Treatment

When you join the Aftercare Research Program, you will be assigned one of the following case managers- Dr. Luana Turner or Dr. Yurika Sturdevant. Your case manager will be your contact person at the Aftercare Research Program. She will help you coordinate your treatment program activities and develop skills for coping with your daily life. Usually your case manager will also be the person who can provide individual therapy or counseling. Upon joining the UCLA Aftercare Research Program, you will be asked to come in once a week for their treatment. After 1-2 months, we will ask you to come in twice a week. Family sessions can be scheduled as well to make sure that your treatment is a "partnership" effort among you, your family, and the Aftercare Research Program clinicians.

You will need to continue taking medication to help you recover from your symptoms and to prevent their return. Your treat psychiatrist, Dr. Laurie Casaus or Dr. Margaret Distler, will see you on a weekly or every other week basis, prescribe your medication, and monitor your care. It will be very important that you continue to take your medication regularly.

Some aspects of your treatment here will be determined by the research program. For example, the Aftercare Research Program is currently doing two research studies to find out whether the antipsychotic medication works best when it is given in pill form or through injections (shots). If you agree to participate in one of these studies, you will be assigned at random (by chance) to continued treatment with daily oral antipsychotic medication or to a long-acting, injectable antipsychotic medication. In one study, the oral medication group will receive aripripazole, which is an antipsychotic medication that was approved by the FDA for regular clinical use in 2002, and the injectable group will receive a closely related medication, Aripripazole Lauroxil (Aristada), which was approved by the FDA in 2015.

All participants will receive training using specialized computer programs that challenge the brain to improve and grow. These programs help people to improve cognitive abilities, such as memory, concentration, reasoning skills, and ability to learn new things. As part of our ongoing research protocol, half of the participants will be assigned at random to also receive aerobic exercise classes and exercise homework. The exercise should benefit your physical health and might also benefit your cognitive abilities.

The psychotic disorder that you are experiencing can be best treated when there is a strong partnership among participants, professionals, and family. We feel that young people who experience psychosis can recover best when all elements of this partnership work together in the treatment and rehabilitation process. Thus, we ask that you allow us to discuss your care with your family members as needed to maintain a coordinated treatment plan.