The recommended treatment for schizophrenia, called Coordinated Specialty Care, involves a combination of services coordinated by a group of professionals working with the patient and the family. This treatment, within the first two to three years after a patient’s initial psychotic episode, has been shown to decrease relapses of psychosis by more than 50 percent and prevent much of the disability associated with a psychotic illness.
Elements of the treatment include:
- Low doses of antipsychotic medication
- Cognitive behavioral therapy for psychosis (CBTp)
- Family education and support
- Educational and vocational rehabilitation
Unlike the old standard treatment for schizophrenia, which involved higher doses of medication and no follow-up after hospitalization, the goal of early treatment is not only to reduce psychotic symptoms, but also to help young people learn to manage them and to construct a support network to prevent relapse.