It's Time to Reclassify Schizophrenia

by Kathy Day

Those of us who have family members diagnosed with schizophrenia know that this is a brain illness and not a behavioral disorder. We know this because we’ve already tried everything we’re told to do and nothing helps. Except meds. Meds can help. Meds don’t manage behaviors, though. Meds can help the underlying brain disorder that causes what appears to be behaviors. We all know that schizophrenia is not a behavioral disorder.

When the Caregiver Needs Care

by Kathy Day

We’re all superheroes, aren’t we? At least that’s what we think. Our loved ones rely on us for so much, and we do what we need to because we love them. We don’t mind that we have to care for them because we understand that their pain is far worse than anything we ever have to experience. (Except for the pain we experience being unable to ease their pain.) We do whatever it takes to make sure they are cared for and have what they need... Read more.

What Is Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT)?

by Kathy Day

Perhaps you’ve heard of Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), or perhaps you have no idea what it is. This blog entry will give you an overview of what AOT is and what it isn’t. There is so much misinformation out there that I feel clarification is in order. Also, I want to state that AOT helps only a very small percentage of people who suffer from the most serious mental illnesses, like schizophrenia.

When Psychosis Results in Holes in the Walls

By Kathy Day

 

Many people who experience psychosis experience anxiety and anger so severe that they strike out at walls, doors, and furniture. This is not the same thing as being a danger to themselves or a danger to others. It can become a dangerous situation if it’s not handled well by family or others in the vicinity, and learning the proper skills to deescalate situations like this are important to learn. (You can learn these skills from a MyHealios coach, by the way!). 

It’s important to help our loved ones calm down. That’s not always easy when the voices are strong and our loved ones can no longer stand the torture. We can help by reducing stimulation, by never yelling at them when this happens, and sometimes by playing soothing music... Read more

How Do I Provide for My Loved One When I'm Gone?

by Kathy Day

 

One of the most difficult issues families will need to deal with is what will happen if they outlive their ill children. After all, we take care of our kids and are there for them, always. We know them, know their history, what treatment works and what doesn’t. What if something happens to us? Who will take care of their financial needs that aren’t covered by Medicaid and social security? There is something that can help put your mind at ease. Special Needs Trusts (SNT) are a financial vehicle for providing for your adult children after you’re gone. With assets held in an SNT, your loved one can still qualify for government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). There are limits to the amount of cash a disabled person can have and still qualify for these benefits. An SNT is a legal way to transfer funds and still be eligible for benefits. Even if our loved ones don’t need Medicaid or SSI, more programs are available to them if they are considered eligible for benefits. These programs include living skills programs and other programs designed to help our special needs loved ones... Read more.

When Your Loved One Can't Get to the Doctor

by Kathy Day

 

About two and a half years ago, my family member had an experience that caused a deeply held delusion. At least, I think it was an actual incident. It could just as easily have been a psychotic delusion that started this firmly held delusion. My family member had been put on an involuntary psychiatric hold in the local ER. The only bed they could find was three hours away from us. To get there, the ambulance had to drive on a narrow, high bridge over a wetland area. ...read more. 

Dealing with Substance Use in Schizophrenia

by Kathy Day

Did your family member use street drugs long before they were diagnosed with schizophrenia? I know mine did. In the beginning, I thought the drugs were causing the odd behaviors I was noticing. I was trying to make sense of what was going on and actually hoped it was due to drug abuse. After all, I knew people with addicts in the family…. But I sure as heck did not know anyone with schizophrenia in the family... read more.

Psychosis vs. Schizophrenia, Part II

by Kathy Day

In an earlier blog about psychosis vs. schizophrenia we talked about symptoms of psychosis and symptoms of schizophrenia and how they differ. Psychosis is a major symptom of schizophrenia but can also be due to many other diagnoses. People with urinary tract infections, for instance, can have bouts of psychosis. Alzheimer’s patients may also experience psychosis.

The Mysteries of HIPAA

by Kathy Day

For caregivers of people with schizophrenia, one of the most difficult barriers to assisting in our loved ones’ treatment can be the misinterpretation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  Even though this Act became law in 1996, there is still much confusion about what HIPAA does and does not do.

What is Anosognosia?

Caring for Someone with Schizophrenia

As family caregivers forge ahead and learn more and more about schizophrenia there’s an important characteristic of the disorder to be aware of and to learn how to deal with. It’s called “lack of insight” or "anosognosia."