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Schizophrenia: Mystery of the Mind
By Hilary Gibson, Staff Writer
(Page 3 of 3)

It is difficult to know exactly how to treat this disease, mainly because it seems to be caused by several conditions, however, antipsychotic medications which have been around since the 1950’s seem to help by reducing the amount and severity of psychotic symptoms. It’s important to remember that these medications are not considered a “cure” for schizophrenia, and even while a person is on their medication, there is no guarantee that the symptoms or episodes will not return. The 1990’s saw the creation of a number of new antipsychotic drugs (known as “atypical antipsychotics”). These drugs are very effective in treating certain symptoms of schizophrenia, especially hallucinations and delusions, but they may not be as helpful with other symptoms, such as reduced motivation and emotional expressiveness. Sometimes when people with schizophrenia become depressed, other symptoms can appear to worsen, so by adding an antidepressant medication to what is already being taken, further improvement can be seen.

With new approaches for studying schizophrenia, from molecular genetics to new methods of imaging the brain’s structure and functions and innovative drug treatments currently being evaluated in clinical trials, there is a renewed hope that better and safer medications will be discovered soon.  Medicine now offers better options to control the many symptoms and causes of schizophrenia than ever before, and with them the possibility that in the future a cure for the disease will be developed.

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