Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness in which a person can lose contact with reality and may experience hallucinations and delusions among other symptoms. This site examines the many aspects of schizophrenia and the types of treatment available.

Illness of the Brain

After years of research and millions of dollars spent on developing treatments, we know that schizophrenia is a physical illness. Brain chemistry and brain activity are different in a person who is suffering from schizophrenia compared to a person without schizophrenia.

Like other illnesses, schizophrenia...

- has diagnosable symptoms and signs.
- is a physical illness.
- can be inherited.
- gets better with medication.
- gets worse without treatment.

for further information on Schizophrenia

Day to Day Living

Finding a living situation where you are happy

One of the keys to staying healthy is having a stable home with low levels of stress. Try to find a place to live where you will be happy. Perhaps for you, this means living on your own, living with your family or living in a home with others who have schizophrenia. Where you decide to live will depend on your needs and personal preferences. Your clinician can help you determine the right living situation.

Dealing with employment issues

Getting a job may make you more independent, which may improve your life. You can develop your work skills through job education and training. Ask your doctor or clinician about the support resources available to you. It is likely that there are vocational rehabilitation counselors at your clinic who can help you find a job. Remember that getting a job is only the first step. The next (and maybe more important) step is keeping your job.

The following are a few tips to help you keep your job:

• Know your limits and stress tolerances. This may mean working only a few hours a week when you first begin a job.

• Don 't keep frustrations or concerns about work to yourself; others can help you find solutions and distinguish major problems from minor problems.

Types of Medication

Today, antipsychotic medications are frequently prescribed to people with schizophrenia to alleviate symptoms. Each medication has its own set of advantages and drawbacks. Your doctor will prescribe a medication based on your unique set of symptoms and medical history.

Recently, a new class of drugs known as serotonin-dopamine antagonists has been found to effectively treat the symptoms of schizophrenia for some patients better than previous medications. Unlike other antipsychotic medications, this type of drug blocks both dopamine and serotonin transmissions. Clozaril, Risperdal, Zyprexa, and Seroquel are four newer antipsychotic medications which have effectively treated both the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

Many people with schizophrenia find that their symptoms are alleviated with older antipsychotic medications, which are divided into groups depending on their potency. Potency is a measure of how much of the drug is needed to effectively treat the symptoms of schizophrenia. If a drug is low potency, more of it is needed to relieve the symptoms of schizophrenia. A high potency drug can be taken in a smaller amount to be effective. Medium potency drugs are effective in relieving the symptoms of schizophrenia when a medium-sized dose is taken.

Low Potency

Medium Potency

High Potency

Mellaril (thioridazine) Loxitane(loxapine) Haldol (haloperidol)
Serentil (mesoridazine) Moban or Lindone (molindone) Navane (thiothixene)
Sparine (promazine) Tindal (acetophenazine) Prolixin or Permitil(fluphenazine)
Taractan (chlorprothixene) Trilafon (perphenazine) Orap (pimozide)
Thorazine (chlorpromazine) Stelazine (trifluroperazine)
Vesprin (triflupromazine)


Schizophrenia is treated with medication, therapy or a combination of the two. In severe cases, a hospital stay may be necessary.

Medication is used to alleviate the symptoms of schizophrenia. The drawback to medication is that there are some side effects and risks. Some people might have another medical condition that may interfere with antipsychotic medications.

Therapy is often effective in addition to medication treatment. Research has shown that group, art, music, and recreational therapy are helpful for people with schizophrenia. Therapists help patients understand and cope with their illnesses.

Hospitalization may be necessary when neither medication nor therapy treats schizophrenia as quickly or thoroughly as a person and his/her doctor would like. Many people with schizophrenia are hospitalized at the onset of their symptoms and then are treated as outpatients thereafter.