Confronting the reality of mental illness can be scary because it’s natural to have a fear of the unknown. The negative stigma that still exists can also serve as a hindrance for many who might otherwise benefit from professional help. That’s why when Josh initially came face-to-face with his schizophrenia, his first reaction was not to embrace it.
But when Josh did finally come to terms with the diagnosis, he said his life did a 180. He participated more in treatment and gained a better handle on the disorder that impacts nearly 2.5 million other adults living in America. Before that point, however, Josh said voices drove him to forcefully enter his parents’ residences. He even stole his sister’s car. Thirteen years after this incident and a stint in jail, Josh says that treatment and medication have changed his life.
Josh is not alone. According to an article featured at News-Press Now, over one in four Americans aged 18 and up are diagnosed with some form of mental illness each year. Estimates place the number of Americans living with severe mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar at close to 6 percent.
Experts advise that having a recovery plan in place can help with the management of serious mental illness and the achievement of life goals. Josh attributes his treatment program with helping him to live an active and normal life. He adds that the formation of friendships have helped support him along the way.
The role of family and friends is not to be underestimated. Loved ones should know that schizophrenia is a treatable disease and that there have been many new medications developed over time which offer relief. When taken as prescribed, antipsychotic medications help minimize symptoms, and long-acting injectable antipsychotic therapies (LATs) allow patients to reduce the number of pills that need to be taken on any given day. Medication is only one element of treatment for schizophrenia and other mental health problems, and many can successfully manage their symptoms with a combination of treatment strategies.
Family and friends can aid loved ones in overcoming barriers that impede treatment of mental illness. They also serve as a key support network to help walk them through the process. Family Guidance Center has treatment programs specifically geared to individuals living with schizophrenia and other mental disorders. To learn more about what you can do to assist a loved one in their process of recovery, contact Family Guidance Center.