Early Psychoeducation for Schizophrenia Caregivers

schizophreniaTaking care of a loved one who is suffering from schizophrenia is not always easy; therefore, researchers suggest that caretakers should take advantage of psychoeducation—education that is focused on a mental health disorder—as soon as a diagnosis is made.[1]

Researchers analyzed the results of 44 studies that had been conducted over the past three decades, and they found that early psychoeducation given to family members significantly increased their knowledge of schizophrenia and equipped them with the skills to be better caregivers.1 In fact, family members of patients with first-episode psychosis reported that they would have liked to have the psychoeducation provided even earlier than it was.1

Receiving psychoeducation in a group setting, that allowed the sharing of common experiences and peer support, was favored among family members.1 When offered outside of working hours, and sessions that were repeated two or more times to accommodate less-flexible scheduling were more effective.1 Another factor found to be important to families was the addition of an ethnic-cultural consideration into the program content.1 Approximately 16 to 18 hours over a period of eight to 24 weeks was the most successful time period for the psychoeducation programs.1

Researchers believe that booster sessions and online psychoeducation may also be beneficial to many; however, their use was significantly underexplored within the 44 studies that were reviewed.1 Therefore, future research may look into focusing on such.1

Researchers Jaqueline Sin and Ian Norman, from King’s College London wrote, “Given ever-increasing demands on integrating evolving technologies to enhance accessibility and flexibility of evidence-based interventions, further development to optimize online design and delivery of psychoeducational interventions for people with schizophrenia and their families would appear to be a worthwhile endeavor.”1

[1] Pedersen, T. (2014). Schizophrenia Caregivers Benefit from Early Psychoeducation. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 13, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/01/10/schizophrenia-caregivers-benefit-from-early-psychoeducation/64372.html

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