The Author

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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
I am overcoming schizophrenia, and I believe others can too. Here is how I am managing my condition...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tough Decisions

This is for the family members of people with schizophrenia.

Sometimes people are faced with hard decisions such as allowing their loved one to go into the hospital. Remember the benefits when such choices as these are made. A mother of a boy with schizophrenia is challenged by the choice to let her son live in a medical facility, temporarily. I know of her situation through an online support group. I said she should allow it because the boy will get the best mental health support that's needed for that moment.

A lot of attention is required for a person's wellness. And professionals have learned techniques to help individuals with mental illness overcome it. Trust professionals and know that your loved one is getting the help they need in order to get well again and to return to you. Sometimes a person may require undivided attention until they figure everything out. Think about it, it may be difficult for you to provide this need, especially if you do not know much about it. It can kind of be considered unfair to that person in need. You, too, can use this time to educate yourself and prepare yourself.

The hospital is not a bad place for the person with schizophrenia. It is a place to regroup and to learn how to cope with one's illness. In addition to mental health education, family members are encouraged to consistently visit their loved one, to be a part of it. I must emphasize that continued family involvement is a major part of recovery, not a time off.

Here are some of the benefits of letting a person with schizophrenia go into the hospital:

1) Medication Compliance
2) Observation and Proper Diagnosis
3) Mental Health Education

In my situation, my family did not have a choice of letting me go to the hospital, it was mandated by the judge for me to go to the State Hospital. My mother begrudgely faced the reality for the need for me to be in the hospital and encouraged the courts to mandate it because it was much needed and would help me. These decisions are not easy, very emotional, and most often necessary when presented with this choice.

At the hospital medication compliance is enforced, which is a good thing because the medication works miracles on a person's behavior and thinking processes. Professionals can observe individuals with mental illness and make proper diagnosis, and find the right medication for that person. Also, there are educational groups to learn more about the illness and coping skills.

When I was in the hospital we had daily workshops that helped me understand what was happening to me. Classes consisted of Medication Education, Balancing, and Managing Stress. I was also able to take extracurricular classes such as yoga.

If you have a tough decision to make like letting someone go into the hospital, make that choice because the person will get the professional help they so need. You are not alone, there are other families out there going through the same thing. There may be support groups for families at the hospital. My mother was able to meet other family members while I was in the hospital and she learned a lot from people that had been working with their loved ones longer than she had.

Also, check out NAMI groups. For people in Canada, they could contact Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia for resources and support.

Please don't think you are deserting them, you can still support the individual by learning about their illness and visiting them. Be prepared for the long haul and continued support because there is not a cure for schizophrenia, yet.

There is a lot more to say about this subject, and other subjects I have blogged about. I welcome questions and suggestions in order to help other people so we can all work together.

8 comments:

lowincomelady said...

My recent experience of hospital was different. I was in there for 7 weeks from Dec 2007 to Feb 2008. They pumped me full of medication, at one stage I slept for 2 days from one of the needles they gave me. They also kept giving me valium which caused me to have bad asthma attacks. The doctor was an idiot and didn't know what to do with me. I eventually was put under another doctor and was released soon after. Hospitals in Australia are not the best place to get well in my experience. Some doctors are no good, the staff are not trained properly and it is a very unpleasant place to be. Oh and they also performed a test on my heart which hurt like hell and which I did not give permission for. AND they also tried to put my finances under protection AND my parents as well once they realised they had a mental illness as well even though at the time none of us were sick! The system here is so wrong!

ACDesign said...

Ashley,

I agree 100% with your post. I almost feel relieved each time my brother goes to the hospital. I pray that maybe this time, he will start to understand his illness. He is currently in the hospital after his very first violent episode. His current delusion causes him to feel negative towards my parents. Anyway, I am curious how your mother obtained the court order because everyone we ask says it is difficult to obtain. I really think my brother could benefit from a longer hospital stay but the hospital keeps letting him out the moment he pops a pill in his mouth. That is not compliance. That is the hospital opening up another bed. He obviously needs to accept his illness before he becomes compliant. I get so frustrated by the system. I feel like my bro gets overlooked and all we ever hear is that he must come to this on his own. There needs to be more programs to help individuals gain insight.

earlyriser said...

The hospital is a safe place. I was in there two times last year. I know when it's time, so does Margaret. I learn alot from the groups.

Valash said...

ACDesign,

My delusions led me to feel negative about my mother and family too. However, after a little over a couple of months on the medication I was more stable and I did not have those bad feelings anymore.

My situation was unique, because I was in custody. My mother asked my public offender to request the judge to mandate medication compliance. The judge allowed the request and also requested that I complete a competency evaluation, which I failed and as a result was sent to a California State Hospital.

The laws vary from state to state, what state is your brother in? - I'll do some research on the matter and learn how to obtain a court order with you.

Ashley

ACDesign said...

Thanks Ashley,

My bro is in NY state.

adam'smom said...

Hi Ashley,

It's Kathy, Adam's mom. Congratulations on your blog site.
It's very cool. I am now looking for a location for Adam. I am in California too. would you mind saying where you were? Adam knows now and is dealing with the idea.I'll keep you posted. Congratulations on your awesome journey to recovery. You are doing a great job.

Advocate 366 said...

My daughter recently made had her second stay in a hospital, the first being in August 2004. While not necessarily ideal, when necessary it is what can need to be done. I have never been adverse to hospitalizations, just hesitant to rely upon it as a regular source of care. Thank you for blogging and helping to inform others. You can visit my website at www.mattersofthemind.info.

Mom said...

My daughter being in a hospital was one of the smartest, most responsible things that could have happened. This illness was new to me and my daughter. I was able to spend time with her during the initial parts of recovery and learn, with the help of her doctors. There was a new beautiful young lady that I had to get to know, and that was the time to do it. We shared that experience together, which is very important. I believe it's actually a selfish act for a parent or loved one to now allow this to happen. Being in the hospital, especially at the young age that my daughter was allowed her to get a stronger jump start in her new life. I would have probably been an emotional hindrance and would have probably prolonged her growth. Not intentional, but it would have been like Life 101, and unfair to her! They counseled me, the doctors, therapists, psychiatrists... and gave me their personal phone numbers to use if I have questions. They were so impressed with her as I have always been! They gave me a lot of assurance and my daughter too! They told me she was special to them and they wanted to see her recover and succeed. That, she is continuing to do too!!! They told me they saw a lot of potential in her and were proud of her. This was helpful because there are a lot of misconceptions about this illness and unless you have the proper teachers, have someone like my daughter educating you (firsthand), or do a lot of research you can get caught up in these misbeliefs. They helped me to see a very positive side of what was ahead of us.

As much as I love my daughter I would not have been qualified to do this and was totally blind, I would have been a liability and her future would have been gravely affected! There was a period of time when the proper medicine had to kick in and everything had to stabilize. Who would I have been to master this at this important time in her life!

My daughter is very strong and very positive and that is what the doctors saw in her! She writes this blog with such dedication and consistently moves forward, probably faster and more successfully that a lot of us.

I love you Babe!!
God Bless
Mom