There’s always hope

Thanks to advances in research, we now know that there are a variety of effective treatments for psychosis, especially when treated early. With effective treatment, many people recover.

Optimal treatment of first episode psychosis is comprehensive and individualized, with a focus on the biological, psychological and social aspects of the disorder. It also involves the patient’s family members, since they are often the major caregivers and sources of support.

The goals of effective treatment of first episode psychosis include:

  • reducing or eliminating symptoms
  • improving social and occupational functioning
  • promoting healthy development
  • treating and preventing other conditions like depression and substance abuse
  • preventing further psychotic episodes

How it works

Although the effective treatment of early psychosis is tailored to each individual, there are some common features in each treatment plan. These include:

Medication: Anti-psychotic medication is essential for the treatment of psychosis. At times, other medications like sedatives or hypnotics are also necessary to treat other symptoms like anxiety, depression or sleep problems.

Education: Depending on the situation, we provide education to the patient and family on an individual or group basis. We’ll provide information about the illness, available treatments, how to promote recovery and how to prevent future illness episodes.

Psychosocial interventions: Psychosocial interventions are critical to treatment for a number of reasons. They help the individual:

  • maintain a sense of self
  • understand the experience of psychosis
  • minimize the loss of social, educational and vocational skills

Support: People require different levels of support as they begin the recovery process, but it’s often helpful to involve a friend, family member or member of the mental health team.

They may also require assistance in structuring daily activities, and planning training and vocational skills.

Optimism: Young people with early psychosis and their families need to know that they can get better. Early diagnosis and current improvements in treatment give reason for this hope and optimism.

Where do individuals go for treatment?

Ideally, treatment begins on an outpatient basis before crises occur, but inpatient treatment may be necessary if the symptoms are severe. If, for example, there is significant risk of self-harm or aggression, and insufficient supports in the community, it’s better for the individual to be treated as an inpatient.

In some cases, actively psychotic individuals who pose a significant risk of harming themselves or others must be involuntarily hospitalized and treated.