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This paper summarises the research evidence presented in a recent issue of Effective Health Care on psychosocial interventions used in the management of schizophrenia.1 This is the second bulletin on the management of schizophrenia and, as with the previous issue on drug treatments,2 draws upon evidence from systematic reviews carried out by the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group.3
For schizophrenia, as with any potentially disabling illness, comprehensive care involves a combination of pharmacological treatments, the provision of ongoing support, valid information, and treatment or rehabilitative strategies. This review divides non-pharmacological interventions into three treatment strategies: (1) those that seek primarily to support or educate; (2) those that provide specific skills training; and (3) those that are problem or symptom focused.
Most of the information contained in this bulletin has been extracted from Cochrane reviews. These reviews have been acknowledged in the recent National Service Framework for Mental Health as important sources of information for clinical decision making.4
As with the preceding bulletin on drug treatments,2 efforts have been made to present clinically meaningful data. For a more detailed discussion of each area the reader is referred to the original reviews which are regularly updated in the Cochrane Library.5 Unless stated otherwise, patients in the studies of non-pharmacological interventions are also being prescribed medication. Most of the trial participants were adults and no studies focused specifically on the care of adolescents or the elderly.
SUPPORTIVE EDUCATIONAL INTERVENTIONS
Patients with schizophrenia and their carers should expect support and have a right to be well informed about the illness.6 Supportive educational packages aim to provide structure to what may otherwise be a haphazard process and can be implemented by any trained person.7 Support involves helping everyone to come to terms with a potentially stigmatising and disabling major mental illness, and …