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CNS Spectr. 2008 Feb;13(2 Suppl 1):1-10; quiz 11-2.

Update on the treatment and management of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

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  • 1Mental Health Research Center, Eastern State Hospital, Lexington, KY, USA.


Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are two debilitating mental health disorders, both of which manifest early in adulthood and are associated with severe impairment as well as increased suicide risk. In addition, factors affecting disease severity, such as substance abuse, are often prevalent in these patient populations. In the United States, the prevalence of bipolar disorder is believed to be approximately 3.5%, while the rate for schizophrenia is approximately 1%. Although each disorder presents with its own symptom profile, the approaches to treatment are similar and include early diagnosis and use of psychosocial therapy. Research initiatives, such as genetic studies, are used in both disorders as well. For schizophrenia, treatment typically includes the combination of an antipsychotic and psychosocial intervention. For bipolar disorder, clinicians commonly prescribe mood-stabilizing drugs (eg, lithium, valproic acid) as first-line treatment. Many of the second-generation antipsychotics have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for bipolar disorder treatment in the manic phase. Patients who are affected by either disorder also face the challenges of treatment nonadherence, which can be affected by substance abuse and can hinder symptom remission as well as spur unnecessary medication switches due to nonresponse. Family members play a key role in the treatment of either disorder. This expert review supplement focuses on treatment options and research strategies being utilized for the management and advanced understanding of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Research examining the pharmacology of commonly used medications for the treatment of both disorders is also presented.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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