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Patient Education schiZOphrenia

Patient Education schiZOphrenia

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Published by: rinkai13 on Sep 05, 2010
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295.3 Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type
Patient Education

Because of the nature of schizophrenia, the patients may have difficulty understanding the illness. Nevertheless, teaching the patient to understand the importance of medication compliance and abstinence from alcohol and other drugs of abuse is important.

If possible, teaching the patient to recognize early signs of a decompensation, such as insomnia or increased irritability,
is helpful.
Family members should be referred to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) (or other appropriate support
group if available), which provides many educational opportunities.
Social skills training is helpful, but the effects are not long-lived. This kind of training, as well as other sorts of problem-
solving therapy, may need to be continued on an indefinite basis, similar to the medication.
Physical illnesses in schizophrenia are common. The importance of a healthy lifestyle and regular health care should be
For excellent patient education resources, visit eMedicine's Mental Health and Behavior Center. Also, see eMedicine's
patient education articleSchizophrenia.
The prognosis of schizophrenia is guarded.
Patients with schizophrenia have a 10% risk of suicide.
Full recovery is unusual.
Symptoms usually follow a waxing and waning course.
The patient's pattern of symptoms may change over years.
Positive symptoms respond fairly well to antipsychotic medication, but the other symptoms are quite persistent.
Early onset of illness, family history of schizophrenia, structural brain abnormalities, and prominent negative symptoms
are associated with poor prognosis.

We have poor understanding of this illness and unacceptably poor treatment. Research is ongoing into the pathophysiology and treatment of this illness. With earlier intervention with improved agents the goal is complete resolution of all symptoms of this illness and continuation or resumption of a full meaningful life.

Family members can play an important role in helping to keep their schizophrenic relatives supported and oriented. Before they can be properly supportive, however, they must first understand and accept that schizophrenia is a disorder of the brain just like diabetes is a disorder of the body; not anyone's fault; and not an indication of moral or spiritual failure. Family members need to know this so that they do not blame their schizophrenic relatives for being schizophrenic, or think of them as willfully lazy. Patients are often incapacitated, and a drain on family energy and resources, but this is not intentional on the part of patients, who are in many ways victims more than anything else.

The single most important thing family members can do to support their ill relatives is to help them remain oriented and on task with their therapeutic routines; helping them stay on medications, and attend scheduled psychotherapy sessions and doctor visits, for instance. Family members can also benefit their ill relatives by helping them with with personal care, eating a well- balanced diet, and getting regular exercise (even if it's just a walk).

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