Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder. A new non-drug therapy has been designed by US scientists that may help ease the disorder. This therapy uses video, television and computer.
The therapy called, Social Interaction and Cognition Training (SCIT), uses videotapes, computers, role-playing and other methods to help patients understand intentions and dispositions.
Created by David Penn and David Roberts at University of North Carolina and Dennis Combs at the University of Texas, the new method will teach important social skills through videos, reported online edition of ABC News (The American Broadcasting Company).
People with schizophrenia tend to have blank expressions. But watching TV can bring out subtle reactions -- smirks, winces, and even the occasional chuckle, the report said.
Not only does the therapy address the way patients interpret emotions, it also asks patients to look at different social situations and come up with alternative ways of coping with them, it added.
The method is a promising way in which people in a schizophrenic condition can be helped to interact with others.
Although research is still in the early stages, Psychiatric Services, an American Psychiatric Association journal, identified SCIT as a "potential best practice" earlier this year.
An 18-week long pilot testing with 18 inpatients in Oklahoma demonstrated SCIT therapy improved emotion perception, ability to understanding people's intentions, and reduced the tendency to attribute hostile intent to others. Patients were also less likely to act in an aggressive way.
Schizophrenia can cause obvious symptoms such as paranoia -- a disturbed thought process characterised by excessive anxiety or fear or hallucinations -- a false perception of objects or events involving the senses.
But many people with the conditions also suffer from ailments such as memory loss, or inability to pay attention -- that make it incredibly difficult to lead normal lives.
People suffering from the disease are typically treated with a variety of drugs and various group and individual therapy sessions. Standard therapies for schizophrenic patients focus on coping with emotions or specific behaviours.