Treatment for Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is seldom curable; the disorder requires chronic treatment to reduce suffering and to restore daily function. Because schizophrenia is a biological disease, it does not respond to changes in environment or to support therapy alone. Medication that influences brain activity is the cornerstone of treatment, and behavioral management therapy is used to support medication in most cases.

Research has shown a 90 percent chance for recurrence in untreated schizophrenia within a year of the first episode. The chance for relapse drops to about 30 percent with treatment.

Hospitalization is used primarily to achieve the following goals, often at the onset of schizophrenia:

  • To evaluate and diagnose the disorder
  • To stabilize dangerous behavior
  • To begin medication
  • To monitor and ensure self-care and safety
  • To familiarize the person with treatment

Generally, hospitalization is brief and used clinically to assess a person's situation or management skills, as the maintenance of normal routine and function is the long-term goal of treatment. Of course, a severe episode, especially where the person's safety is jeopardized, may require extended hospitalization.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 31 Jan 2001

Last Modified: 02 Oct 2015