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Schizophrenia: Encouraging Someone to Take the Medicines

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Here are ways to help your family member take the medicines:

  • Talk about medicines in a way that is meaningful to the person. For example, point out the reasons to take medication. Say, "Your medicines help quiet the voices you hear," or "Your medicines help you study and keep your grades up." Link taking the medicines with things that the person enjoys.
  • Give the person options about what to do if he or she wants to stop taking medicines. Talk with his or her health professional about what the options are. Make changes in the medicine routine only after consulting with the health professional. And keep records about these changes and their effects.
  • Ask how the person is doing with the medicine treatment. Say, "How many pills do you have left?" instead of "Are you taking your pills the way you should?"
  • Talk with the person about any side effects experienced from the medicines. Take any complaints seriously and see whether there is anything that you can do to help or that can be done differently.
  • Help plan for relapses even if your family member continues to take the medicines as prescribed. Relapses are part of the illness.
  • Accept the fact that some people will not take medicine as they should even with a lot of support. Do not tie your concern and caring to whether your loved one takes the medicines. For those who won't or are unable to take daily medicines, injections may be a good option. Discuss injections with your health professional to see whether they may be right for the person with schizophrenia.

If you need help encouraging your family member to take prescribed medicines, talk with a health professional who can tell you more about the expected results of taking the medicines, what side effects to look for, and how to manage them.

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Schizophrenia and Relationships

Penny Frese, PhD, was studying fine arts at Ohio University when she met her future husband. They saw each other for several months, and she noticed he avoided talking about anything personal. "We took a walk in a park, and it was toward the end of summer -- a gorgeous, beautiful day. I confronted him about not being totally honest … and he said he had had a 'schizophrenic break.'" For some couples, that might have been the end. Frese went to the library and read up on schizophrenia. She learned...

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 31, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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