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Feature Article

The treatment of schizophrenia: an overlooked ‘duty to care’

Anthony Harris

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Abstract

Schizophrenia remains a challenging illness causing high levels of chronic disability. Identifying the condition early is difficult, medication adherence is problematic, the availability of psychosocial interventions is limited and the poor physical health of people with schizophrenia is often overlooked.

Key Points

  • Early identification and treatment of people with schizophrenia aims to change the longer-term course of the disorder.
  • The poor physical health of people with schizophrenia is often overlooked.
  • Adherence to treatment is especially problematic in people with schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses, and involvement of the family and the local mental health team or the use of depot medication may be necessary.
  • Initial treatments include second-generation antipsychotics and psychosocial interventions.
  • Psychosocial interventions are effective but their availability is limited due to lack of funding and inequitable distribution of resources.

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