Treatment for Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, and Related Psychotic Disorders
Our treatments for schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and related psychotic disorders include psychoeducation, social skills training, illness self-management, family-based services, treatment for comorbid alcohol and substance use disorders, and treatment for weight management. You can learn more about these here and more about these disorders in general in our education handouts.
Psychoeducation provides individuals with information about their illness and the most effective ways of treating symptoms and preventing relapse. Psychoeducation covers topics such as the nature and course of the disorder, the importance of active involvement in treatment, the potential benefits and adverse effects of various treatment options, identification of early signs of relapse, and behavior changes that reduce the likelihood of relapse.
Social Skills Training
Many people with these disorder have difficulties with social skills. Social skills training aims to correct these deficits by teaching skills to help express emotion and communicate more effectively, so individuals are more likely to achieve their goals, develop relationships, and live independently. Social skills are taught in a very systematic way using behavioral techniques, such as modeling, role playing, positive reinforcement, and shaping.
Mental illness affects the whole family. Family services teach families to work together toward recovery. In family-based services, the family and clinician meet to discuss problems the family is experiencing. Families then attend educational sessions where they learn basic facts about mental illness, coping skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, and ways to work with one another toward recovery. Patients who participate in family interventions experience fewer psychiatric symptoms and relapses, improved treatment adherence, and improved family functioning. There is a range of family programs available to fit the specific needs of each family. Some families benefit from just a few sessions, while more intensive services are especially helpful for families that are experiencing high levels of stress and tension, and for individuals who are chronically symptomatic or prone to relapse. These longer-term interventions generally last six to nine months.
Components of illness self-management include psychoeducation, teaching coping skills to manage stress and symptoms, relapse prevention, and social skills training. Individuals learn about their psychiatric illness, their treatment choices, medication adherence strategies, and coping skills to deal with stress and symptoms. Relapse prevention involves recognizing situations that might trigger symptoms, tracking warning signs and symptoms of relapse, and developing a plan to cope with triggers and warning signs to prevent relapse. This treatment approach also teaches individuals social skills in order to improve the quality of their relationships with others.
Treatment for Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders
Many individuals with these disorder also struggle with an alcohol or substance use disorder. Co-occurring disorders are best treated concurrently, meaning that treatment for the psychotic disorder should be integrated with the treatment for the alcohol or drug problem. Integrated treatments includes motivational enhancement and cognitive-behavioral interventions. Integrated treatments are effective at reducing substance use, preventing relapse, and keeping individuals in treatment longer.
Treatment for Weight Management
Weight gain is a significant and frustrating side effect of many medications used to treat the symptoms of psychotic disorders. Weight gain can lead to problems such as diabetes and hypertension, making it a serious health issue for many individuals. Our weight program includes education about the role of antipsychotic medications in weight gain, general nutrition, and portion control. Participants learn skills to monitor their daily food intake and activity levels, have regular weigh-ins, and set realistic and attainable personal wellness goals. Participation in this program can help prevent additional weight gain and lead to modest weight loss.
Mind Matters Institute,
A Psychological Corporation
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