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Does Schizophrenia Treatment Involve Drugs ?

Apr 3, 2008
Psychologist R.D. Laing once said, "Schizophrenia cannot be understood without understanding despair." The most debilitating facet of this mental illness is the negative emotion generated, in addition to the disruptive nature.

Not only may a person have the typical hallucinations, but chances are, he or she will also feel a high degree of social anxiety, listlessness and suicidal tendencies. Schizophrenia treatment almost always involves life-long drugs, but should be accompanied by clinical psychiatry and schizophrenia support, most importantly.

Within the United States, there are fourteen clinics that specialize in schizophrenia treatment. For example, the Center Of Prevention & Evaluation (COPE) is a popular treatment program that can be found in New York, or there's the Early Assessment and Support Team (EAST).

There are generally five phases for these programs, with each phase lasting up to six months. Counselors help schizophrenics meet goals, adapt to group situations, develop a long term plan and even find work.

For a treatment of schizophrenia that doubles as a mood enhancer, used especially in cases where patients are suicidal, Clozapine may be administered. This anti-psychotic drug restores the body's neurotransmitter functions, decreases nervousness, increases positive feelings and combats hallucinations or other disturbances.

The danger, of course, is dizziness, high blood pressure, drowsiness and even seizures, although these side effects are extremely rare. Careful monitoring must be done with Clozapine to prevent a fatal bone marrow toxicity that can develop.

Other treatment drugs include: Chloropromazine, Fluphenazine, Geodon, Moban, Paliperidone, Sarcosine, Thioridazine, Ziprasidone and Zyprexa (which is also used to treat bipolar disorder). This year the FDA is meeting to discuss making a longer lasting, injectable form of Zyprexa available, although they fear severe drowsiness may ensue.

However, it's honestly tough to tell which schizophrenia drug works best because of industry bias. Dr. John Davis reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry: "On the basis of these contrasting findings in head-to-head trials, it appears that whichever company sponsors the trial produces the better anti-psychotic drug."

As of 2008, Merck Corporation made a $700 million deal with Addex Pharmaceuticals of Switzerland to develop a new schizophrenia drug. Uwe Reinhardt, a political economist at Princeton, feels that the reason patients are dissatisfied with many schizophrenia treatment drugs is related to efforts by Congress to keep drug companies happy. "I have come to believe a lot of inefficiency is quite deliberate," he commented. "One person's inefficiency is another person's income."
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