Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Moving Beyond the Fear of Treatment

There is much medical information on the Internet.  Some of it very good, other based more on misconceptions.  One area where myths pervade the web is on the effects of treating someone with a severe mental illness who initially refuses treatment.  Many people with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia often refuse treatment because they don’t believe they are sick.  Medically this is called anosognosia and it affects approximately 40 percent of people with schizophrenia. 

There is information floating around on the Internet that’s its better not to treat someone who refuses treatment because they don’t think they are sick.  The evidence, however, flies in the face of this notion.  Once a patient is being treated, they soon realize that the treatment works.

Medically, the sooner someone with a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia is on treatment, the greater the likelihood of success.  Early treatment is key to reducing other risk factors associated with severe mental illnesses.  The consequences of waiting—alcoholism, addiction, violence, and even suicide—are too great to wait.