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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Schizophrenia is a long-term mental disease that affects how your brain works. It is a disease that may change how you think, feel, and behave. You may not be able to know what is real and what is not real. Your thoughts may not be clear, or may jump from one topic to another.
- Antipsychotics: These help decrease psychotic symptoms and severe agitation. You may need antiparkinson medicine to control muscle stiffness, twitches, and restlessness caused by antipsychotic medicines.
- Antianxiety medicine: This medicine may be given to decrease anxiety and help you feel calm and relaxed.
- Antidepressants: These help with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Mood stabilizers: These control mood swings.
- Tranquilizers: These increase feelings of being calm and relaxed.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or psychiatrist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
You may need to continue your treatments after you leave the hospital. You may be treated in the following programs:
- Crisis residential program: This is a program where you live in a home-care facility. Caregivers work in these homes just like in hospitals. This program is helpful especially when you are having a relapse (your symptoms return).
- Day treatment program: This program provides a chance to learn and practice skills. This also provides long-term support so you may have an improved quality of life.
- Outpatient program: An outpatient program is when you meet regularly with your therapist. You may meet one-to-one with your therapist, or you might meet with your therapist in a group.
- Partial care program: A partial care program is also called day hospitalization or partial hospitalization. This is group therapy and lasts 4 to 6 hours a day, 3 to 5 days a week. It may help you avoid going into the hospital or help you get out of the hospital sooner. It may also help you get symptoms under control and avoid a relapse.
- Assertive community treatment: A team of caregivers or psychiatrists and support groups in your community help you with your therapy.
- Cognitive behavior therapy: This therapy helps you to change certain behaviors. It will help you handle symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions.
- Illness-management skills: This type of therapy teaches you what you can do to help manage your disease.
- Family psychoeducation: Your family will be part of your therapy.
- Social skills training: This training helps you learn how to get along with other people.
- Supported employment: This is a form of therapy where you are placed into a job that fits your skills. It will help give you independence and self-confidence.
Manage your symptoms:
- Do not stop taking your medicines: Tell your primary healthcare provider or psychiatrist if you have any problems with or questions about your medicines.
- Do not stop your therapies: It is normal to have doubts about or feel discomfort with your therapy. Tell your primary healthcare provider or psychiatrist if you are not comfortable or have questions about your therapies.
- Get regular sleep: Try to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Tell your primary healthcare provider or psychiatrist if you are not able to sleep, or if you are sleeping too much.
- Do not drink alcohol: Alcohol interacts with medicine used to treat schizophrenia.
For support and more information:
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
3803 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 100
Arlington , VA 22203
Phone: 1- 703 - 524-7600
Phone: 1- 800 - 950-6264
Web Address: http://www.nami.org
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Public Information & Communication Branch
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda , MD 20892-9663
Phone: 1- 301 - 443-4513
Phone: 1- 866 - 615-6464
Web Address: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/
Contact your primary healthcare provider or psychiatrist if:
- You feel that you are having symptoms of schizophrenia.
- You are not able to sleep well, or are sleeping more than usual.
- You cannot eat or are eating more than usual.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You think about killing yourself or someone else.
- You have a rash, swelling, or trouble breathing after you take your medicine.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.