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Navigating the Schizophrenia Treatment Journey

For adults living with schizophrenia and their caregivers, managing the symptoms of schizophrenia is an ongoing process. However, a combination of supportive therapy, a strong support system, and medication can help make the difference.

Finding the right treatment plan involves openly discussing potential treatment options, including oral medications and long-acting medications such as once-monthly treatments, with a doctor to determine what medication is right for you or your loved one.

Schizophrenia can interrupt every aspect of an adult’s life, but it doesn’t have to. Hear more stories from adults living with schizophrenia and their caregivers about how they are working to #ChangeSchizophreniaExpectations.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a founding sponsor to Psych Hub’s educational video library. This video was developed by Psych Hub in partnership with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All the characters appearing in the video are fictitious. They are intended for educational purposes only.


TEXT ON SCREEN: All the characters and situations appearing in this video series are fictitious. They are intended for educational purposes only.

Larry: My name is Larry. I’ve been having a lot of difficulties lately. I’m schizophrenic. I —

Camilla: Hold up. That’s not correct.

Larry: I think I know what I am.

Camilla: You’re missing the point. We all have schizophrenia, but we are people first. Schizophrenia doesn’t define us.

Rebecca: That’s right, Camilla.

Man Living With Schizophrenia: You’re new to this support group. We’re here to talk about what makes us alike, and what makes us unique.

Jane: Larry, don’t worry. I said the same thing too when I first joined. The first thing I learned was to remind people I’m Jane, and I have schizophrenia.

Rebecca: Welcome, Larry. I’m Rebecca. I’m the counselor who leads this group. Maybe we should start at the beginning. We all are here for many reasons.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Schizophrenia Treatment Options

Camilla: My story started last year when my symptoms started to get more severe. I started hearing voices that no one else could hear but me. I got to the point where I was really confused. I couldn’t tell if things were real or not. I then saw a psychiatrist who prescribed me medication. We discussed what I should expect with the medication and some of the possible side effects.

Man Living With Schizophrenia: My doctor did, too. I was always in my head, and I couldn’t complete my thoughts. I couldn’t seem to stay on just one topic. My medication and therapy sessions helped me to improve my scattered thoughts and disorganized thinking. I was having a really hard time before I started treatment.

Jane: I’m pretty sure we all work with a doctor and receive medications. Before I started treatment, I didn’t want to be around anyone. I kept thinking everyone was teaming up and that they were all mad at me. The medications helped, but they weren’t enough.

Rebecca: I’m glad you brought that up. Remember, with schizophrenia, a combination of therapy, support, skill training and medications may help manage your symptoms. Let’s start with talking about medications that can be used to treat schizophrenia symptoms. There are many factors involved when making decisions about medication. Finding a psychiatrist or other qualified prescriber that you can talk with about your options is an important step in finding the right treatment. Medications for schizophrenia come in different forms. Some examples include pills, dissolvable tablets, liquids and once monthly injections. Working together with your doctor and communicating openly about what is important to you is a great approach. You and your doctor can weigh the pros and cons of what medications are available, how each medication may help, the potential side effects and even the costs. Your psychiatrist is there to help you make an informed decision about what medications will meet your specific needs. After all, schizophrenia is really a combination of symptoms that are unique to each of you. There’s no one-size-fits-all.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Disorganized thinking. Hallucinations. Delusions. These are not all the symptoms of schizophrenia. Speak with your doctor to learn more.

Rebecca: But there are some key treatment considerations. First as you have all said, seeing a doctor is an important part of treatment.

TEXT ON SCREEN: See a doctor.

Rebecca: Second, many people find it helpful to speak with a counselor or therapist regularly for individual treatment.

TEXT ON SCREEN: See a counselor.

Rebecca: And third, now all of you have this group, our group therapy. Group is helpful to have others you can relate to and find ways to relate. In group we don’t compare, we relate. We find our common ground and build strength together.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Participate in group therapy.

Jane: I feel so lucky that I have my family in my corner and that they join group sometimes. It helps me realize that my schizophrenia symptoms affect not just me, but them as well. I also realize that they can really help me manage my schizophrenia because they support me and understand my mental illness. It feels just like a team, all working together to keep me healthy.

Man Living With Schizophrenia: That’s absolutely true. I don’t know where I would be without the help of my family and my case manager.

Rebecca: Case managers help coordinate a wide range of care, including this group.

Man Living With Schizophrenia: Yeah that’s right. They help me access services, build skills and get connected to resources to find a job that best fits me.

Rebecca: Yes, the kinds of services that help people who have emotional, mental health, or other challenges, overcome obstacles to getting and maintaining work.

Man Living With Schizophrenia: Absolutely. My case manager also got me transportation services so I can get around easier and help me get involved in the community again. My family and I are really doing a lot better now. All I know is, I want to try to manage my symptoms so I don’t have to go to the hospital again.

Rebecca: I hear you loud and clear. No one likes the hospital. But it is the right place to be if your hallucinations or delusions become too much and you or others are unsafe. That’s why it’s important to work closely with your doctor, your therapist, and your treatment team to manage symptoms.

Man Living With Schizophrenia: There are many treatment options available to adults living with schizophrenia. My doctor talked to me and my family about something called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. Has anyone else heard of it? It helped me understand my symptoms and cope with the impact my symptoms have on my life. It could be a good option for other people, too.

Rebecca: So Larry, as you can see, these are the stories of people with schizophrenia. They each have their own reasons to be here. They each use their own combination of treatments to manage their symptoms, cope with the ups and downs of their treatment journey, and live their lives. Now do you feel comfortable enough to share your story?

Larry: Hearing all of you talk, I realize maybe I’m not the only one who needs help.

Rebecca: There are so many good treatments out there. We can connect you with people and resources that can help you manage your schizophrenia symptoms so you don’t ever have to go it alone. Remember, in this therapy group we’re all here to find common ground with supportive people. The goal is to avoid being in the hospital, and lead a healthier lifestyle.

Larry: Well, I guess I only have one last thing to say then. Hello, my name is Larry. I have schizophrenia. I’m glad I’m here.

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