Treatments for Schizophrenia:


Introduction & Major Tranquilisers:

  • Before the introduction of phenoziathines there was no effective treatment and long-stay wards were very unpleasant.
  • Patients often required physical restraints such as straight-jackets and padded cells - since the 1950's, the widespread use of antipsychotics drugs have allowed schizophrenics to be treated in a more humane way - drug therapies have revolutionalised the treatment of psychotic disorders as they've reduced amount of time patients spend in hopsitals.
  • Major tranquilizers were first introduced to calm patients down before surgery - then the intro of anti-psychotics like Phenozthines made the disturbing symptoms of schizophrenia less distrubing.
  • They're useful for the positive symptoms & they work by blocking the D2 receptor for dopamine.
  • Although been criticised as they don't affect the negative symptoms, also bad side effects to the drug i.e. Parkinson-like side effects "tardive dyskinesie" which is irreversible - other side effects like inner restlessness.
  • Also, some schizophrenics have to be given other drugs to counteract the side effects & these occur in up to 30% patients that take Phenoziathines.
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Research Evidence & CBT:

  • Sane (2007) stated that antipsychotics reduce the positive symptoms in 80% of patients - may reduce the positive symptoms but it does not cure schizophrenia or its underlying cause - if you stop taking these drugs, symptoms will reappear meaning these behavioural  therapies need improving.

CBT: Token Economies - A more recent discovery is cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT) - Incoherent speech and muteness can be a problem as Michembaum found an improvement in coherent speech using token economies and social reinforcementt groups compared to controls.

  • He found an improvement in speech when using the methods of token economies, although some criticised his research as the coherent speech was only automaton, it wasn't clear utterances/sentences - it only demand for objects or items of food.
  • Another CBT that looked into hallucinations was carried out - use of punishments such as electric shock and white noise have been used to reduce halluncinations in schizophrenics.
  • Findings in studies indicate some reduction in frequency, duration and intensity of the halluncations - found to be usccessful.
  • Although, doesn't help to try and find the underlying cause - only a small no. of patients willing to carry out therapies like this one. success is limited & lacks controls.
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CBT: Delusions & Conclusion:

  • Trying to find ways of curing delusions - (another positive symptom) Watts et al (1973) - carried out a study on 3 patients - asked them to recall facts about their most frequent delusion. Once participants had recalled info about their delusion, it stopped them from haivng another one.
  • Treating delusions is a helpful method of reducing the disturbing symptoms of the disorder - although this type of CBT doesn't address the disorder, only focuses on tackling the symptom - also as the sample size of 3 is small, difficult to generalise findings.


  • To conclude, behavioural therapies like anti-psychotics are good at combating the positive symptoms of schizoprenia but poor at relieving the patient of negative symptoms.
  • Furthermore, side effects from antipsychotics likePhenoziathines are extremely dangerous & some patients even  have to take more drugs to counter-act them.
  • Also, CBT therapies are a relatively new treatment so may still need improvements. Attempts have been made to reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia such as hallucinations, delusions & distrubance of speech but only to some success:
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