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Does early diagnosis and treatment keep schizophrenia from getting worse?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
Without early intervention and treatment, people with schizophrenia tend to get worse. The National Institutes of Health states that an early diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia might be extremely helpful in reducing some of the most difficult symptoms of the illness. Doctors today use accurate and reliable medical and psychological tests to diagnose schizophrenia, which is beneficial to those suffering with the illness. One day, it may be possible to use quick and easy screening tests to identify those at risk of developing schizophrenia. Until then, the National Alliance of Mental Illness encourages the family members and friends of those with schizophrenia to ensure that those affected get the care they need. If you know someone with symptoms of schizophrenia, encourage him or her to see a health professional or psychiatrist. 
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Anytime something goes wrong or feels off (ranging from a bad cut to feeling down or not yourself), the sooner you deal with it, the better. Imagine a bad cut that you get doing work around the house. You’re so excited to be almost done with your to-do list, so you just wrap it up with a paper towel and decide to deal with it later, but you never end up washing it or bandaging it with something that actually keeps germs out, so it gets infected and is even more painful than what caused the cut in the first place. If you continue to neglect it, the infection could spread, causing a whole host of other issues. While dealing with a bad cut pales in comparison to coping with schizophrenia, the implications of not treating both early are the same. While there is no cure for schizophrenia just yet (free trip to Sweden for whoever figures it out!), medication and therapy can reduce disabling symptoms that prevent you from completing everyday tasks. They also teach you what signs to look out for if an episode is coming and how to cope with your symptoms in a positive way. The sooner you learn these and get symptoms in check, the less debilitating and disabling the condition will be.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.