Treatment Information & Medication Options

Types of Psychotherapy

Individual psychotherapy

During sessions, a therapist or psychiatrist can teach a patient how to deal with their thoughts and behaviors. Patients learn more about their illness, its symptoms, and how to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not.

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)

CBT can help a patient change their thinking and behavior. A therapist will show them ways to deal with voices and hallucinations. With a combination of sessions and medication, patients can eventually tell what triggers psychotic episodes and how to reduce or stop them.

Cognitive enhancement therapy (CET)

This type of therapy is also called cognitive remediation. It teaches people how to better recognize social cues, or triggers, and improve their attention, memory, and ability to organize their thoughts. It combines computer-based brain training and group sessions.

Types of Psychosocial Therapy

If a person with schizophrenia sees improvement during psychotherapy sessions, it’s likely they’ll need more help learning how to become part of a community. That’s where psychosocial therapy comes in.

Social skills training

This type of instruction focuses on improving communication and social interactions.


Schizophrenia usually develops during critical career-building years. Rehabilitation may include job counseling, problem-solving support, and education in money management.

Family education

Knowledge of psychosis spectrum disorders and schizophrenia can help individuals who love someone with these illnesses. Research shows that people with schizophrenia who have a strong support system do better than those without the encouragement of friends and family.

Self-help groups

Community care and outreach programs to continue working on their social skills.

Coordinated specialty care (CSC)

This is for people experiencing an episode of psychosis spectrum disorders for the first time. It’s a team approach that combines medication and psychological therapies and includes social and employment services. The aim of this program is to change the direction and prognosis for the disease by catching it in its earliest stages. Research shows that people with schizophrenia who get early and intensive treatment have the best long-term results.

Assertive community treatment (ACT)

This offers highly personalized services to help people with schizophrenia meet life’s daily challenges like taking medication. ACT professionals also help handle problems proactively and work to prevent crises.

Social recovery therapy

This treatment puts the focus on helping the patient set and achieve goals and building a sense of optimism and positive beliefs about themselves and others.

Medication Options

Second-Generation Antipsychotic Drugs

These newer medications are less likely to cause certain side effects common with first-generation antipsychotics. However, many medications in this family can cause weight gain and raise blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Changes in nutrition and exercise along with medication intervention can help address these side effects. Second-generation antipsychotic drugs include:

First-Generation Antipsychotic Drugs

You may hear these drugs referred to as typical or conventional. These medications dopamine and are more likely than second-generation antipsychotics to cause significant movement disorders like intense muscle stiffness or tardive dyskinesia. Drugs in this group include:

Residential Treatment Programs

Helpful questions for families to ask when exploring treatment options

Is your facility licensed?

Residential treatment centers are not required to be licensed in all states. However, obtaining licensure ensures the facility is providing a certain quality of service to clients in a safe environment. Licensure also ensures the privacy and confidentiality of patients through oversight and collaboration with the treatment program. If your state licenses programs, the licensing agency website may be a good resource.

What are the staffing ratios in your program? 

Staff-to-client ratios are important in understanding how much direct support and attention your loved one may receive while in treatment.

Are your clinical care providers employed directly by your treatment center or subcontracted to work with you?

Some facilities outsource and contract for their clinical staff and psychiatrists. This can lead to clinical professionals whose focus may be split between other roles or other organizations. 

What mental health disorders do you specialize in treating? 

Understanding specialty areas can help you determine a program’s ability to meet your loved one’s clinical needs. Many residential treatment centers state that they treat co-occurring disorders. They are often referring to mild forms of depression and anxiety. 

How long has your organization been providing treatment services?

Asking how long a treatment center has been operating will help you make an educated decision regarding the amount of experience the treatment program has providing effective clinical services. 

Are you a non-profit or a for-profit organization?

Understanding where your fees are going may help you decide which facility you would like to invest in. Many treatment centers that have opened in recent years are for-profit organizations. 

How does your organization provide individualized care and have the ability to adapt to the changing needs of the client?

Every program advertises individualized care. Few provide it. Ask specifically how the treatment center you are interested in provides individualized care.

How are families involved and supported during the treatment process?

The love and support of family are valuable recovery resources for a person with co-occurring disorders. However, advocating for your loved one can be stressful, confusing, and exhausting. As a result, family members often experience a host of emotions including sadness, guilt, grief, and anger. This means ensuring needed supports are in place for families is an important component of supporting individuals with co-occurring disorders. 

How can I utilize insurance benefits to reduce the overall cost of treatment?

Most treatment programs will be happy to verify your insurance benefits and let you know if your insurance will help cover the cost of treatment. 

Is the length of your program sufficient to address my loved one’s needs?

The necessary amount of treatment differs depending on the type and degree of each individual’s challenges and needs. Clinical research shows that the longer an individual receives treatment, the more favorable the outcome. 

Are the treatments within the program supported by scientific evidence, commonly referred to as evidence-based practices?

When looking into treatment options, it is beneficial to verify that the interventions utilized have been proven to work and are supported by research. 

How do you track long-term progress and outcomes for those receiving treatment in your program?

Capturing and tracking data on participants, services, and outcomes provides a better understanding of the effectiveness of treatment. This not only improves the integrity of the treatment center by holding them accountable to the effectiveness of their services, but it also provides transparency to families seeking treatment by allowing them to compare the value of the services being offered.