Schizophrenia is a relatively common condition with a range of different symptoms which can vary enormously in their severity. Most people with schizophrenia have bouts of illness when they experience symptoms, such as feelings of paranoia, delusional beliefs and hallucinations.
Schizophrenia can also cause confusion and difficulties in concentrating and controlling thoughts and some people have long term problems with organisational skills and motivation. The earlier schizophrenia is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chances of recovery or effective reduction in associated symptoms.
If you have been recently diagnosed with schizophrenia or know someone who has, Priory Wellbeing Centres and hospitals are located nationwide for your convenience. This means you can book an initial assessment and receive personalised specialist treatment and support from some of the UK’s leading therapists and consultants without having to travel long distances.
If you have schizophrenia, your understanding and interpretation of events around you may be distorted compared to others. You may see or hear things which aren’t truly there, or have beliefs and ideas which appear removed from reality, and can lead to unusual behaviours in response to these events which feel entirely real from your perspective.
These behaviours can start suddenly for some people, while they can also develop over time, with each person’s experience of schizophrenia varying between each individual. The condition usually occurs for the first time in late teens or early 20s, it affects up to 1 in 100 people in the UK, with men and woman having a similar risk of developing it.
Treatment for schizophrenia at Priory
Expert treatment for schizophrenia is available through Priory and can include a combined treatment programme comprising medication, counselling and therapy. These will be prescribed and delivered according to your personal needs over time, including whether you respond well to a particular type of medication, or whether symptoms have improved due to the use of a talking therapy.
Our overall aim is to support your independence and try to improve your quality of life while recognising, and working with you to avoid, the events or circumstances that trigger the symptoms.
During an acute phase of schizophrenia where you are experiencing heightened symptoms, you may be given antipsychotic drugs. These drugs tend to have sedative qualities to help reduce the impact of your symptoms, although any side effects can be reduced by handling the dose carefully and using newer, less sedative drugs.
Your medication programme will be carefully monitored and worked through during your treatment with Priory, with you and your consultant working together in order to choose the right drug for your specific needs.
You are also likely to be offered antidepressants, mood stabilising drugs and sedatives as necessary, and once the acute phase has passed, the amount of medication you require may be reduced and simplified. You may need some form of medication for a year or longer after an acute phase to reduce the risk of relapse and help you continue to manage the condition and lessen its impact on your day-to-day life.
Counselling for schizophrenia
Counselling may be helpful if you have schizophrenia, with noticeable progress sometimes possible from as few as ten sessions. These sessions help you learn to cope with day-to-day issues, where you can begin to separate the real and imagined scenarios, and will encourage you to re-learn core life skills, helping you to return to normal life as soon as possible.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
CBT helps you to understand your thought processes and learn strategies for coping with your feelings and reactions to the symptoms that you experience, helping you manage behaviour and more effectively through a problem solving and action-oriented approach.
These sessions are aimed at understanding, supporting and managing some of the many difficulties that arise in a family setting if you have schizophrenia. The aim of this therapy is to encourage family members to research the illness, and learn ways of managing your environment so that there are no triggers of symptoms taking place in the home.
This page was clinically reviewed by Dr Michael Phelan (MBBS, BSc, FRCPsych) in June 2018, and is scheduled to be reviewed again in June 2020. To view all Priory schizophrenia specialists, please click here.