An important feature of this efforts to rehabilitate the patient is Family Counseling where the family can discuss the patient, his problems and theirs with a professional psychiatrist and be given guidance on how to treat the patient and how best to aid the recovery process.
All aspects of this program are important although it must be emphasized that medication, as prescribed, should never be neglected, even in case of substantial improvement, since that may lead to a relapse . The overall result of such a comprehensive approach to the treatment of schizophrenia is that the patient not only improves as a result of medication, but as he becomes proficient at some trade and continues his counseling sessions, also recovers his self-esteem and become more confident of his place in society.
In India, we now have Clozapine and Risperidone and Olanzapine is expected to be introduced shortly.
What is the extent of recovery possible ?
The extent of recovery possible is dependent to a great extent on the stage at which treatment is begun. This underlines the necessity for early identification and early treatment. It is possible in may cases to fully rehabilitate the patient with medication and psycho-social therapy- if the illness had been identified in the early stage. However, even if the patient has returned to normal functioning, a periodic check-up with a psychiatrist is advised.
Current figures show that:
About 30-40% register complete recovery
About 30-40% are seen to be partially recovered’ (This means they will improve but need continuous medication) and about 20-30% become chronic.(They may improve but never be fully recovered.)