March 03, 2007

Medication is Not Enough: Job and Family Counseling Needed as Well

Based on the outcome of a new CATIE study announced in a press release issued by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the USA Today reported on the study's finding that in order to live independently with a better quality of life, more community services in the areas of job training and family counseling are needed.

When patients stay on medication, they had improved social relations and "real-world" functioning, but that improvement was greatest for the most ill - the very ones who were least likely to stay on the medications. More help is needed - and that help must come in the form of real-world services in the patient's own family and community.

Although the type of services vary by individual, and not every patient needs the family psychoeducation, and/or vocational counseling, many could benefit. However, as things stand today, these services are rarely provided, thereby hindering people from becoming more independent members of society with better outcome and quality of life. Only about 10% of patients' families receive family psychoeducation, and about 25% receive job assistance.

Ken Duckworth, medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a support and advocacy group says:

"Families of schizophrenics have known this stuff for years — that medications aren't enough on their own. We know that the counseling and job services are underplayed and underpaid for by insurance.

Finally, the scientific community is catching up with the families."

Another concern mentioned in the article is that schizophrenia and medication-related cognitive problems can interefere with the ability to be employed. Stephen Marder, a psychosis expert at the Semel Institute of UCLA who heads a National Institute of Mental Health campaign to develop better drugs for cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia, says that studies on some promising drugs are underway.

Read the full article: Job, family counseling key to schizophrenics' independence

Additional Reading: Family Psychoeducation for Schizophrenia Lowers Relapse Rate, is Cost Effective
Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia Are Pervasive
Family Education Programs
Integrated Treatment Benefits 1st Episode Psychotic Patients
Infinite Mind - Educated Consumer On-line Radio


I wish we had this service. I think it's disgraceful that ppl with sz or any MI only get the medication, but no real therapy, counselling to deal with it. Families are in dire need of support also, the kids can get forgotton about when Mom or Dad gets sick.

What is the point of wasting time and money on these studies that always seem to have findings that any one could come up with themselves. What families need are results and propper proceedures in place so that they know what support structures to expect.

Posted by: x-G-x at March 5, 2007 07:13 AM

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