Yvonnie Bailey- Davidson, Contributor
How can I help my schizophrenic daughter?
My daughter has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and has dropped out of school. She is very bright and was doing well at school.
Her school performance deteriorated over one term and she became withdrawn and started to talk foolishness. At first, everyone thought that she was just depressed, but the paranoia and the auditory hallucinations became quite prominent. She is now traumatised by the illness and worries a lot. She is complaining that she has no friends and her peers have all gone ahead. Her memory and concentration are poor and she cannot focus for long.
Schizophrenia is usually diagnosed in the adolescent period. One per cent of the population gets schizophrenia, and it affects, boys and girls. Some patients become depressed or anxious after an acute episode of the illness. During the episodes, patients become fearful and agitated because they are scared of the psychotic symptoms.
Psychosis can be treated, and usually, the patient needs to stay on the medication for a while. The brain starts to malfunction and the patient starts seeing things and hearing voices. Calming the patient is very important as the experience is a terrifying one.
There are several medications on the market, and doctors usually experiment with them to find the right fit. The rehabilitation period can be a long one. As she said, her peers are now gone and she finds herself friendless. People are scared of schizophrenia and have difficulty dealing with it.
In some patients, the progression is a slow, steady decline in functioning. The individual knows something is wrong but cannot understand the process. Stress can make the illness gets worse, so stress management and relationship building are key processes. Ignoring the voices and distracting herself with other activities is something that she will have to do. Reaching out to others and making friends are skills she will have to relearn and put to good use. She cannot focus only on her illness as there are other things that she will need to do.
The family will need to stick with the psychiatrist and follow instructions given. The medications can be problematic as she might gain weight. Weight management and nutrition are part of the management of schizophrenia
Have hope as all is not lost.
What can I do for my son?
My son is 45 years old and was diagnosed with schizophrenia years ago. He wanders the streets and is beaten by persons in the community. He refuses to take medication and is losing weight. What can I do?
Most patients with schizophrenia can be treated in a supervised household. You need to find a nursing home that takes mentally ill patients. The home should have a psychiatrist attached as well as psychiatric aides. Look in the telephone directory for nursing homes. It would be good to get him admitted to a hospital for at least two weeks. There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat patients with schizophrenia. Some are in the form of injections. Your son will need rehabilitation after he has been treated.
Email questions and feedback for Dr Yvonnie Bailey-Davidson to email@example.com or call 978-8602.