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Residential Treatment of Schizophrenia at CooperRiis: An Empowering Approach

CooperRiis serves people with Schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and other psychotic spectrum disorders in an open and peaceful residential setting that allows individuals to progress through a continuum of care.

CooperRiis Integrated Continuum of Care

To learn more, call 828.894.7140


Recovery Model

Our recovery model aims to help residents construct lives of meaning and purpose. Since residents are at the center of everything we do, residents are in charge of their recovery. When working with our residents, we meet with ‘Jim,’ instead of fixing ‘Jim,’ an important distinction for both the resident and the people working with him.

Currently, schizophrenia does not have a cure, so we must help those diagnosed with this illness to attain maximum recovery. Entering our care, it is essential we get to know the person and collaboratively develop a personalized recovery plan.

Medications and Supplements

When someone first enters our program, we try to determine if their symptoms have an organic source, such as gluten intolerance or traumatic brain injury, and then try to treat that source. If there isn’t an organic contributor, we seek to find the correct medication strategy.

The resident has an initial meeting with our Integrative Psychiatrist to go over the resident’s medical history and how he or she feels. Residents undergo a full psychiatric evaluation, including a history of their lives, symptoms, and illness. They also tell us what has and has not helped treat their schizophrenia. The Integrative Psychiatry Director and the resident discuss medication goals, and then the resident decides what approach is most comfortable. This shared decision-making approach has been very successful for our residents, and they feel empowered in their recovery.

At CooperRiis, we strive for the lowest dose of medication for the highest effect.

At CooperRiis, we strive for the lowest dose of medication for the highest effect. Residents are fully involved in this process by keeping us apprised of how they feel and if their symptoms have subsided. Symptom reduction is a goal of medication, but it is not our only goal. If a resident takes medication and all their symptoms go away, but they are frequently nauseous or cannot get out of bed, it is not sustainable. Quality of life should improve with symptom reduction. Our goal is for medication to work long-term, with the fewest symptoms and side effects possible.

We also use supplements like vitamins, minerals, fish oil, and herbal extracts to improve well-being and improve recovery outcomes.

A Focus on Wellness and Possibility

At CooperRiis, we operate from a recovery model. Instead of focusing on illness and diagnosis, we shift the focus to wellness and possibility. We believe that recovery is possible for everyone, but it is a very personal process. We try to empower residents to find their highest level of functioning and fulfillment.

The Dream Statement

When residents join CooperRiis, one of the first things we do is have them articulate their hopes and dreams for their lives. We call this the Dream Statement. The Dream Statement helps empower residents to take charge of their recovery.

People with schizophrenia who enter our program are often in crisis and have lost focus and direction. The Dream Statement becomes a road map for their recovery.

The Dream Statement helps the resident set goals; core goals that are achievable in three months and goals that are achievable over one to two week periods. The Dream Statement can be as lofty as the resident wishes. The smaller weekly and monthly goals are always aimed toward the larger dream, giving the resident both a short-term and longer-term horizon.

For example, if a resident wants to attend and graduate from college (Dream Statement), then a weekly goal may be to get out of bed every day. As a step toward dream fulfillment, one must get out of bed to attend class. Instead of viewing getting out of bed in a negative light, the resident may begin to see getting out of bed as the first step toward college. We always strive to relate the daily and weekly goals to the Dream Statement so that residents are working toward something important to them.

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. The causes and symptoms can vary among individuals. Schizophrenia affects about one percent of the population, appearing equally in both men and women, though symptoms tend to begin earlier in men. The disorder is present in all ethnic groups. Rarely have children under the age of 16 been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Phases of Schizophrenia

The phases of schizophrenia are prodromal, active, and residual. At CooperRiis, we include ‘recovery’ on this list because we believe recovery is possible.

Prodromal Phase

People with schizophrenia are often misdiagnosed in the prodromal phase because of the vast array of symptoms that can be present and their subtlety. Symptoms in the prodromal phase include:

  • Withdrawal from family and social life
  • A preference for being alone
  • Confusion
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Depression
  • Loss of interest in everyday activities and apathy
  • Anxiety
  • Odd behavior

Active Phase

Over time, symptoms of schizophrenia become evident to family and friends and include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoid delusions
  • Disorganized speech
  • Disorganized behavior
  • Confusing thought patterns
  • Trouble concentrating

Residual Phase

Symptoms in the residual phase resemble those in the prodromal stage. While alarming signs of the active stage have mostly subsided, symptoms such as low energy, listlessness, and withdrawal can still be present.

Recovery Phase

With treatment, most people with schizophrenia will improve with time. Most of our residents come to us in the active or residual phases of schizophrenia. Still, regardless of where they are, our goal is always the same – to help residents move into the recovery phase by achieving the highest fulfillment and functioning level possible.

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