Attitudes of family members towards therapy

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Persons treated for schizophrenia are often surrounded by members of their family, people close to them, friends, acquaintances and other people whose opinions are important to them.

We are talking about people whose words are taken seriously by those being treated for schizophrenia and which affect their behaviour. Therefore, the opinions, beliefs, recommendations, suggestions on what to do and what not to do of people close to patients with schizophrenia are often very important for the treatment process. They may be significant for the patient's compliance as regards taking medications, which means patient's adherence to the physician's recommendations regarding taking medications. They may be significant in terms of attending medical appointments, participation in other forms of therapy, attendance of a psychologist or rehabilitation activities.

They may be significant for the patient's compliance as regards taking medications, which means patient's adherence to the physician's recommendations regarding taking medications. They may be significant in terms of attending medical appointments, participation in other forms of therapy, attendance of a psychologist or rehabilitation activities.

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Stock photo. Posed by model.

Remember!

The most favourable situation is when the patient's physician, the patient himself/herself and people close to him/her share concordant opinions on the treatment, medicines and other therapeutic procedures.

Then all the people, involved in the treatment process, support the patient in a mutually consistent way in his or her efforts to recover. Then misunderstandings and lack of understanding can be avoided. However, ideal situations do not happen so frequently.

Family and people close to the patients treated for schizophrenia sometimes have different doubts about the used drugs, medical recommendations or the course of therapy. These doubts and questions are natural. They reflect the involvement of the relatives and friends in the process of treatment of the ill family member. They mean that the family and friends are not indifferent to what is going on with the ill person.

Doubts, questions, even lack of concordance with any medical recommendations are nothing bad. However, it is important "what you do with them".

It is worth knowing that...

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, comments, views. Especially, if the opinions concern the health of an ill person in the close family or among friends. However, it is very important how these doubts, questions or reservations are expressed.

Remember!

A situation, which is least favourable for the course of therapy is, when doubts of the family and friends regarding the treatment of the ill person are not reported during the appointment to the physician (or to other person participating in the treatment process), whereas after the appointment, at home a person suffering from schizophrenia hears that he or she should not do what the physician recommends.

It would be the best to avoid such a situation. In most cases, this does not facilitate the treatment process. Even if the current concerns of relatives are justified, such a behaviour does not serve to support compliance with the future treatment.

Because in the future, if there are further recommendations, already accepted by the people close to the patients, the patients themselves can dismiss them and refuse, for example, to follow their physician's recommendations. They can remember that previously they were advised to do so.

What should be done then?

First, the patient's family and other persons close to the patient should have as much reliable knowledge as possible about the illness and treatment. Therefore, it is advisable to gain and expand such knowledge as far as possible. Many centres offer psychoeducational courses – it is good to participate in them if this is possible. It is good to find out whether psychoeducational courses are available somewhere near your place and how you can enrol to such courses.

If this is not possible – it is good to read brochures and books about schizophrenia. A lot of such brochures, books and guides have been published in Poland. You may ask a physician or a psychologist about them.

It is worth knowing that...

The knowledge about the illness, its treatment and individual medications can help a lot in understanding what is happening with an ill family member, why he or she receives specific recommendations from a physician, what drugs are used to treat schizophrenia and what are the advantages and disadvantages of these drugs.

Second, – if there are any questions, reservations, doubts, it is good to talk about them with the patient's physician (or other persons involved in the treatment). It is definitely better to talk during the appointment about any doubts regarding, for instance, drugs or treatment, than do the opposite – not sharing these doubts with the physician.

Remember!

If you have any questions regarding the treatment of somebody close to you – ask a physician, a psychologist or other health care professional.

If you do not agree with some recommendation, given to a person close to you – tell the physician about it, preferably still during the appointment, or at the next appointment at the latest.

If you have doubts, questions, comments you may ask for explanation or recommendation of informational materials.

If you consider explanation to be non-exhaustive, you may ask for further explanation; bear in mind that the health of the treated person is the highest value and any misunderstandings or conflicts would not be helpful.

Do you know that...

You want to be understood – explain as well as you can, what you mean.

You have questions – ask about the things you want to know.

You are not satisfied with something, you do not agree with something – say it.

You still have doubts – ask again. Always try to be open and constructive when expressing your views, questions, disagreement or concerns.

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