Can schizophrenia be managed without medication?Psychiatry Mental Health
Is schizophrenia manageable without medications, such as anti-psychotic medication?
Schizophrenia is thought to be due to abnormal levels of chemicals in the brain. The commonly implicated neurotransmitter is that of dopamine. Many studies have shown that when there is excessive amounts of dopamine, the brain becomes excitable and many abnormal experiences (like hearing voices when there are none, and perceiving things that are not there) can arise.
Schizophrenia is often perceived as a neuro-developmental disorder with a biological basis. The typical age of onset is that of early 20s for males and late 20s for females. In many cases, there is a family history of the disorder. For this disorder, medications is the mainstay of treatment. For patients who recovered after taking their medications, many of them do relapse when their medications are later on stopped.
Apart from medications, cognitive therapy has also been studied as a form of intervention for schizophrenia but oftentimes, the patients who receive cognitive therapy also need to be maintained on medications. Family support for the family is also important for persons with schizophrenia. Many cases also require assistance in their academic pursuits and in getting a job. Hence, the importance of psychosocial interventions.
Thank you for your question. I am a family doctor with special interest in Mental Health. In my experience, the chance of schizophrenia recovering without medications is less than 10% per year.
And the chance drops with the duration of the condition.
Example: the longer the condition, the chance of it recovering without medications drops.
Dr Paul Ang Teng Soon