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New survey reveals treatment goals of people with schizophrenia

ollowing significantly higher than physicians: returning to favorite hobbies and activities, decreasing feelings of being isolated due to schizophrenia and improving physical health.

A real problem with schizophrenia is the social stigma, Dr. Diamond said. "We aren't afraid of someone who is dangerous such as a drunk driver because they could be our neighbor or a cousin. Yet when we see someone who is different and may act strange, we become afraid of them for no real reason," he said. "Decreasing the stigma we have of people with mental illness is a constant battle. It's still just the beginning of acknowledging mental illness and incorporating people with mental illness into society."

Among the patients in the study, males outnumbered females 60 to 40 percent and the overall average age was 46 years. Of those with schizophrenia, more than 80 percent were diagnosed more than five years ago. The majority (70 percent) of schizophrenia patients surveyed were receiving treatment at community mental health centers with 96 percent being treated on an outpatient basis. Physician participants in the study were 32 percent female. The physicians surveyed were highly experienced. The majority have been treating schizophrenia patients for more than 10 years and more than half (52 percent) see more than 200 patients per month.

"In order for a psychiatrist to successfully treat a person with schizophrenia, it is necessary to have a respectful listening session where the physician gets to know the person, learn who they are and what they want from life," Dr. Diamond said. "If I don't know this person with or without schizophrenia, I'm not going to know how to direct them. We are trying to help them achieve their life goals rather than impose something on them."

To contact Ronald Diamond, M.D., contact Lisa Brunette at 608-263-5830 or la.brunette@hosp.wisc.edu.


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Contact: Lisa Brunette
la.brunette@hosp.wisc.edu
608-263-5830
American Medical Association
13-Oct-2004


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