A BBC News article has written about how talking therapies can be just as effective as medication for treating schizophrenia. This is exactly what I've been saying all along! The article, which can be found here, says that 4 in 10 patients find antipsychotic medication to be helpful, stating:
"The drugs do not work for the majority and they cause side-effects such as type 2 diabetes and weight gain."
In comparison, they state that talking therapies, "Worked in 46% of patients" but was only "available to less than 10% of patients in the UK with schizophrenia."
I've always said that talking therapies helped me and that I was fortunate to receive it. I had lived with the symptoms of schizophrenia for four years before receiving therapy and while I was extremely negative about how it could help me at first, it proved to be the key to helping me recover.
In my therapy sessions, my psychologist helped me to see that my voices weren't real, which was a massive turning point for me. Once I could see that they weren't real, the voices lost their power over me. I started recovering quite quickly and within six months, my voices had gone, the intrusive thoughts were drastically reduced and I was well on my way to recovery. The period of wellness lasted for two and a half years before surgery caused me to relapse.
This time around, I've not been offered talking therapy. While my symptoms are better than they were, they are not as good as they were compared to how they were after I received talking therapy last time. I am still hopeful that I will be offered talking therapy soon, but at the moment, it's not in the pipeline.
Whenever someone contacts me and asks what the best help for schizophrenia is, I always say talking therapy. Medication can be helpful for some, I've seen first hand how they can be helpful, so I don't try and put people off taking it, but talking therapy is my number one suggestion.
Bottom line, I would recommend talking therapies to anyone who has the symptoms of a schizophrenic illness. Its only side effect is feeling a bit drained after the sessions. The benefits far outweigh the side effect in my opinion so if anyone is looking for help, I would recommend asking for talking therapy. What have you got to lose?!