Cure from schizophrenia is possible, says Norwegian study; resilience and job key factors
Schizophrenia is a serious brain disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to understand reality. It distorts the way a person thinks, acts, and relates to others. Even as its symptoms can be treated with the help of schizophrenia treatment centers, it has no known cure so far. However, a new Norwegian study has shown some favorable outcomes, giving hope to schizophrenics around the world.
The study by the University of Oslo’s Department of Psychology, published recently in the European Psychiatry journal, saw more than half of around 30 young participants recover fully or partially. The participants were the youths who had been diagnosed with the problem within the five months and were undergoing treatment in both inpatient and outpatient setups. After nearly four years of treatment, 55 percent of the young patients had recovered fully or partially. Of them, 10 percent patients are not on medication anymore.
“Having such a high proportion be well-functioning shows that schizophrenic patients have a greater potential to get well than previous research has shown… The results of this study give hope not only to patients and their relatives, but also provide inspiration for everyone who treats young people with psychotic disorders,” said Prof. Anne-Kari Torgalsbøen of the University of Oslo, who is specialized in clinical psychology.
Elaborating the plight of schizophrenics, Torgalsbøen said the disorder means that the patient suffers from serious delusions or hallucinations and a big drop in the ability to function. They may suspect conspiracy against them even by the closest of their relatives. They can imagine things without any reason or provocation.
The patients selected for the study received various forms of treatment as per the Norwegian Directorate of Health’s guidelines. Significantly, the treatment involved passage of information to the patients about the diagnosis and what they and their family could do to manage the disease. Known as “psychoeducational treatment,” it is an important part of the treatment program as per the researchers and helps yield the best results.
Torgalsbøen said the patients received “training in thinking critically about how realistic their thoughts are.” They took part in group discussions. They were provided with cognitive therapy, encouraging their involvement in working to change their delusions and how they perceived about their experiences and psychosis.
Most of the patients received systematic treatment over several years. Many of them took antipsychotic medication during the follow-up period. They also received help in embracing some vocation. This gave them confidence to rebuild their lives. In fact, regular employment was found to be a key criterion for complete recovery. As per the researchers, the patients who recovered showed greater resilience than those who were still struggling with their symptoms of psychosis. They feel that resilient people can handle crises and stresses in a positive way.
Early treatment is the key
The most important thing about the study was that the participants received early treatment, which paved the way for their recovery. “It’s important to emphasize that these patients received early treatment. For example, we know that cognitive therapy works better when the patient gets help early so that the irrational thoughts don’t get a foothold,” said Torgalsbøen.
People with schizophrenia often have problems functioning in society, at work, at school, and in relationships. They therefore face a stigma that deprives them of the required treatment or delays it, complicating the patients’ condition. It is important to understand that the disease can leave its sufferers frightened and withdrawn.
Even as more studies with a higher number of participants might be needed to find a proven line of treatment for complete cure, the otherwise lifelong disease can be dealt with effectively at the best schizophrenia treatment centers around to control its symptoms effectively. For more information about schizophrenia or any other mental disorder call our 24/7 helpline (866) 593-2339, or chat online with an expert.