Schizophrenia and the Family

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Suzanne Patterson, Producer of film and book,  ‘A Life Worth Living – Alternative Treatment for Schizophrenia’

“Any Family with a member or child with schizophrenia is forced to make a succession of rapid-fire decisions for which they have neither information nor experience. They turn to psychiatrists, and the doctors tell them nothing. Nothing, except to take the medicine and if there are any side effects, take another medicine.

“What are the side effects?” you ask.

“Anything that seems abnormal.”, they answer.

“Abnormal? Everything seems abnormal!”

“Rigidity, shaking, tremors in the mouth.”

It’s devastating! Doctors so sure of themselves, offer nothing except half hour appointments for medication management at $150 per ½ hour? They tell you nothing about what to expect or about the horrible ‘normal’ numbing side effects from the drugs; the side effects that cause 75% of young people newly diagnosed with schizophrenia to stop taking them within the first year and a half (NY State Mental Health). We were left silenced, betrayed, and numb by the end of each presumptuous session with these bogus Wizards of Oz.

What is this great secret about schizophrenia that they can’t tell you anything? Is it really such a mystery? There are no studies? No practical advice? No common sense that can be shared with parents who are bewildered and scared out of their wits? When we first contacted Dr. Mackliff, a psychiatrist in Ecuador who had developed a radically different treatment for schizophrenia based on his observations of his schizophrenic patients over a 13-year-period, he told us, “Postpone your son’s entry into the university for one year; the studying and stress of a new environment will burn the glucose in his brain and worsen his condition.” This was the first helpful advice we received. Later his American psychiatrist would tell us, “He might be just fine at the university.”

“Take him to a hospital”, they told us. “Here’s an admittance order. Take him to a day program or full-time. Take him now”.

” No insurance? Go to UCLA Harborside, the County hospital.”

A thin line exists between what we call “normal” – the expected, routine and comfortable – and “madness”. Schizophrenia crossed this line for my son, Marco and for us, his parents. The familiar was stolen from us, and we crossed without choice into the unknown, terrifying and dangerous territory of schizophrenia.”

This is the first page of my book soon to be published, called ‘A Life worth Living – Alternative Treatment for Schizophrenia’.

I wish to open my blog for families to share their experiences, ask questions, and receive support. Please enter any comment you have in the comment space. Others, please respond to any comment. This is a real interactive blog with great potential for real help. Please use my blog as a resource both for yourselves and others.

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