October 16, 2004

Different Schizophrenia Treatment Goals

A recent survey from researchers at the Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute (Madison, WI) highlighted a significant difference of opinion between psychiatrists and schizophrenia patients concerning the most important treatment goals.

While the survey had some notable limitations - the patients surveyed were not actually being treated by the psychiatrists that were surveyed, and the patients were also fairly stable and high-functioning - patients had significantly different goals for their own treatment, as well as different expectations of what is possible to achieve with current medications.

The surveyed patients indicated increased ability to think clearly, improvement in physical health, and the ability to return to favorite hobbies as the most important outcomes for their treatment plans. Doctors rated improved ability to perform daily activities as a more important outcome, and stressed the need for hospitalization.

Doctors also had more faith in the ability of medications to decrease certain symptoms (such as suspiciousness and paranoia), while patients were less optimistic.

The study itself points out that if the patients were actually being treated by the doctors participating in the survey, increased communication and collaboration between them might make their goals less disparate. The doctors may be working with much more severe cases of schizophrenia, a fact that could influence their answers about overall treatment goals.

However, an important conclusion of the study that applies to anyone under a psychiatrist's care highlights a lack of communication between doctors and their patients. 30% of the surveyed patients reported that they did not discuss their unmet treatment goals with their own doctors, mostly due to lack of faith in the available medications.

Good psychiatrists know that there are many components that make up an individual treatment plan, with medication being only one. However, patients need to communicate their needs before these doctors can begin to meet them with other services. Talk to your doctor about your own treatment goals, and whether or not your needs are being met by your current treatment plan. There may be many unexplored options for you, and your doctor can help guide you in your decisions.

For the full article, see "Patients, Docs Differ on Schizophrenia Treatment" (Oct 13, 2004). Available at WebMDHealth (http://www.webmd.com).

For more information about finding a good psychiatrist, or communicating well with your current psychiatrist, see "Working With a Psychiatrist" in the schizophrenia.com FAQ section.


i suggest reading the article and not relying on what julia wrote here as she has misinterpreted what the article says. The article says that psychiatrists want patients to improve daily functioning and less hospitalization......

Posted by: berk at April 30, 2008 01:37 AM

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