Diagnosis: Schizophrenia: A Comprehensive Resource for Patients, Families, and Helping Professionals

Diagnosis: Schizophrenia: A Comprehensive Resource for Patients, Families, and Helping Professionals

Diagnosis: Schizophrenia: A Comprehensive Resource for Patients, Families, and Helping Professionals

Diagnosis: Schizophrenia: A Comprehensive Resource for Patients, Families, and Helping Professionals

Synopsis

The disease is not fatal but few diagnoses have the capacity to instill as much fear in the hearts of patients and families. Here is a profoundly reassuring book that shows there can be life after a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The book includes thirty-five first-person accounts, along with chapters by professionals on a wide range of issues from hospitalization to rehabilitation. Jargon-free and technically accurate, the chapters are short and offer up-to-date information on medication, coping skills, social services, clinical research, and much more. Patients and their families can read the book from cover to cover or skip around and select topics as the need arises.

Excerpt

In 1966, when I was a student, I attended my first case conference in a psychiatric hospital. Sitting around the table were the psychiatrist who was the director of a 150-bed division in this large urban hospital, the patient's treating psychiatrist, and other members of the treatment team: a social worker, a clinical psychologist, a clinical psychology intern, and other students. The patient we were discussing was a young man who was experiencing his first hospitalization, and everyone seemed to agree that the evidence pointed to a diagnosis of schizophrenia. When the discussion was over, all eyes turned to the director. He nodded sagely and said something like: “This is a very nice young man. We should not give him such a terrible diagnosis at this time. When he comes back the next time … that will be time enough. Now, let us find another diagnosis.” There was a universal nod of agreement, and then the group found another diagnosis.

In 1999 I attended another case conference, this time for a young woman who was experiencing her first hospitalization. The patient was interviewed by the head of the psychiatry department, with staff and trainees observing. The staff provided additional information regarding psychological testing and a treatment course. Then there was a lively discussion about diagnosis. One of the senior staff voiced the same sentiment I had heard more than thirty years earlier: “Don't use the word schizophrenia yet. Let's wait.”

This book counters the assumptions that underlie those statements: that using the word schizophrenia should be shunned for as long as possible; that using it as the diagnosis of a patient is necessarily a bad thing; and that people for whom it is an appropriate diagnosis have no hope and no expectations.

Diagnosis: Schizophrenia was written by Rachel Miller, A.C.S.W., Susan Mason, Ph.D., and a group of patients who participated in the New Onset Psychosis Program at Hillside Hospital, a division of North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. It grew out of the patients' desire to share with . . .

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