Schizophrenia Treatment - Psychosocial Interventions Help Prevent Relapses

The results of a recently conducted Cochrane systematic review indicate that likelihood of a schizophrenic patient relapsing could be significantly reduced if their families received psychosocial interventions that are specifically designed to reduce their levels of criticism and hostility towards the patient. Although the efficacy of such psychosocial interventions are yet to be proved through controlled trials, they are widely used as a part of the overall treatment strategy of schizophrenic patients, and have been reported as being quite effective.

Fiona Pharoah, of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom, who was the lead researcher in this latest review, issued the following statement regarding the potential of these psychosocial interventions: “Prevention of relapse is a cornerstone of psychiatric care. If high quality family services are available, mental health professionals and managers may feel that family interventions are a worthwhile investment of time and effort for schizophrenic patients.”

John Rathbone, of the Health Economics and Decision Science department at the University of Sheffield, who co-authored this review, also highlighted the need for a large scale, controlled trial to establish the actual efficacy of these psychosocial interventions in the prevention of relapses in schizophrenic patients: “We still need a better designed large study to settle arguments about this widely used therapy. Some of the important data within the studies that were reviewed were poorly reported and patients might have reason to feel let down by the research community in these cases.”

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