About a year ago I wrote about the Positive Psychiatry movement I’ve started to honor and recognize the best and brightest professionals in the mental health field. In a Schizophrenia Bulletin First Person Account [“Immediate Intervention: Lifelong Success”](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3885296/ ““Immediate Intervention: Lifelong Success””) I wrote in detail about Dr. G: the person I credited with helping me have a better life.
I’m going to continue here with ways you can try to get the schizophrenia treatment you deserve. Not all psychiatrists are created equal and some of them are downright fishy in how they treat and interact with their patients.
Seek out support as soon as you’re diagnosed.
Allow your mother or father, wife or husband or another family member, or a good friend to be a part of your treatment team. Use them to reality test what you think is going on: to give you feedback and go to bat for you. If you are a parent, as hard as it can be, show up when your son or daughter is admitted to a hospital. Make the staff aware of your presence.
Realize it takes time to heal and to improve your condition.
Recovery is not a race, nor is it a competition. That’s why family support is vital and can be a key factor in enabling you to recover. See my strategies for newly diagnosed patients. In one of my first SharePosts I wrote that you often have to give yourself 10 years in recovery to obtain an optimal effect. I’m fond of saying now that I had to recover from the first 13 years of my recovery before my
life took off.
Take the risk to speak up on your own as you start to get better.
Early on I was shunted into a second day program. I was placed in the lowest level of groups simply because I was quiet. Yet I had literally lost my voice because I was shell-shocked when I was told I couldn’t get a job and that I had to attend another day program. Faced with living a dead-end life, I started to push the counselor to send me for job training.
Consider firing a professional who isn’t professional.
Research other options with due diligence if you need to. The CastleConnolly directory on the Internet is a search database for top-rated doctors. Alternately, ask someone you trust whose feedback you value if they can recommend a good psychiatrist. That’s how I found Dr. G.
I had seen my second doctor for five years. I didn’t trust him because he was unethical so this jeopardized my treatment because I wasn’t honest with him. You have the right to demand excellence from your providers too.
I canceled the last appointment I scheduled with “Dr. Tarnoff” and didn’t go back. Years later a therapist told me that because I didn’t trust this doctor any medication change he instituted might not have worked. Is this possible? I didn’t stick around to find out.
Get a second opinion if you think it is warranted.
Seven diagnostic tools should be used to rule out or confirm schizophrenia. Also: I know one guy who saw his regular psychiatrist routinely. Once a year he saw an esteemed specialist for feedback on his treatment.
Christina Bruni wrote about schizophrenia for HealthCentral as a Patient Expert. She is a mental health activist and freelance journalist.