Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Improves Quality of Life for Schizophrenia Patients

Most patients diagnosed with schizophrenia will be prescribed one or more medications for the rest of their life. Left untreated in any form, symptoms of the condition can disrupt personal relationships, make it difficult for the person to maintain employment and education, and interfere with their ability to care for themselves. In recent years, some have come to question whether medication is an appropriate first response to early signs of schizophrenia. Now, a new study finds that pairing the standard approach (medication) with a psychosocial intervention such as cognitive behavioral therapy results in greatly improved quality of life over medication alone.

The decision to find a therapist the individual is comfortable with is an important first step. But along with cognitive behavioral therapy, this most recent study also provided patients with three other psychosocial treatments: family intervention (teaching socializing and coping skills), psychoeducation (providing information on mental health to families and other caregivers), and skills training. Compared to people who received medication only, individuals who participated in these interventions were more likely to stay on their medication, stay in treatment, retain employment, and stay in school. They also “exhibited greater improvements in insight, social functioning, activities of daily living, and [in] four domains of quality of life.”

This study provides insight into creating a better quality of life not just for people diagnosed with schizophrenia, but also for anyone dealing with a mental health issue, no matter how small. The study not only illustrates therapy’s tangible value, but the emphasis on familial education and skills training can also be expanded to the public at large. The more we understand about mental health, what it means, and what it doesn’t mean, the better equipped we are to dissolve stigma and create psychologically literate households, schools, and communities. Understanding the benefit of therapy, for example, and promoting a therapy-positive environment make it easier for people to find a therapist when they need to do so.

© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Will


    October 12th, 2010 at 10:34 AM

    Difficult times like these can really drain a person both physically and mentally and can make the person lose interest in things and can disrupt their normal life.But if there is a guide to help the person across,someone who knows a thing or two about the problem and how to deal with it,the journey to recovery can be a much smoother one.

  • Vickie


    October 12th, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    I guess that with the right medication someone with schizophrenia would be able to sit down with a therapist and get some much needed (probably)cbt but this is something that I would have never thought possible with a schizophrenic patient. But it is good to know that there are methods of treatment which can work across the board, and that modes of treatment can be modified to suit the needs of the individual patient.

  • Terri


    October 13th, 2010 at 4:41 AM

    Anything that could improve that quality of life for people who have to suffer so with this disease is worth taking a stab at.

  • LK


    October 13th, 2010 at 4:44 AM

    for many disorders that were traditionally thought to have no cure or support its now proving that there actually are methods that can help in dealing with such disorders.its great for the medical field to have achieved this and also is a good good news for the people going through those disorders.

  • Jenny Ledd

    Jenny Ledd

    June 5th, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    Everyone experiences times when they are sadder than usual, but when those emotions do not seem to go away, there may be something else going on, requiring depression treatments. The most common signs of despair is embracing ideas of suicide, trouble falling and staying asleep and emotions of anxious hopelessness. If someone thinks their unhappiness may very well be depression, they need to not waste any time in discussing despair remedies with their physician.

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Title   Content   Author is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on