Vineet, a 35 year male was brought to Tulasi health care by his sister for treatment of paranoid schizophrenia, 6 months back. There was history of treatment in past but not on regular basis. He was actively hallucinating and delusional when he was brought to us. He was started on anti-psychotic medicines and gradually he started improving. Cognitive behaviour therapy was initiated to counter his symptoms, slowly he started showing improvement. He developed insight about his problems and was able to identify his irrational thinking pattern.
Recovery from mental condition is a lifelong process. From time to time, monitoring of treatment is required or psychological observation is necessary. Medication is an essential part of treatment but cognitive behaviour therapy encourages one to live healthy and meaningful life. It is well known that schizophrenia is a long-term mental illness that makes distinguishing between real and unreal difficult, weakens thinking power and result in development of abnormal social behaviour. CBT works on these areas by improving thinking, self-esteem and social functioning. It is a universally approved treatment for schizophrenia.
Cognitive behaviour therapy is an evidence-based talking therapy that brings cognitive and behavioural changes. CBT technique is administered in order to find out distortions in thinking style. Thoughts and beliefs are examined for their truth by encouraging the patient to probe the evidence and reason. For example, a patient under the influence of schizophrenia believes that he is under surveillance, therefore he is asked to give a validation for his belief. The CBT therapist asks the patient questions such as how do you believe that it is happening? Can you give any example of that, what are the causes for this to happen etc…
One of the most famous techniques in CBT is “reality testing”. It is done on a patient with schizophrenia by a group of well experienced therapist. For example, a patient who believes in the existence of a big moth that can eat people is encouraged to find some evidence of the existence of the moth and therapist helps the patient to discover that such insects cannot harm people and cannot live more than 1-2 weeks.
Behavioural experiments are a leading part of CBT test. In this, therapists help the patient to know that the things happening around are not intended to threaten him. Both delusions and hallucinations show improvement through CBT. The treatment area of CBT is vast and new development is still going on in the field, including mindfulness-based approaches, acceptance and commitment therapy, meta-cognitive therapy etc…
Diagnosis of schizophrenia can be devastating but it doesn’t mean one cannot live a meaningful life. Early diagnosis and right treatment can improve the health and mental condition. So, if one is worried about the possibility of schizophrenia, visit a mental health specialist right away. There are two broad symptoms of schizophrenia—positive and negative. Talk to your doctor about the symptoms, so that an early diagnosis and treatment can be initiated.
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