Schizophrenia - Treatment


Antipsychotic medications

Antipsychotic medications help patients with the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. Some people have side effects when they start taking medications, but most side effects go away after a few days. People respond to antipsychotic medications differently, so it is important to report any of these side effects to a doctor. Sometimes a person needs to try several medications before finding the right one.

A patient should not stop taking a medication without first talking to a doctor. Suddenly stopping medication can be dangerous, and it can make schizophrenia symptoms worse.

Choosing the right medication, medication dose, and treatment plan should be done under an expert’s care and based on an individual’s needs and medical situation . Only an expert clinician can help a patient decide whether the medication’s ability to help is worth the risk of a side effect.

Psychosocial treatments

Psychosocial treatments help patients deal with everyday challenges of schizophrenia. These treatments are often most helpful after patients find a medication that works. Examples of treatment include:


  • Family education: Teaches the whole family how to cope with the illness and help their loved one.
  • Illness management skills: Helps the patient learn about schizophrenia and manage it from day to day.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Helps the patient identify current problems and how to solve them. A CBT therapist focuses on changing unhelpful patterns of thinking and behavior.
  • Rehabilitation: Helps with getting and keeping a job or going to school and everyday living skills.
  • Peer counseling: Encourages individuals to receive help from other people who are further along in their recovery from schizophrenia.
  • Self-help groups: Provides support from other people with the illness and their families.
  • Treatment for drug and alcohol misuse: Is often combined with other treatments for schizophrenia.


Resource: National Institute of Mental Health