Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness which leads to a situation where an individual loses touch with reality and has disturbances in their emotions, thoughts and behaviour further leading to impairments in overall functioning.
A person with schizophrenia may experience hallucinations (hearing voices, seeing people, having a bitter taste in the mouth, feeling something is crawling on them), delusions (feeling people are against them or trying to kill them, feeling they are special and have special powers to help people, feeling their spouse is cheating on them), negative symptoms (where the person socially withdraws, doesn’t feel like doing activities, personal hygiene and self-care decreases).
Because of chronic schizophrenia, patients start to face difficulties in different areas of their life owing to disturbances in their social and work life. In addition to this, there is a loss in community/social interactions, learning skills and communication skills. These symptoms can lead to a loss in the functioning of a person which results in more dependency on the caregivers. For this reason, it becomes important to address them during the course of treatment.
How does Rehabilitation work?
Rehabilitation is a process aimed at bringing the affected person to resume his / her normal life to its normal level of functioning. Areas such as physical, mental, emotional, social and occupational are important to consider in this journey. In addition to this, a collaborative team of professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and nurses work together to help patients in achieving the highest level of functioning during their journey of rehabilitation.
The Pharmacological Management:-The approach to the treatment is based on the biopsychosocial model. The first step towards the treatment would be managing the acute difficulties such as symptoms of the patient such as hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech and negative symptoms. These are managed using a pharmacological treatment like antipsychotics and clinical observation in the inpatient department.
Psychological Management:- Psychosocial aspects are also addressed side by side. After managing patients symptomatically, psychological management therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, and cognitive remediation therapy are planned. Additionally, family-based interventions along with education about the signs and symptoms of illness are carried out with the patient and caregiver/family.
Rehabilitation of schizophrenic patients:-
Along with the medicines and psychological treatment, it becomes important to address issues related to the functionality of the affected person and help him get back to their normal functioning.
Here comes the role of social workers and occupational therapists. They train patients in skills required for independent functioning. It includes skills required for maintaining personal hygiene and self-care, understanding emotions, managing technology, money management, training in vocational skills, making a plan for sustainable occupational, communication skills etc.
These social workers and occupational therapists engage patients in meaningful occupations to keep them occupied and to support them financially. Apart from this, they help patients by providing them with social honours such as patient disability certificates and schemes available in the state for people with disability.