Common schizophrenia symptoms often overlooked by physicians, according to expert panel

NEW YORK, NY (March 7, 2005) Treatment of schizophrenia has largely focused on controlling positive symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions, while another set of symptoms that are equally important to patients is frequently overlooked by physicians, according to the findings of a new national consumer survey and the authors of a new consensus statement aimed at raising the bar for the treatment of the brain disease.

Comprehensive treatment of all schizophrenia symptoms is possible and many people with schizophrenia can now recover in ways not previously thought possible, according to the panel of nationally recognized psychiatrists and psychologists whose discussions and recommendations are published in a supplement to the current issues of Primary Psychiatry and CNS Spectrums (CNS Spectr. 2005;10(2 Suppl 1):1-16). A copy of the supplement can also be accessed at http://www.mblcommunications.com/proceedings.php3.

"Traditionally, physicians have been oriented to treating schizophrenia by preventing symptoms from getting worse, rather than helping the person continue to get better beyond their current level of symptoms and functioning," said Peter J. Weiden, MD, professor of psychiatry and director of the Schizophrenia Research Service at State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, an author of the statement. "But we now know that by taking a long-term focus and tackling a broader range of symptoms, many patients do steadily improve so that they can function better, and live fuller, more complete lives."

While medications to treat schizophrenia's positive symptoms (such as hallucinations, delusions, and disorganization) have existed since the mid-20th century, newer medications introduced in the early 1990s, known as atypical antipsychotics, also control the often overlooked symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts, and problems remembering

Contact: Elaine Metcalf
Chandler Chicco Agency

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