February 24, 2007

Family Psychoeducation for Schizophrenia Lowers Relapse Rate, is Cost Effective

Families can negatively react to a family member's symptoms of schizophrenia with confusion, anger, misunderstanding, hostility, criticism or even over-protectiveness. These negative reactions from within a family is referred to as the family's "high expressed emotions". A family with "low expressed emotions" is described as one wherein the family members are supportive of the ill family member -- showing sympathy, compassion and concern -- without becoming overly protective.

It is believed that people with schizophrenia living in families with a high level of expressed emotion (EE) are at greater risk of relapse than those living in low EE households. "Family psychoeducation" is a process in which the whole family is taught about the patient’s psychiatric illness, and therefore lowers the level of EE in the household.

Psychiatry24x7 reported on a study in Japan which set out to answer the question of whether investing in family psychoeducation to prevent a patient’s relapse is financially worthwhile.

"The subjects were patients with schizophrenia who lived with high-expressed emotion (EE) families and were at high risk of relapse. A total of 30 patients whose families underwent psychoeducation and intensive family sessions or psychoeducation and subsequent support were regarded as the psychoeducation group. A high-EE group without family psychoeducation made up of 24 patients was used as a control group.

The researchers concluded: "The medical cost can be reduced in the psychoeducation group compared with the control group due to the prevention of re-hospitalization by family psychoeducation.""

The researchers studied patients in families with high EE, giving some psychoeducation and comparing the outcomes with patients whose families were not provided with psychoeducation. The study determined that medical costs can be reduced by paying for the family psychoeducation due to the money saved by the prevention of re-hospitalizations.

Family psychoeducation is frequently available at the early psychosis diagnosis and treatment centers that we list here. If you live close to any of these centers, we encourage you to contact them and make an enquiry about family psychoeducation availability. An overview of some points of psycho-education is available in this video from Maine Medical Center: Early Psychosis / Schizophrenia Intervention - Internet Video

Read the Article: New schizophrenia prevention study findings recently were reported by researchers at Osaka Prefecture University

Source Abstract: Medical cost analysis of family psychoeducation for schizophrenia. (Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 2007;61(1):20-4).

Related Reading:

Importance of Avoiding Excessive Emotion and Stress

Expressed Emotion as a Precipitant of Relapse in Psychological Disorders

Family Education Programs

Family Warmth in Schizophrenia

Integrated Treatment Benefits 1st Episode Psychotic Patients

Schizophrenia and Emotions

New Canadian Treatment Guidelines for Schizophrenia


Well I'm glad it's starting somewhere, I've been suggesting this for years! Of course it is important that the family know and understand and are able to get support and provide support.

Posted by: x-G-x at February 27, 2007 02:31 AM

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