When someone is diagnosed with schizophrenia, specific therapeutic and medication options are employed as the first line of attack. Still, for some people, these methods don’t provide the effect they hope for. These people may be diagnosed with treatment-resistant schizophrenia. When this happens, the individual and their family may assume all hope is lost. New View Wellness in Atlanta provides treatment specifically designed for this population. With our help, the person can make progress in managing their symptoms and enjoying a higher quality of life. 

What is Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that does not have a cure but can be managed with professional treatment. People who have this mental health disorder often experience symptoms that inhibit their ability to function well in life. Despite stereotypes that exist about how people with schizophrenia can be violent or dangerous, most schizophrenics do not fit that bill. With consistent, professional treatment, most schizophrenics are able to live with their families, in group homes, or on their own. 

When someone receives a diagnosis of schizophrenia, a treatment that includes prescription drugs will begin. If, after six weeks of treatment that includes consistently taking two or more antipsychotic medications, the person experiences little to no change, they may be diagnosed with treatment-resistant schizophrenia. In fact, up to 30% of those with schizophrenia fall under the heading of having treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Even if a person initially responds to treatment to a degree, if their symptoms remain moderate to severe and cripple their ability to live their lives, this can also be classified as treatment-resistant schizophrenia. 

What Are the Symptoms of Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is typically diagnosed somewhere from an individual’s late teen years to their early 30s. The onset happens earlier in males. When someone has treatment-resistant schizophrenia, some common symptoms may occur. These include:

  • Cognitive difficulties, including disorganized thoughts
  • Alogia (poor speech quality)
  • Disorganized behaviors
  • Appearing to have diminished emotions or none at all
  • Difficulty becoming motivated
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Withdrawn socially
  • Difficulty experiencing pleasure

What Causes a Person To Develop Schizophrenia?

A variety of things are thought to contribute to the development of schizophrenia. Genetics can play a role, as they do with many mental health disorders. Someone who has a family history of schizophrenia has an increased chance of having it. As well, a person’s brain chemistry and brain structure can contribute to developing this challenging mental health disorder. 

Other situations that can contribute to developing schizophrenia include complications that happen during birth, such as the baby not getting enough oxygen. Extremely stressful life events can also factor into schizophrenia. A combination of physical, psychological, and environmental factors can combine with genetics and result in a person developing schizophrenia.

What Happens in a Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia Program?

The medical community continues to conduct studies in order to understand more about treatment-resistant schizophrenia. The American Psychiatric Association recommends the usage of the medication clozapine for patients who do not respond significantly to the usual treatments for schizophrenia. 

Clozapine is referred to as a second-generation antipsychotic or an atypical antipsychotic medication and helps change activity in the brain. Currently, clozapine is the only FDA-approved drug used for treatment-resistant schizophrenia. It helps reduce the occurrence of suicidal behavior. The drug is taken once or twice a day and is available in a tablet or liquid form. It helps treat symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations and improves the individual’s moods and behaviors. This medication helps to create a better balance of chemicals produced in the brain including dopamine and serotonin. As a result, the person feels an improvement in their moods, how they think, and their behavior.  

Other treatments used to try to bring about more positive results for treatment-resistant schizophrenia include increasing the dosage of medications taken and using a combination of several medications. Other alternatives include brain stimulation therapies such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), deep brain stimulation, and electroconvulsive therapy.

Someone attending treatment for schizophrenia can take advantage of the family therapy services that are offered. Family members, friends, and caretakers meet with the facility’s therapist in order to understand how to help the person receiving treatment. Having family support and social support can make a huge difference in a person’s life, especially when treatment-resistant schizophrenia occurs. Treatment facilities can also connect the individual and their families with a social worker and options for finding help within their own neighborhoods and communities. 

Get Quality Treatment in Atlanta, GA

When schizophrenia affects a person, the results can be heartbreaking to watch. This proves especially true if the person has treatment-resistant schizophrenia. However, there’s no reason to give up hope. New View Wellness in Atlanta created a schizophrenia treatment center to help people facing the challenge of this mental health disorder. Our highly skilled staff of therapists, doctors, and other clinicians employs modern methods to help someone better manage their symptoms. We also involve the family so that everyone has a better understanding of how to tackle this mental illness. 
If you would like to talk about how we can help you or someone you love, visit our admissions page now. Help is closer than you may think.