Cognitive Behavior Therapy for People with Schizophrenia

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For decades, psychologists have devised many treatment regimes for schizophrenia patients, with varying degrees of success and effectiveness. There have been great obstacles in their efforts, mainly due to the fact that patients of schizophrenia lack insight into their impaired conditions. Often patients refuse treatment of any kind because they do not perceive any mental illness associated with their behaviour. In particular, individuals suffering from paranoid schizophrenia regard therapy as intrusions from hostile outside forces, which reduces compliance on the part of the patient (Davison & Neale,1998). Other problems with treatment programs for schizophrenic’s is that they suffer from both positive and negative symptoms, each requiring different type of treatments. In order to combat the difficulty of treating schizophrenia, several techniques have been devised; psychoanalytic therapy, behavioural therapy, family therapy and most predominantly, drug therapies. Drug therapy is the primary form of treatment implemented at the onset of schizophrenia. The drug clozapine is very effective for many patients who do not respond to initial drug treatment programs and treats both the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia (Advokat et al., 1999; Robinson et al., 1999). Moreover, a reduction in negative symptoms has also been noted to occur as individuals are treated with amisulpride and (Danion et al., 1999). The use of newer drugs to treat schizophrenia has produced fewer side effects in most patients. However, it has been found that although the use of risperidone to treat patients is very effective in treating the symptoms, there may be negative side effects for women using the drugs (Caracci,1999). As well, haloperidol has been one of the most widely used drugs for treating schizophrenia and is very effective, but if it is over-prescribed it could result in severe side effects for the patient (Yasui et al., 1999). Despite the possible side effects for some patients using drug therapy, it is still the treatment regime which produces in the highest success rate (Davison & Neale, 1998). Psychoanalytical Therapy A revised form of Freud’s psychoanalytical therapy was first devised by Harry Stack Sullivan to treat schizophrenic patients in the early 1920’s. Sullivan believed that schizophrenia was a result of individuals regressing to earlier forms of childhood communication due to the fragile ego’s inability to handling the stress of their interpersonal relationships (Davison & Neale, 1998). He believed that by building a trusting relationship with the patients, the patients would become willing to examine their interpersonal relationships, thus resulting in improvement of symptoms. Freida Fromm-Reichman, a German psychiatrist who worked with Sullivan, also believed that schizophrenic symptoms resulted as a means of avoiding the rejections suffered in childhood (Davison & Neale, 1998). She too believed that by building a trusting relationship with a patient, the past experiences could be examined and symptoms alleviated. There was little evidence to suggest that the treatment was successful for patients who suffered from severe symptoms, but it was effective for individuals who suffered from mild cases of schizophrenia or who were in the beginning stages. The ineffectiveness of psychoanalytic therapy in severe cases has been attributed to the fact that insight into the patient’s own problems and illness worsens the symptoms due to its intrusive and intensive nature (Davison & Neale, 1998). For this reason psychoanalytic therapy has not been widely used to treat individuals suffering from severe forms of schizophrenia. Family Therapy Another favorable form of treatment for individuals suffering from schizophrenia involves family therapy. Individuals who have been institutionalized for schizophrenia are often released back into their family homes. However, evidence...
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