Given the complexity of the disease, schizophrenia is not that much complicated to treat, provided it is diagnosed early and the patient is put under a disciplined and multipronged curing regimen that has psycho and social interventions at its core.
‘No’ to hit and trial
Now, talking of treating persons with schizophrenia, one can ill afford a hit and trial method. Especially, knowing full well that a single-pill cure for the disease is still miles away, many treatment centres lay too much stress on medicinal interventions. That is, indeed, a very bad news for the patient looking for an early succour from their pain and sufferings.
A mind disease!
The early symptoms of schizophrenia, in Greek language meaning split (schizo) – mind (phreno), may surface in the form of sleep and appetite disturbances, unusual behaviour and inaudible speech. Being related to mind, the disease essentially entails a split between the patients’ thought process, his or her emotion and behaviour.
Rehab and management
It, thus, becomes imperative that mental healthcare professionals give due importance to psychological and social aspects of the treatment process while treating a person with schizophrenia. Thanks to the wonderful results of psycho-social interventions, increasingly professionals have begun to recognise the need for it in the rehabilitation and management of patients with schizophrenia.
Social role impairment
The key to an effective psycho-social intervention in case of schizophrenia lies in further widening the scope of treatment beyond the obvious goals: remission of acute episodes, control of symptoms and prevention of relapses. Judging a complex disease on these simple parameters may be overlooking other areas of concerns that need urgent attention namely chronic disorder marked by impairment of social role functioning as a spouse or worker.
Effective care stressed
Further, psycho-social treatment of a person with schizophrenia assumes significance from the point of view of the patient’s overall level of functioning, complying with the prescribed treatment regimen and improvement in the quality of life. So, professionals now lay equal emphasis on effective care and management besides medication.
Holistic approach to cure
This brings us to the need for adopting a holistic approach to the treatment of schizophrenia. Experts have broadly identified six-point steps for psycho-social treatment of a person with schizophrenia. Accordingly mental healthcare professionals prescribe: psychological treatment aimed at addressing specific problems, psycho education for family members of patients, vocational rehabilitation and opportunities for education, access to counselling at the time of crisis, easy access to inpatient psychiatric care, etc.
Long drawn treatment good!
Further, professionals say that any psycho-social intervention in order to be effective in yielding the desired results needs to be long drawn. But such treatments pose their own challenges to both the patients and the mental healthcare professionals. Firstly, the pace of the treatment is likely to be disrupted repetitively due to the very nature of the disease that makes patient behave abnormally.
Set short term goals
So, the treatment has to continue for a longer part of the patient’s life span so as to ensure there are no relapses. It is advised that short-term goals be set so that these become achievable instead of trying to do the same through long term goals.