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Schizophrenia: The Role of Family and Effect on the Relations Research Paper

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Updated: Apr 30th, 2022

Schizophrenia is a lifelong brain disorder. The ones involved have auditory or visual hallucinations and delusions (NIMH). The patient shows “ markedly diminished interest or pleasure in most activities, significant weight loss or weight gain, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation or retardation, loss of energy and feelings of worthlessness”( Affective Disorders, Pg. 32). The feeling that somebody is reading their mind keeps troubling them (NIMH). Genetic makeup and chemistry are believed to be the causative factors. Medicines can keep the disease under control and allow the person to have a satisfactory life. Staying on the medicines prevents relapses. The role of family members and other social support is essential and form part of the management of this illness (NIMH). Psychotherapy in schizophrenia is more expansive, more intense, and more subtle than any other mental illness. An array of issues ranging from personal to social have to be dealt with. The illness can cause severe damage to physical and mental fitness, intra-personal and interpersonal relationships in social and family integrations (Psychological treatment of Schizophrenia, Recovery Inc.).

The bizarre behavior of the patient leads to his withdrawal from society (Psychological treatment of Schizophrenia, Recovery Inc.). His family follows suit. The illness causes the others in the family to have stress. There is undue demand on them. They first have to accept and understand the illness. From the word go, the family members are under duress. They would be at the receiving end of the patient’s odd behavior and emotional outbursts (Psychological treatment of Schizophrenia, Recovery Inc.). Lots of restraint on their part and an adjusted response to the patient’s outbursts would be part of their life. Trying to be as supportive as possible and speaking in a calm straightforward manner helps to reduce stress by relieving the ill person’s responsibilities. Spending some quality time with him, indulging in common interests like music or painting, or watching television together, could help the patient communicate with you (Schizophrenia, Help for partners and families).

Never would there be a chance to lead a normal life. Other normal family wants may have to take second place on the agenda. The family members would be worrying constantly about the future and the unending financial constraints on their pockets (Psychological treatment of Schizophrenia, Recovery Inc.). Obviously, their psychological status too may become questionable if not careful. The various relationships in a family would be strained. Relationships with a child, parent, sibling, or husband would be tense. The counselor plays an important role in managing family relationships.

The schizophrenic individual is seen as one who had adapted to an environment where the most familiar sequences of interpersonal interaction were ambiguous and contradictory (Clarkin, 1988). The ‘double bind communication’ was exemplary of this pattern of interpersonal communication (Clarkin, 1988). Psychosis was seen as a person’s way of communication with the communication of a loving but negating mother ( Clarkin, 1988). The family system perspective offered a boon to the interpersonal a psychosocial model of treatment of schizophrenia (Clarkin,1988). The drawback of this system is that many behaviors cannot be controlled by the family. The family members should take care never to talk about the patient as if he is not there. His illness should never be discussed forgetting that he is vulnerable (Schizophrenia: Help for partners and families, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health ).

In the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (Education of Patient and Family Improves Outcome of Schizophrenia, Schizophrenia.com) it was reported that “providing education to schizophrenic patients and their families on the disease has a beneficial impact on compliance with medication and general treatment”.

Using the Scale to Unawareness of Mental Disorder, Dr.Cedric M.Smith found that it was possible to measure the insight of patients and families. “The more the patients knew, the more compliant they would be” ( Education of Patient and Family Improves Outcome of Schizophrenia, Schizophrenia.com).

Taking care of oneself is as important as caring for the patient. One should never give up all of one’s previous social activities and lose all the friends and social contacts one has made. The risks of becoming emotionally and physically drained, having sleeping problems, irritability, and exhaustion should be avoided at all costs (Schizophrenia: Help for partners and families, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health). Keeping one’s own support network is essential. Spending some time outside one’s home and cultivating some social interests do help.

A relapse or crisis is something that one should expect. Preventing a crisis is the best way to work. Seeking treatment immediately after symptoms are noticed is one technique.

Attending family education programs helps the relatives learn coping and communication strategies. Discussion with the psychiatrist on the relapse, having consent to take the patient to the doctor or hospital in case needed, deciding through discussions with the patient that you would take the decision to go to the hospital in case of relapse is all to be done much before a relapse (Schizophrenia: Help for partners and families, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health).

In a patient who recovers from his relapse, taking him home may be just one option. Arrangements may be made for him to enter group homes, his own apartment, or living quarters. Each family must discuss and decide with the patient’s consent.

However, if the patient is unfortunate, he may have to enter an institution and be taken care of by social workers.

It is not the best decision to move in with a patient who has schizophrenia. However, if you have a relationship and would like to do some good for a friend or relative, you may move in armed with all information on the illness. You must remember that unexpected events may take place and you would not be able to behave or argue normally in response. Plenty of adjustments may have to be made. Living together and guiding the patient in times of need will be required. Preventing relapses would be part of your work. Looking out for relapses and reaching your patient for medical help should be expected. A good relationship where the patient trusts you immensely may be the foundation on which you can work around him.

References

Clarkin, John F.; Affective Disorders and the Family: Assessment and Treatment, 1998, Guilford Press, Web.

Education of Patient and Family Improves Outcome of Schizophrenia, 1997 (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 1997;37, 147-154), Web.

, Web.

Psychological treatment of Schizophrenia, Web.

Schizophrenia: Help for partners and families, Web.

Schizophrenia, National Institute of Mental Health. Web.

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IvyPanda. "Schizophrenia: The Role of Family and Effect on the Relations." April 30, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/schizophrenia-the-role-of-family-and-effect-on-the-relations/.

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