Problems in cognitive function occur early in people affected with schizophrenia. Cognitive impairment is a frequent symptom occurring in nonelderly patients with schizophrenia or other brain disorders that involve degenerative changes.
Treating cognitive symptoms through cognitive enhancement remains a clinically unresolved issue. To date, there is no effective treatment available to enhance cognitive function in patients with schizophrenia. However, research and trials are underway for several medications and other treatments, such as psychosocial therapy.
7 types of treatments for cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia
- Antipsychotic medications may work for positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia, but they do not work well to treat the cognitive symptoms.
- Studies suggest some newer antipsychotic medications may help treat the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia, such as:
- Psychosocial therapy
- Psychosocial therapy or treatment involves cognitive remediation, supported employment, social skills training, psychotherapy, and family intervention.
- The therapy aims to:
- Make the person have a few or stable symptoms
- Avoid hospitalization
- Enable the person to manage their funds and medications
- Allow the person to work or study in school until at least half-time
- Cognitive remediation
- Cognitive impairment affects a person’s work, social relationships, and independent living.
- Cognitive remediation is a treatment based on the idea that the brain has some plasticity, and brain exercises can encourage the brain cells (neurons) to grow and can develop the neurological pathways that are fundamental to many mental activities.
- Numerous different models of cognitive remediation are available. Some involve using computers, whereas others help people develop strategies to improve areas of weakness.
- Cognitive remediation techniques involve labor and time. Because persons affected with schizophrenia have various degrees of cognitive symptoms, customized cognitive remediation techniques work best. When combined with other therapies, such as supported employment, cognitive remediation improves cognitive function.
- Social skills training
- Social skills training involves equipping the affected person with interpersonal skills: how to relate to other people.
- By learning the right techniques, a person with schizophrenia can live an independent life. For example, the sessions involve role-playing that includes making small talk and maintaining eye contact while interacting with others.
- Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, involves the affected person working with a therapist to learn more about the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that cause the symptoms.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective type of psychotherapy that can help reformulate how a person with schizophrenia recognizes, understands, and manages symptoms.
- Vocational rehabilitation (supported employment)
- More than half of the people with serious psychiatric disorders are capable of employment, and most of them want to work. However, they may face difficulties while looking for jobs due to factors, such as sensitivity to stress, symptoms, social anxiety, and stigma, on the part of employers.
- Therapy that aims toward supporting employment helps overcome these hurdles. This involves assisting the person with job searching, designing jobs that suit the person and providing continued support during employment.
- Family intervention
- The family intervention involves teaching the family members to recognize the symptoms of schizophrenia in their loved ones and techniques for dealing with them.
- Schizophrenia affects the person’s whole family, and the family’s responses can affect the trajectory of the person’s illness. The family is taught how to create a safe and calm environment to prevent relapses of schizophrenia.
- The family members of affected people can join The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), which is an advocacy group that supports family members of people affected with mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia.
What else can affected people do on their own for their cognitive symptoms?
Engaging their intellectual muscles daily will help people affected with schizophrenia improve their cognitive functions and fight off cognitive symptoms.
- This can stimulate positive feedback activity in the brain so that the pathways involved in the mental processes are maintained.
- This can be done by performing activities that the person enjoys or is interested in. For example, they can read books on their topic of interest or solve puzzles.
Some may want to learn new things or master hobbies, such as singing, a new language, archery, or playing chess. Anything that involves exercising the brain can help improve cognitive functions.
What are cognitive functions?
Cognitive functions mean the intellectual functions of the brain. They enable a person to acquire and process information and knowledge. It drives an individual’s understanding and actions in their environment.
With aging, people experience cognitive changes, including a decline in processing speed, memory, and language. Therefore, elderly people require a longer time to grasp, learn, store and recall information.
- After Salmonella Cases Double in a Week, Cantaloupe Recall Expanded
- COVID Vaccines Curbed Pandemic-Linked Surge in Preemie Births
- Could a 'Brain Coach' Help Folks at Higher Risk for Alzheimer's?
- Early Promise for Stem Cell Therapy to Curb MS
- Internet Poses No Threat to Mental Health, Major Study Finds
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Frankenburg FR. Schizophrenia Treatment & Management. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/288259-treatment#showall
Hsu WY, Lane HY, Lin CH. Medications Used for Cognitive Enhancement in Patients With Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Alzheimer's Disease, and Parkinson's Disease. Front Psychiatry. 2018 Apr 4;9:91. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29670547
Top Treat Cognitive Symptoms of Schizophrenia Related Articles
What Are the Best Treatments for Schizophrenia? Can It Be Treated Naturally?Learn what medical treatments and natural treatments can ease your schizophrenia symptoms and help you manage this mental health condition.
Bipolar Disorder vs. SchizophreniaBipolar disorder and schizophrenia are mental illnesses that share some risk factors and treatments. Symptoms of bipolar disorder include mood changes and manic and depressive episodes. Symptoms of schizophrenia include unusual behavior, delusions, and hallucinations. Check out the center below for more medical references on mental illnesses, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related disease conditions, treatment and diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
Can You Be Bipolar and Schizophrenic?Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have similar symptoms, which can make them hard to diagnose. Sometimes people have both disorders, or they have a mix of symptoms from both conditions at the same time or close together, which is called schizoaffective disorder.
How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treat Depression?Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) uses cognitive strategies to help people change patterns in the way they think and behavioral strategies to help people change behaviors that aren't helpful. CBT can help people with mild-to-moderate major depressive disorder.
Do Schizophrenics Feel Emotions?Schizophrenia is a major mental illness that affects how the brain processes information. Research on schizophrenia and emotions has revealed that people with schizophrenia lack the ability to recognize and express emotion.
What Would Be an Example of a Screening Test Used for Cognitive Impairment?Examples of common screening tests used for cognitive impairment include Mini-Cog, Mini-Mental State Exam, and Montreal Cognitive Assessment.
How Grief Can Affect Your HealthGrief is a natural part of life, but it can cause some health issues, at least for a while. Find out how grief can affect your body and what you can do about it.
Mental HealthMental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under the umbrella of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, and substance-abuse disorders are common types of mental illness. Symptoms and signs of mental illness include irritability, moodiness, insomnia, headaches, and sadness. Treatment may involve psychotherapy and medication.
Mental Health: Signs You're Mentally ExhaustedAre you irritable, tired, and finding it hard to focus? You may be mentally exhausted. Learn the signs and how to feel better.
SchizophreniaSchizophrenia is a disabling brain disorder that may cause hallucinations and delusions and affect a person's ability to communicate and pay attention. Symptoms of psychosis appear in men in their late teens and early 20s and in women in their mid-20s to early 30s. With treatment involving the use of antipsychotic medications and psychosocial treatment, schizophrenia patients can lead rewarding and meaningful lives.
Schizophrenia QuizSchizophrenia is a complex psychiatric disorder. Learn more about the challenges of mental illness with the Schizophrenia Quiz.
What Are Examples of Cognitive Deficits?Examples of cognitive deficits include memory difficulties, changes in behavior, mood swings, agitation, trouble learning, and more.
What Are the Types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy. It helps people manage their emotional and behavioral problems by changing the way they perceive the world and react to it.
Mental Health: Where to Get Mental Health HelpWhen you think of mental health, lying on a couch in a therapist’s office may come to mind. But there are other options, and some are low-cost or even free. Here’s what you need to know.