Wednesday, August 01, 2007

He is a great person...when he is on his meds

Approximately 2 million individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are receiving no treatment for their illness at any given time. Every day we hear stories from family members desperate to get help for the people they love. And every morning when we read the newspapers, we see quotes like these.

“If I could get her on her medications for three days, she would be fine.” [According to her aunt, Melissa Haygood,] who was discharged from a state mental institution when she was 16, rejected by her parents and left at her door, is perfectly normal when using her prescriptions, but trouble starts when the medicines are not used.
"He is a wonderful dad," Rowland said. "He is great as long as he is not sick. When he is sick, then we have problems."
"He had been doing pretty good," Donald Cummings said. "It was only within the last month he decided not to continue his medication. He subsequently shut everyone down. He shut them out totally." When Ronald Cummings chose to take his medication he was a kind, compassionate person who enjoyed cooking and listening to gospel music, his brother said.

If you are a family member facing a similar situation, start by really understanding your state’s commitment law (not all states require someone to be dangerous, though many people think that is the case), then prepare for crisis.

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