Over time, there have been changes when it comes to treatment options for mental health conditions. As you provide care to your patients living with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, they may share some of their beliefs and opinions about their mental health conditions, experiences, and treatment.
But are these beliefs helpful? Guiding your patients to see other perspectives to get a complete picture may help them be more open to an appropriate treatment option or one that could work for them.
Let’s go through some common beliefs, barriers, and challenges surrounding treatment that you may have heard before from patients–or that may help you talk through it together.
Tap on the beliefs to learn more about them.
Let’s talk first about side effects—it’s important to understand the risks and benefits of every treatment. A lot of people worry about side effects and have experienced them before. What kind(s) of side effect(s) in particular are you concerned about? Work closely with me and other members of your treatment team to help manage side effects and plan for what to do if you do experience one.
Lots of people living with schizophrenia or other health conditions have this concern too. However, there are a lot of treatment options. What is your normal daily routine? Could you try using a journal, cellphone reminders, or another tool to help you keep track of your medication? Your treatment team may be able to help you find an option that works with your schedule. If this has been a continuing issue, you can try a longer-acting treatment.
It’s very common for people to not like needles, shots, or injections, even if they aren’t living with a mental health condition. Have you had an injection before? Tell me about that experience. Let’s discuss what your concerns are. Injections may cause some discomfort and injection site reactions. Talk to your mental health prescriber about your concerns. Is there music you could listen to or a relaxation exercise you could try as a positive distraction while getting an injection? Are you missing your injections because of fear? Do you mind sharing with me why you’re nervous about injections?
Others have shared this concern with me and want to know what the medication is doing in their bodies. Ask your mental health prescriber to explain how your medication works and for how long. Is there something you are worried about, such as side effects or symptoms?
Many people living with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder are worried about hospitalization. Medications are used to manage symptoms so you can live your life outside of the hospital. But sometimes hospitalization can happen, and that’s okay. Your mental health prescriber can also address your concerns and you can make a plan together.
It’s okay if you feel a little overwhelmed. But taking your medication as prescribed gives it the best chance to be most effective. Could reminders help? Or is there a family member or friend you can ask to help you remember? You could also try journaling or phone reminders too. If you’re still having trouble remembering, you can also talk to your mental health prescriber about a different treatment option that you don’t need to take every day.