The effects of the disease on family life

The occurrence of schizophrenia, or of any other severe, chronic disease in family, turns its old order upside down.  Psychosis and its consequences trigger many emotional reactions in the family and launch a number of organisational problems.
Stock photo. Posed by model.

Every serious disease, which occurs in a family member, being chronic and demanding continuous treatment with recurrent exacerbation episodes, despite of adhering to recommendations, associated with the risk of hospitalisation and disability, is a rapid situational change for the family, the acceptance of which requires a certain time period. It is more difficult to accept the diagnosis of serious mental diseases than of severe somatic disease (except cancer), e.g. diabetes mellitus of type 1.

It induces a phenomenon of depression in caregivers of the patient, associated with the sense of loss of the earlier picture of the affected family member, a feeling close to mourning, as well as - with the chronic character of schizophrenia - reactions close to the professional burnout syndrome - with passage to routinised behaviours and emotions.

Did you know that...

During this decade, observations of the impacts, which a disease exerts on the patient's family and relatives, are focuses around the problems of distress, suffered by the family members and usually associated with the severity and chronic character of symptoms, unfavourable prognosis, as well as with adverse effects after antipsychotic drugs.


It is still the family and its members, who have huge, often decisive influence on the further course of schizophrenia and who may become the best allies of the patient on his/her way to recovery.

The behaviour of close persons, the way and contents of communications and even their very presence beside the treated person have an enormous effect on the attitude of the ill person. Therefore, it is very important to gain as much knowledge as possible on the disease and its therapy. Such information can be acquired from various sources: brochures given by the doctors, the internet, special psychoeducational programmes, dedicated to patients and their families, organised at health care units. It is always good to discuss obtained information with the consulting doctor.
show more