Understanding Mental Illness and Schizophrenia
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Part of the award winning public television series Healthy Body/Healthy Mind. Mental Illnesses are complex diseases of the brain affecting thoughts, moods, and coping ability. There are many diseases you can see, feel and understand, but there are others that aren't as easy to comprehend. Education and compassion are key. Untreated mental illness costs Americans more than 100 billion dollars each year. Fear of Mental Illness and the lack of understanding prevent millions of people from seeking much needed treatment. Meet some of these people in this program.
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Length of Treatment. Like diabetes or high blood pressure, schizophrenia is a chronic disorder that needs constant management. At the moment, it cannot be cured, but the rate of recurrence of psychotic episodes can be decreased significantly by staying on medication. Although responses vary from person to person, most people with schizophrenia need to take some type of medication for the rest of their lives as well as use other approaches, such as supportive therapy or rehabilitation.
Relapses occur most often when people with schizophrenia stop taking their antipsychotic medication because they feel better, or only take it occasionally because they forget or don't think taking it regularly is important. It is very important for people with schizophrenia to take their medication on a regular basis and for as long as their doctors recommend. If they do so, they will experience fewer psychotic symptoms.
No antipsychotic medication should be discontinued without talking to the doctor who prescribed it, and it should always be tapered off under a doctor's supervision rather than being stopped all at once.