Antipsychotic medication is the main treatment for schizophrenia and helps people cope with positive symptoms such as hearing voices, seeing things and having strange beliefs. However, long-term exposure to these drugs has been associated with serious side effects, such as: weight gain; uncontrollable shaking of the head, body or hands; tremors; muscle stiffness; difficulties with walking and balance; sleepiness or apathy; and even death. Some people stop taking their medication as these side effects limit people’s quality of life. Not taking medication can be a contributory factor that leads to relapse and hospitalisation. Against this backdrop, there is cause to consider the role of intermittently administering antipsychotic medication compared to the continuous use of antipsychotic medication.
Read the full summary here: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD006196/intermittent-drug-techniques-for-schizophrenia
From a service user perspective (SUPER), the review notes that the landscape of psychiatric care has transformed dramatically over the past 50 years. There is an increased emphasis placed on a person-centred approach, where people with mental health issues are increasingly treated in outpatient or community settings and have more of a say in what treatment they would prefer. People with mental health issues who are prescribed drug treatment are now more likely to also receive psychological/ supportive therapy.
There is an increasing dialogue between psychiatrists and people with mental health issues about pathways of treatment.
There is also a growing and grassroots based recovery movement, where psychological, counselling and peer support activities help people in their journey toward rehabilitation outside the confines of psychiatry and traditional antipsychotic medication. Often, these new recovery activities are run by people who have experienced mental illness, for people experiencing mental health problems and with people collectively, making it a more holistic and personalised form of treatment.
For example, see: