The prognosis of schizophrenia patients has been significantly improved through the treatment of schizophrenia with medication.
Antipsychotics help to shorten hospital stays considerably and can be the basis for social integration. There is often a misconception among the public that antipsychotics are only used to anesthetize patients or make them compliant. However, if one considers that the symptoms of the disease are mainly due to an imbalance of neurotransmitters and that with the help of antipsychotics this neurotransmitter imbalance is compensated, the necessity of psychopharmacological therapy becomes understandable. Drug therapy is particularly successful in acute treatment when the goal is to improve the positive symptoms and, in some cases, the negative symptoms as well. In approximately 85% of all patients treated with antipsychotics, the symptoms of a first episode improve substantially or subside completely within one year. Therapy with antipsychotics leads to improvement or disappearance of schizophrenic symptoms in many patients. Long-term treatment with antipsychotics reduces the relapse rate from about 80% to 20% in the first year. Antipsychotics help restore functioning and facilitate return to social life.1
1 Austrian Schizophrenia Society. What is schizophrenia – treatment – medication: http://www.schizophrenie.or.at/was-ist-schizophrenie/behandlung/medikation-46.html (accessed: 6.11.2013).