Our Schizophrenia Treatment Centers
Many people think of schizophrenia as an either/or mental issue. Either you have schizophrenia, or you don’t. At PCH, we take a different approach. Instead of viewing a schizophrenia diagnosis as a binary, we’ve found that schizophrenia is best understood as a spectrum of psychotic states.
While the term schizophrenia helps people put a name to the problems they’re experiencing, everyone experiences it to a slightly different degree, and each individual may struggle with varying degrees of schizophrenic episodes throughout their lifetime. That’s why the team at our Schizophrenia Treatment Center doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to treating someone diagnosed with schizophrenia. Instead, we meet each client where they’re at.
Our Approach to Diagnosing Schizophrenia
PCH specializes in treating cases of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, thought disorders, and psychotic states, including complex co-occurring and dual-diagnosis issues. What makes PCH unique is the way we go about treating these issues.
Our Approach to Diagnosing Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is prone to misdiagnosis and overdiagnosis because, as discussed above, it’s best understood as existing on a spectrum. Yet, in practice, schizophrenia is often diagnosed based solely on symptomatology by the medical community at large. However, it’s important to remember that even though someone displays symptoms of schizophrenia, including acute symptoms like hearing voices, it doesn’t mean schizophrenia is the correct diagnosis. It’s estimated that about 4% to 10% of the population occasionally hear voices, but that doesn’t mean 4% to 10% of people are schizophrenic.
To counter the problem of misdiagnosis, PCH starts treatment by first confirming each client’s diagnosis when they enter our treatment center. If someone has been diagnosed with schizophrenia in the past, we still treat it like a fresh start and strive to validate the diagnosis before beginning schizophrenia treatment.
Our team goes beyond symptomatology and considers a multitude of factors that may influence psychotic states, including:
- Medical history
- Family history
- Past trauma
- Drug use
By considering the full scope of factors that have been linked to psychotic experiences, our experts can identify whether schizophrenia is the correct diagnosis or if psychosis may be tied to other underlying issues.
Our Approach to Schizophrenia Medication
Another problem with conventional schizophrenia treatment is that most people quickly end up in the hospital when they display symptoms or signs of schizophrenia. When that happens, the rote treatment method is medication, and if the initial regimen doesn’t work, the solution is often more medication, leading to overmedication. The medical approach can create a dilemma when mismedication exacerbates symptoms. In an environment where the only solution for those issues is more medication, treatment can ultimately do more harm than good.
At PCH, we recognize that medication can play a beneficial role in a balanced treatment plan with the understanding that it isn’t always necessary for everyone diagnosed with schizophrenia. World Health Organization studies have shown that people diagnosed with schizophrenia in developing countries tend to fare better than those in developing countries. We suspect that’s in part due to how schizophrenia medication is viewed. In developing countries, treatment often involves acute medication for a short period with the goal of eventually transitioning off of it rather than making it a long-term solution.
That’s why we medicate for schizophrenia only when deemed necessary, and even then try to keep medication to a minimum for a short period of time with the goal of stabilizing the client.
Do you or someone you care about need help understanding the underlying issues at the root of psychotic states?
PCH is here to help.
Two Treatment Locations To Serve Your Unique Situation
At PCH, we understand that everyone diagnosed with schizophrenia has different needs, so we customize a treatment plan for each client. One of the ways we do that is by offering two separate treatment locations at our West Los Angeles facility and in Pasadena. Both sites offer options for supportive housing, but our Pasadena location focuses on stabilizing acute cases.
Our Pasadena Treatment Facility
Our Pasadena treatment facility focuses on treating people currently experiencing psychosis or mania. The goal is to stabilize the client with individual therapy and the appropriate dosage of medication, so they can begin focused psychotherapy to address underlying issues. Once stabilized, they can then transfer to our West Los Angeles facility.
Our West Los Angeles Schizophrenia Treatment Facility
Our West LA schizophrenia treatment facility is suited for stabilized clients experiencing mild issues related to schizophrenia or psychosis. At this location, we focus more on group therapy and daily living. Our goal is to help each client learn how to best manage their symptoms and transition to a balanced life in the world.
The Most Effective Treatment for Schizophrenia
In our experience, one of the most effective treatments for schizophrenia is called the Hearing Voices approach. Instead of pathologizing psychotic experiences like hearing voices or seeing hallucinations, the Hearing Voices approach advocates for the concept that these are more than symptoms, and they have a deeper meaning. The goal, then, isn’t merely to make these voices or visions go away but to understand where they’re coming from.
What does that look like in practice? Let’s say someone hears threatening voices and it’s causing them distress. The voices tell the person that they’ll be killed by someone on a bicycle if they go outside, so they don’t go outside if there’s a bike anywhere in sight.
Instead of simply viewing these voices as threats, they can also be understood to have a protective function. Through focused individual psychotherapy and group dialogue, the individual recalls several traumatic experiences from childhood when they were almost hit by a car while riding a bicycle in front of their house. Over time, the voices morphed into a maladaptive response to prevent that from happening again.
Once the individual understands where the voices are coming from, they’re able to acknowledge the irrational fear the voices are rooted in. Over time, the voices dissipate as the individual comes to an understanding that they won’t be killed by someone on a bike simply by stepping outside.
The Hearing Voices approach also accounts for a broader range of psychotic experiences than the conventional clinical approach. Instead of focusing on making the voices go away, the goal is to listen and strive to understand them with professional and group guidance. In recent studies, 79% of individuals reported that they experienced helpful changes in their voices by attending a Hearing Voices group.
Other Schizophrenia Treatment Options
When treating schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis, we first focus on making an accurate diagnosis, managing medication, and applying the Hearing Voices approach. To supplement our approach, we employ some other treatment methods that include:
Both dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective treatment options for individuals struggling with psychotic states by helping them understand underlying thought patterns, past traumatic experiences, and how symptoms manifest.
Group therapy can help individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia share common experiences in a destigmatizing environment without fear of judgment. Trying to make voices or psychosis go away can make it worse. By having a safe environment to share and try to understand these experiences with like-minded people, individuals often make significantly more progress than they would with individual therapy alone.
Neurofeedback can help individuals better understand their thought patterns and retrain those patterns to transform maladaptive behavior into a state of peace and well-being.
Since schizophrenia and psychotic states are best understood as existing on a spectrum, treatment needs to account for more than what’s happening in the brain. That’s why we also employ focused lifestyle treatment methods to achieve a state of holistic balance, including:
Can PCH Help?
If you or someone you care about is struggling with schizophrenia or other issues related to psychosis, PCH is here to help. Whether you’ve tried treatment before, you think you’ve been misdiagnosed, or you’re not sure where to start, our team meets you where you’re at to help you understand your options. When you’re ready, discover if PCH is right for you and reach out to our admissions team to take the next steps to living a life of well-being.