It’s easy to dwell on the negatives when dealing with schizophrenia, but the truth is, there are many reasons for hope:
· We know, without question, that schizophrenia is a no-fault disorder of the brain and that with appropriate treatment and supports, the illness doesn't necessarily have to have a chronic, deteriorating course. People do and can recover!
· Early diagnosis and the availability of community-based treatment and social supports can restore an individual’s dignity, improve her quality of life, and enable her to make meaningful contributions to her family and community. Your loved one may find a different path than you or she anticipated, but it can still be a good one.
· The ultimate goal of recovery is about more than relief of symptoms. Recovery entails helping people get back to work or school, live with others, and make their own life decisions. Patients and families should accept no less.
· The role of families and friends is critical to recovery. They need to:
§ Support and anchor their loved ones during the acute phases of the illness
§ Help their loved ones find the tools they need to recover and avoid relapse
· Continue to educate themselves to better cope with the challenges they encounter, working individually and collectively to fight stigma and discrimination based on misunderstanding.
Just as scientists now know that there are many different types of cancer, researchers may one day learn that schizophrenia is a family of similar disorders that are currently lumped under one term. This discovery could pave the way for more targeted and personalized treatments. Because the precise causes of schizophrenia are still unknown for any particular individual, scientists are exploring a number of possibilities including genetic, viral, infectious, chemical, developmental, and environmental explanations. There has never been more research being conducted on the causes and cures for schizophrenia than there is today.