The steady rise in number of mental health conditions across the globe is currently one of the biggest debacles facing contemporary society. Nonetheless, many seem to forget the adverse effects that these conditions have on family members acting as first-line primary caregivers. It is for this very reason that I opine that Stephan Kirby’s expertly written article (Schizophrenia: A Sibling’s Tale) offers a new perspective on this phenomenon. Leanne Bowman’s account as sibling to a schizophrenic individual reveals that there are complex sets of challenges that they have had to endure. The article, therefore, provides special insight into the needs of such patients and what can be done to aid families to make a smooth transition after diagnosis.
An intriguing point to note was that the article provided an important care blueprint related to the topics currently being studied in this module. The provision of care to persons with mental conditions has always been an area of major concern for persons in the healthcare profession. Studying accurate diagnosis methods ensures that sufferers receive the much-needed help with a high level of precision guaranteeing their recovery (Rosenberg, 2017). Moreover, the article is also linked to the importance of developing an amicable relationship between caregivers and those using their services. This rapport is useful in ensuring that family members are made aware of what to expect in the post-diagnosis phase, in addition to receiving feasible intervention strategies.
There are a number of questions that the article raised to me. Firstly, the role health care professionals have with regard to disseminating crucial information relating to a serious mental condition. During the diagnosis at the hospital, Leanne is clearly appalled when healthcare professionals discuss amongst themselves and fail to involve the family in a conversation centered on their loved one. Common practice often contends that family involvement in the provision of care is one of the most effective ways of combating such maladies (thus, it is surprising that the nurses were shallow in providing their description of the condition). The second question was whether intervention models have been explored extensively and knowledge of their viability shared. It is succinct that little is known about the concept of expressed emotion (EE) and the loopholes that it may have in practice.
Schizophrenia often manifests in the form of a double-edged sword, with both positive and negative symptoms. It is vital to acknowledge that the so-called “positive” symptoms refer to expressions additional experiences while “negative” ones refer to the reduction in ordinary experiences. Hallucinations often add color to the sufferer’s life, enabling them to escape reality albeit for a little while. Most even view it as an added advantage since they experience a sense of euphoria during such ordeals. Delusions also serve as positive symptoms that may be expressed by a general feeling of grandiose. The said person is, therefore, able to lift their moods and go about their day in confidence. Conversely, lack of volition and motivation serve as chief negative symptoms of the condition. Sufferers lack the motivation to carry out tasks and may even have a hard time expressing their thoughts to others.
Various forms of therapy have been developed over the years to aid persons suffering from these debilitating illnesses to cope with their symptoms. In Schizophrenia: A Sibling’s Tale, Leanne mentions the use of medication when caring for Jamie. Antipsychotic drugs such as amisulpride were integral in the recovery process since symptoms were soon alleviated. Additionally, detention at a psychiatric facility has also proved useful to patients since they get a unique opportunity to understand their condition and how to cope with it best. The idea is to arm the patient with the necessary tools that would enable the victim to deal with their condition safely (In Haan, L, In Schirmbeck, & In Zink, 2015, p. 78). Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) also works well in schizophrenic individuals. The combination of this form of therapy and the provision of medication helps suppress the symptoms more effectively.
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