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Talking to Your Doctor About Schizophrenia

You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with schizophrenia. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can make the best choices for you and your family.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get and make sure you grasp what you are hearing. Ask for help, if needed.
  • Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Schizophrenia

  • What can I expect with this illness?
  • Will I be able to marry and have children?
  • Will I be able to hold a job?
  • Where can I get more information?

About Your Risk of Other Problems

  • Am I at risk for other problems such as:
    • Depression
    • Suicide
    • Alcohol or drug abuse
    • Other

About Treatment Options

  • What treatments are available for schizophrenia?
    • What medicine can help me?
    • Are long-acting injectable medicines an option for me?
    • How long will they take to work?
    • What benefits can I expect?
    • What side effects can I expect?
    • How can I manage these side effects?
  • Have you treated other people with schizophrenia? If not, do you know of another doctor who does?
  • Do you know where I can find:
    • Treatment groups
    • Support groups
    • Job training
    • Other psychosocial interventions
    • Help for my family members

Interview therapists by asking:

  • What is your basic approach to treatment?
  • How long do I need treatment?
  • How long and how frequent are the treatment sessions?
  • What type of health insurance is accepted?
  • Do you have a financial program to help pay for treatment?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Do I need to make changes in my:
    • Daily routine
    • Diet
    • Activity
  • How can I take the best care of myself?

About Outlook

  • What are my chances of recovery?
  • What can I do to prevent a relapse?
REFERENCES:

Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed August 13, 2019..

Holder SD, Wayhs A. Schizophrenia. Am Fam Physician. 2014;90(11):775-782.

Schizophrenia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115234/Schizophrenia. Updated November 29, 2018. Accessed August 13, 2019.

Schizophrenia. Mental Health America website. Available at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/schizophrenia. Accessed August 13, 2019.

Schizophrenia. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml. Updated February 2016. Accessed August 13, 2019.

Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD  Last Updated: 8/13/2019