What can we do to help a relative living with schizophrenia?
When a family member is diagnosed with schizophrenia, that person can play an extremely important role in supporting the ill family member and providing appropriate care.1
In order to provide appropriate support for the family member with schizophrenia, it is very important to understand this disease as much as possible. The treating physician should be prepared to answer possible questions of the family related to schizophrenia and its treatment.
It is common that a patient living with schizophrenia is unable to communicate during the evaluation. In certain cases, only one family member is aware of the patient’s unusual behavior or thoughts. For this reason, his or her presence can be useful during visits to the doctor. The relative of the patient with schizophrenia can also help with the family’s medical history and the medications taken by the patient.
Family members may also have questions concerning the medications, their side effects, long-term health risks and the need of hospitalization. It might be useful if family members write down the questions and have a piece a paper and a pencil to take notes during the discussion with the doctor.
1. APA Clinical Guidelines. American Psychiatric Association. Practice guidelines for the treatment of patients with schizophrenia. 2004
2. Falkai P et al. World J Biol Psychiatry 2005; 6: 132-191.
3. Kendler KS et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1996; 53: 1022-1031.
4. World Health Organization. The World Health Report: 2001: Mental health: new understanding, new hope.
5. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th Edition Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR). Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing Inc. 2000.
6. Lieberman JA et al. J Clin Psychiatry 1996; 57(suppl 9): 5-9.
7. Breier A et al. Am J Psychiatry 1994; 151: 20-26.
8. Robinson DG et al. Am J Psychiatry 1999; 156: 544-549.
9. National Institute for Clinical Excellence. National Clinical Practice Guidelines Number 82.
10. Howard R et al. Am J Psychiatry 2000; 157: 172-178.
11. Angermeyer MC et al. Schizophr Bull 1990; 16: 293-307.
12. Murray RM and Fearon P. J Psychiatr Res 1999; 33: 497-499.
13. Lang UE et al. Cell Physiol Biochem 2007; 20: 687-702.
14. Harrigan SM et al. Psychol Med 2003; 33: 97-110.
15. Bottlender R et al. Schizophr Res 2003; 62: 37-44.
16. Lynn Starr h. et al: Comparison of long-acting and oral antipsychotic treatment effects in patients with schizophrenia, comorbid substance abuse, and a history of recent incarceration: An exploratory analysis of the PRIDE study; Schizophr Res. 2018 Apr;194:39-46. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2017.05.005. Epub 2017 Jun 7
17. Awad AG et al. Pharmacoeconomics 2008; 26: 149-162.
18. Keith SJ et al. Psychiatr Serv 2004; 55: 997-1005.
19. Lieberman JA et al. Pharmacol Rev 2008; 60: 358-403.
20. Tandon R et al. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2003; 28(suppl 1): 9-26.
21. Wyatt RJ. Schizophr Bull 1991; 17: 325–351
22. Robinson DG et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1999; 56: 241-247.
23. Weiden PJ et al. Psychiatr Serv 2004; 55: 886-891.
24. Koen L et al. Psychosomatics 2007; 48: 128-134.
25. Novick D et al. Psychiatry Res 2010; 176: 109-113.
26. Kozma CM et al. Changes in schizophrenia-related hospitalization and ER use among patients receiving paliperidone palmitate. Current Medical Research and Opinion. 2011.27;1603-1611