cognitive behavioural therapy
There are two different types of antipsychotics: first-generation (or “traditional”) antipsychotics and second-generation (or “new”) antipsychotics.
As their name suggests, drugs in this category were the first developed to treat schizophrenia. They work by blocking “positive” symptoms, like hallucinations and delusions. First-generation LAIs available in Canada include:
Also known as “atypical” antipsychotics, drugs in this category were developed more recently. They work by controlling both “positive” symptoms, like hallucinations and delusions, and “negative” symptoms, such as depression and withdrawal. Second-generation LAIs available in Canada include:
Paliperidone palmitate (1-month formulation)
Paliperidone palmitate (3-month formulation)
Important to note:
Antipsychotics will not make a person “high” and are not addictive. As with all medicines, though, side effects are possible.
It’s not uncommon for people with schizophrenia to stop taking their medication for a number of reasons, from a mistaken belief that they’re not sick to unpleasant side effects to trouble following a schedule. This can make a relapse (return of symptoms) much more likely.
You can help your loved one stay on track with their treatment!
Talk to them about how their medicine is (or could be) helping – praise them for any positive changes you notice
Gently remind them what symptoms may come back if they don’t take their medicine regularly
Reassure them that these drugs are not addictive and are needed the same way someone with diabetes or high blood pressure needs their medicine
Prepare them for the possible side effects, and ask their doctor for advice on how to manage any side effects that become bothersome
If they have trouble remembering each dose, set reminders for them, or consider asking their doctor about LAIs if they aren’t on one already