Schizophrenia: Examining Novel Treatment Approaches to a Complex Disease CME
CME Released: 03/22/2013; Valid for credit through 03/22/2014
Schizophrenia is a complex disease composed of positive and negative symptoms, mood symptoms, and cognitive impairments. Treatment guidelines recommend that to optimize functional outcomes for patients with schizophrenia, psychosocial programs or psychiatric rehabilitation should be combined with pharmacological management. Yet, for patients with negative symptoms, participation in these programs may not only be more difficult to facilitate, but also less efficacious. Research suggests that the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, including problems with motivation, social withdrawal, diminished affective responsiveness, speech, and movement, contribute more to poor functional outcomes and quality of life for individuals with schizophrenia than do positive symptoms. Treatment of negative symptoms has been identified as a vital unmet clinical need for many persons with schizophrenia. There are indications that new approaches to understanding and treating negative symptoms are emerging. Physicians tend to focus more on the positive symptoms, even though the negative symptoms may have more of an impact on the long-term daily functioning of patients. Moreover, currently available treatments primarily address the positive symptoms. During this activity, the burden of negative symptoms on the patients and their caregivers will be discussed, along with effective tools physicians can use to assess the patient and render appropriate therapy. Evolving theories on the pathophysiology of schizophrenia will also be reviewed, as well as emerging treatments that have the potential to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from this disease.
Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to:
- Examine new theories on the pathophysiology of schizophrenia in order to better provide effective treatments.
- Identify patient care strategies that improve the overall wellness and quality of life for patients with schizophrenia.
- Assess for negative symptoms of schizophrenia through the use of established assessment scales, and treat the secondary causes of these symptoms to improve outcomes and quality of life for individuals with schizophrenia.
- Evaluate emerging and novel therapeutic strategies that treat the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia, improve cognitive function, and enhance patients' overall quality of life.