Talking to Your Doctor About Schizophrenia
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know about your health.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What type of schizophrenia do I have?
- How serious is my condition?
- Can you tell me about the course of this illness? What can I expect?
- Will I be able to marry and have children?
- Will I be able to hold a job?
- Where can I get more information about schizophrenia?
About Your Risk of Developing Complications
Am I at risk for developing any complications such as:
- Substance abuse
About Treatment Options
What treatment options are available for schizophrenia?
- What medicines can help me?
- How long will they take to work?
- What benefits can I expect?
- What side effects can I expect?
- How can I manage these side effects?
- Have you treated other people with schizophrenia? If not, do you know of another doctor who does?
Do you know here I can find:
- A treatment group
- Support groups
- Family interventions for people with schizophrenia
- Vocational training
- Other psychosocial interventions
Interview therapists who treat people with schizophrenia. Ask the following questions:
- How much training and experience do you have treating schizophrenia?
- What is your basic approach to treatment?
- How long do I need treatment?
- How long and how frequent are the treatment sessions?
- What type of health insurance is accepted?
- Do you have special fee schedules and/or sliding scale fees to accommodate various financial circumstances?
About Lifestyle Changes
Do I need to make changes in my:
- Daily routine
- How can I take the best care of myself?
- What are my chances of recovery?
- What can I do to prevent a relapse?
Moore DP, Jefferson JW. Handbook of Medical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2004.
National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/ .
Last reviewed March 2009 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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