The Treatment Team.
Treatment for Schizophrenia usually includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Patients with Schizophrenia may work with a treatment team that includes therapists and other healthcare professionals who can help them understand their condition and stick to a treatment plan.
In addition to taking medication as prescribed, maintaining a system of support that includes therapy can help a person with Schizophrenia. The treatment team usually consists of several people: a psychiatrist, a social worker or therapist, a nurse practitioner, a physician assistant, a pharmacist, and a case manager.
Once symptoms are being managed, the treatment process may include psychosocial counseling to help the patient face the challenges that arise from everyday stress.
A therapist usually a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric social worker, or counselor can help the patient learn how to cope with these challenges. As the patient moves forward with treatment and in life, he or she might begin to think about work or school. Occupational or vocational therapists or employment counselors can help the patient find the skills he or she needs to succeed in these important aspects of life.
Nurse practitioners and physician assistants
Once a treatment program has been established, many psychiatrists will also rely on nurse practitioners and physician assistants (PAs) to help manage day-to-day treatment. These healthcare professionals are also available to answer questions about symptoms and treatment. In many states, they also have the ability to prescribe medicines.
As the patient moves forward with treatment, he or she may have frequent contact with social workers. These healthcare professionals may support the patient in a number of different ways.
Many social workers are trained as therapists and offer much-needed emotional counseling and social skills training. Others serve as “case managers,” arranging for the various social services the patient might need. Because of their versatility, social workers are found in a range of settings, from hospitals to community mental health centers to social service agencies.
Many states and social service organizations offer programs to help people with Schizophrenia. A case manager can help a patient find these services. The case manager might be a social worker or another member of the staff of the doctor’s office or mental health center. Case managers can help a patient apply for benefits, arrange for training programs, or find services that assist with daily living.
The pharmacist is an important member of the treatment team. In addition to supplying medicines prescribed by other members of the treatment team, the pharmacist can explain in detail how to take medicines, describe possible side effects, and provide advice on how to manage them to the team. The pharmacist can identify potential interactions among prescription medicines, non-prescription medicines, and/or supplements. This is one of the most important roles of the pharmacist, to make certain that medicines prescribed by different members of the treatment team won't cause adverse reactions when taken together.
Read techniques for Getting the Most from Treatment.
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