How has the treatment of schizophrenia progressed and improved?

Between the 1950s and the 1980s, the antipsychotic medications available to treat this devastating mental illness were a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they helped control symptoms like hallucinations and paranoid thoughts. But they also had unpleasant side effects, like muscle stiffness, tremors, and abnormal movements, that grew worse over time.

Thanks to new medicines introduced in the 1990s, people living with schizophrenia can now manage their condition more effectively than ever, and with fewer side effects. These medicines - dubbed "atypical antipsychotics" to distinguish them from earlier, "typical" drugs - also help people whose schizophrenia had not previously responded to treatment, making it possible for them to leave institutionalized care, return to work, and lead normal lives.

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