Individuals with Early-Stage Schizophrenia have Better Outcomes when Receiving Both Psychosocial Treatment and Antipsychotic Medication

With most psychiatric disorders, medication alone is rarely the most effective treatment. A recent study shows that the same is true for schizophrenia, a very serious condition that affects approximately 1% of the adult population in the U.S.

For those who have early-stage schizophrenia, the research found that combining psychosocial treatment along with antipsychotic medication results in a better overall outcome than medication treatment by itself. According to the study, early-stage schizophrenics who receive both types of treatment are more likely to have a better quality of life, improved social interactions, and better insight than those who are treated with medication only. Also, the research suggests that they are less likely to relapse, and also more likely to continue with their treatment regimen.

The study was conducted by two doctors at the Second Xiangya Hospital at Central South University in Hunan, China. Jinguo Zhai, M.D. and Xiaofeng Guo, M.D. looked at the results of combining medication therapy and psychosocial treatment (which consisted of 48 groups sessions lasting one hour each) on 1,268 patients who had early-stage schizophrenia. The time span was just under 3 years starting in January of 2005 and ending in October 2007.

Their research is published in the September 2010 edition of Archives of General Psychiatry.

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