These disorders include schizophrenia, psychotic disorders and schizotypal (personality) disorder. They are characterized by abnormalities in one or more of the following five domains: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, abnormal motor behavior and negative symptoms (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Schizophrenia is generally typified by problems with social functioning and self-care skills. CBT for schizophrenia, as well as ACT and DBT, are effective treatments.

Key features that define the psychotic disorders:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized Thinking (Speech)
  • Grossly Disorganized or Abnormal Motor Behavior (Including Catatonia)
  • Negative Symptoms

What is the treatment for schizophrenia?

The standard of care for schizophrenia is medication combined with some form of therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), as well as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) are effective in treating schizophrenia.

Cognitive-behavioral interventions focus on relapse prevention and psychoeducation. Educating individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia on identification of symptoms of schizophrenia, as well as the importance of taking medications is an integral part of treatment. Understanding how symptoms manifest for each individual is an essential part of treatment.

Additionally, working to validate, accept, and also manage feelings about having a persistent mental illness like schizophrenia, as well as the signs of the illness, may be an integral part of treatment.

An effective treatment for individuals with schizophrenia is DBT. The therapist can work with individuals with schizophrenia in DBT to eliminate life-threatening behaviors and reduce therapy interfering behaviors. DBT can also help an individual with social skills training. Social skills training helps individuals manage and reduce environmental stress. These strategies can help a person with schizophrenia deal effectively with hallucinations and delusions. An individual is taught to identify triggers in order to prevent or minimize schizophrenic episodes.