In most cases of schizophrenia, patients would have to be discharged from hospital to go home and live with their family. Therefore, family members should be well schooled about the disorder and understand the need for treatment. There are many treatment methods but one method that often leads to controversy is the use of antipsychotic drugs.
The use of antipsychotic drugs to treat this disorder has been prevalent since 1950. These drugs help reduce the symptoms and as such help the patient to lead a normal life. Note however that the drugs do no cure the illness and there is possibility of future relapse from patients. Only a doctor trained in working with people with mental disorders is qualified to prescribe such medications. The dosage will vary from person to another depending on the person’s resistances.
Of all those placed on these drugs, the majority will experience great improvement. However, there are those who may not get any benefits while there are those who may never need to take the drug. The difficulty is to determine who really needs to be on the drug and who doesn’t. The use of antipsychotic drugs will help reduce symptoms like confusion, hallucination and delusions. They are not as effective in treating other symptoms like emotional distress. Neuroleptics which are the older drugs can have severe side effects that resemble the symptoms of the disease. Newer drugs referred to as atypical antipsychotic came into use around 1990 have been found to be more effective at treating the symptoms. They however have severe side effects.
The family of a schizophrenic may worry about the side effects as well as the fear of the patient becoming addicted to the drugs and even consult an addiction counselor about the possible substance abuse. They also fear that the drug may have a controlling effect on the patient. However, these are just misconceptions as proper usage and dosage doesn’t result to mind control or a knock out. The drug has a sedating effect which can be useful in ensuring proper treatment but it important to know that it is not the sedation that treats but the effect of the drugs in reducing the symptoms. The drugs should be used as prescribed as discontinuation of the drug may lead to future relapse.