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Schizophrenia

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A Caregiverís Dilemma: Staying on the Meds

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For those who keep forgetting to take oral medications, you can get them an attractive and easy-to-work weekly pill box. Be sure to never sneak pills into their food, even if paranoia doesnít exist. If they are already experiencing paranoia, you will never be able to regain their trust again if you do this with their medication. More people go off oral medication than injectable medication. With an injectable, you know the person is receiving it, and that they can't spit it out or hide it under the tongue. Discuss the pros and cons of switching from an oral to an injectable form with their doctor. Be advised that some medical professionals believe there is a "down" side to injections, because a loved one may experience possible feelings of humiliation, or a loss of control on their part. Injectable medication may have a different dosage schedule than an oral medication and may be given once a week or once every few weeks, depending upon the type of medication. Let your loved one know that youíre proud of the way they are handling the need for medication. Also, do your best to be calm and reasonable when getting them to take medication. If you push them too hard, you may make it more difficult for them to move toward greater independence. Realize that a period of learning through experience and adjustment is needed for both of you in order to get into some sort of regular routine.

Through it all, your most important role is to encourage your loved one to stick with their treatment program. Treatment of this disease isnít just through medication alone, but will involve attending daily or regularly-scheduled medical appointments, and attending therapy or day programs as well. Remember that the time spent with mental health professionals on a week-to-week basis will be quite minimal when compared to the amount of time that your loved one will spend with you. This is why caregivers are usually in the best position to provide the everyday encouragement and support needed to help them stick with their treatment and help them on a successful road to rehabilitation.