We Are The Patients’ Family

Three persons looking down on their colorful sneakers

Interaction With Psychiatric Patients

Some psychiatric patients have been institutionalized for so long, that they no longer have a family on the outside. Their family has either moved on and away from their lives, have passed away, or simply feel distant and disconnected from them. After many years of hospitalization, the psychiatrists and the team have become the patients family.

Many patients have different goals and objectives. Some patients are goal-oriented and comply with the team’s instructions: they take medications, attend groups, follow instructions and are working towards discharge. But some patients are too psychotic to even take a shower or utilize the toilet; these are the ones who end up staying institutionalized for years or even life.

Some patients avoid prison time by malingering that they have a mental illness. They will literally feign symptoms, in order to convince the court to send them to a psychiatric institute to serve the rest of their time. These patients may have an underlying mental illness, but not the one they are obviously feigning.

And then there are the patients who have a mental illness, are functioning and not symptomatic at the moment, but refuse to be discharged because they have no where else to go. Some of these patients do not even have a family anymore. They are so comfortable living in the psychiatric hospital, that it has become their home and we have become their family!

No matter what situation or state of mind a psychiatric patient is in, the primary team adopts a family role in most patients eyes. We are the ones providing medication, comfort, treatment plans, diets, mental and physical support, encouragement, time and care!

The moment that you see their eyes harboring a release of tears, is the moment that you come to the realization that we are in fact their family!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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Why The Mind Is So Complex

Silhouette of man thinking about something complex

The Intricacies Of The Mind

Part of the reason why mental illnesses are difficult to treat has to do with the complex nature of the human mind. Every person has their own beliefs, ways of viewing the world, character traits, opinions and ways of reasoning things out. What may work for one, does not necessarily work for another.

That’s part of the reason why medications such as antipsychotics or antidepressants do not have the same response in every patient. All of these medications are working in the same way on every person’s brain, but their minds are not necessarily working in the same on the medications.

That’s also why psychiatry is not all about writing prescriptions and seeing the patient in a couple of weeks. For all the patients who do experience this kind of care, then it should be your responsibility to search for a new psychiatrist; one that cares for you on a human level.

Psychiatric patients need time, patience and understanding from their providers. Psychiatrists need time, patience and understanding from their patients. This is the common ground that must be arrived at, in order for the patient to fully benefit from treatment. When one party is underperforming, then the other party becomes effected negatively.

It can be frustrating as a patient to share all of the intricacies of your mind, because you may feel that your psychiatrist is becoming inpatient or frustrated as well. But great psychiatrists do not lose patience! We are here to help you guys reach a stable and happy state of mind, where you can live a life full of joy and greatness once again!

Whenever you feel like losing hope because your mind feels like it’s giving up on you, share that experience and concern with your psychiatrist! We are here to provide encouragement and support on how to restructure your thought processes, and take back control over your mind.

We are here to help.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Understanding Psychiatric Patients

Psychiatric office with sofas, white pillows and lamps

Understanding Where One Comes From

Sometimes psychiatric patients have absolutely no logical explanation for their behavior. They may say one thing and do something completely different. They may be functioning well today and be catatonic tomorrow. They may attend groups this afternoon with good participation and defecate on themselves in the evening.

Mental illness works in unexpected ways; treating it is an art and science. You have to carefully listen to your patients every day; new emerging details can provide new meanings behind their illness. Sometimes it may become frustrating to listen to them; especially when they demonstrate no progress.

But patience is key to better understanding the mind of a psychiatric patient. You have to put in the time and effort to listen to every word and attempt to understand their behaviors. Sometimes it all makes sense, while at other times, you become lost in a puzzle.

Many times, psychiatric patients will have explanations and reasons that do not make sense to you, but it makes perfect sense to them. You have to validate their explanations even if you do not agree with them. This is because you have to show them that their way of viewing things is relatable.

Building rapport is very important if you want to get anywhere with a psychiatric patient. Why would they waste their time sharing their world with you if you cannot establish rapport? In order to establish rapport, you must demonstrate careful listening skills and a genuine desire to learn more about them.

And when you think that you may have hit a roadblock, the last thing that you want to do is to give up on your patient. What you need to do is to continue talking to them with the intent on helping them overcome their problems. It may not happen today or tomorrow.

But with a genuine and gentle approach, you may one day help them overcome their illness and help them live a more peaceful life.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)