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Schizophr Res. 2008 Mar;100(1-3):108-19. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2007.12.468. Epub 2008 Jan 15.

Adjunctive psychosocial therapies for the treatment of schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0680, United States. tpatterson@ucsd.edu


Antipsychotic pharmacotherapy is the standard of care for the treatment of schizophrenia. Although pharmacotherapy effectively improves some symptoms, others can remain. Pharmacotherapy alone also tends to produce only limited improvement in social functioning and quality of life. Supportive psychosocial therapies have been used as adjuncts to pharmacotherapy to help alleviate residual symptoms and to improve social functioning and quality of life. Additionally, therapies with psychoeducational components can focus on improving medication adherence and reducing relapse and rehospitalization. This review describes the major psychosocial therapeutic strategies that have been used effectively in patients with schizophrenia (cognitive-behavioral therapy, family intervention, social skills, and cognitive remediation), with emphasis on their utility in improving medication adherence. Therapies that integrate various psychosocial therapeutic approaches are also discussed. It is concluded that psychosocial therapy is an effective adjunct to pharmacotherapy for schizophrenia. However, these therapies vary significantly in the functional domains that they address. It is therefore important to identify the form of psychosocial intervention most likely to benefit the individual patient, and to recognize that the effectiveness of any psychosocial intervention could be influenced by such factors as the presence and severity of psychotic or affective symptoms or cognitive impairment.

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