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My cousin was diagnosed with schizophrenia this week--can you help with resources

By Anonymous August 26, 2009 - 11:33pm
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My cousin, who I am super close with, was diagnosed with schizophrenia on Monday. He is 27 years old and single. He's had a pretty good job for the last 4 years in the auto repair industry but lately has had some struggles with some things and has seemed sort of out of touch with reality. His folks brought him in for some testing and help and that's when he was diagnosed after I guess talking with a psychiatrist at a local facility. We all live in New York and I'm really worried for him. He is going to be seeing a psychologist or maybe even a psychiatrist, I'm not sure which, regularly and he might need some medication and he can still work but I'm still concerned about him because we grew up together and it's hard to think of him struggling. I wanted to find some place maybe that we could all go to for help and information in our area but I'm not sure if anything is out there like that. I've been reading a lot on empowher about other health stuff but never thought I'd have to post about my own problem. I hope someone here maybe lives in NY too and maybe has a mental health issue and can help me out with a place to go for help. Thank you.

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Hi, Anon, and welcome to EmpowHer! Thank you so much for your question.

First of all, your cousin already has something very important -- a great support system. Clearly his folks and extended family (meaning YOU!) are around him helping him figure out what's happening and how to deal with it. That's awesome, and will make a big difference to how he sees himself.

Do you know if some things happened that made your cousin and his folks know that he needed help? Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that can affect different people in different ways. Overall, schizophrenics have trouble interpreting reality correctly. They may withdraw into themselves or be very angry; they may have hallucinations or hear voices; they may feel paranoid; they may have trouble functioning in society. Schizophrenia can be anywhere from mild to severe. It usually is treated with a psychiatrist and medications; your cousin may also benefit from seeing a therapist.

Here is our encyclopedia entry on schizophrenia:


And here's the Mayo Clinic page on the disorder:


The great news is that people with schizophrenia can be treated and can function well in the world around them. More and more is known about schizophrenia every day (and a lot of the old myths around it have gone away).

I think it's wonderful that you want to help the entire family be more responsive to your cousin. Probably the best thing you can do for him is to learn more about schizophrenia, and let him proceed with treatment at his own pace. There is a website all about schizophrenia that has forums for patients themselves and for the people around them, as well as lots and lots of information about the illness. You can sign up for an email newsletter, and there are blogs on the site and links where you can find support groups:


Here's the page that helps you find support groups in your area:


Don't be worried in the wrong way. Often, when someone receives a diagnosis, they feel relief, not worry, because they are finally on the road to figuring out what is wrong. Your cousin wants the same kind of relationship with you as he always had, and may prefer that the whole family doesn't focus on his illness. It's a very individual thing.

Please let us know if we can be of any more help. Your cousin is lucky to have you!

August 28, 2009 - 8:13am
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