Thursday, February 22, 2018

Studies On Improving Function In The Case Of Elderly Schizophrenia

May 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Causes

Elderly individuals also suffer from schizophrenia and there are new breakthroughts to the treatment of older patients to retain or revive normal function. This is a very important medical and psychological breakthrough knowing how it will enable patients to lead a normal life and gain independence on a day-to-day basis.

Scientific Studies on Elderly Schizophrenia

A study conducted by the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry delves deep into treatments that would aim to teach patients the need to develop physical independence and improve their quality of life. This study is done despite the advent of medications that have been designed to provide relief against symptoms of schizophrenia.

The research study is spearheaded by Thomas L. Patterson, Ph.D from the University of California, San Diego. He has sought ways to deliver effective treatment methods for old patients of this mental condition, along with other more serious chronic mental disorders. He believes that while medications relieved symptoms, it did nothing to improve one’s mental ability in the real world. Hence, it was the goal of his study to help patients function normally as part of the bigger society, especially with older patients who are most vulnerable to this condition. He is then looking to supplement those lack of skills through various methods that they were able to devise through the study, namely behavioral interventions and the functional adaptive skills training, better known as FAST.

Behavioral Interventions

This is one of the first methods tested by the team of researchers working on improving function in elderly patients of schizophrenia. They believed this method might be most sound and promising for older patients, despite the fact that previous tests done on this method consisted of mostly young patient groups.

Indeed, the possibility of behavioral interventions improving function is a good start to retrain or re-learn the skills that were lost in the process. This is also a cost-efficient approach in treating schizophrenia in elderly individuals given how expensive most treatments are for mental disorders. The emphasis on finding an effective solution for this condition is also becoming more pressing with the rising number of older people affected by schizophrenia.

Functional Adaptive Skills Training or FAST

This treatment approach for improving function in elderly patients of schizophrenia consists of up to 24 sessions to complete the program. Each session typically lasts for up to 2 hours and aims to improve the patient’s ability to deal with routine tasks such as commuting, taking medicine, managing finances, among other basic functions. Several volunteers with an average age of 32 underwent the FAST method to assess its effectiveness, especially with participants having a history of psychotic mood disorders and not just schizophrenia.

The results turned up that those who underwent FAST treatment method showed significant improvement in dealing with everyday tasks. These effects persistent for about 3 months succeeding the treatment.

Conclusion of Study

The main goal behind the study of using unconventional approaches to treating schizophrenia such as behavioral intervention and functional adaptive skills training is to help the patient deal with the variables of everyday life, such that they can easily manage the real world and all of its complexities. Judging by that objective, the research study showed some excellent results. Although the rehabilitation success showed up in tiny increments, it was significant enough to improve real world functioning on the patient.

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