Caregivers of People With Mental Illness Say Treatment Disruption Has Serious Consequences

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Mental Illness Treatment

The disruption of a family member's treatment for mental illness and subsequent worsening of psychiatric symptoms can have harsh financial, physical and emotional consequences for families, according to results from an international survey of caregivers of individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder. Keeping Care Complete is a survey of 982 family caregivers, including 200 caregivers from the United States.

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"One in 17 Americans suffer from serious mental illnesses worldwide. When you consider all of the parents, siblings, spouses and children connected to these individuals, you see how far the shadow of serious mental illness is cast," said Preston J. Garrison, secretary general and chief executive officer, World Federation for Mental Health. "This survey shows that many caregivers have experienced both the chaos of their loved one's relapse and the relief that comes with stabilization."

Keeping Care Complete reveals the devastating consequences of relapse, defined as the worsening of symptoms after apparent recovery, and sheds light on a desire among caregivers for doctors to focus on long-term care rather than managing crisis situations. The survey was developed by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) and Eli Lilly and Company. Independent market research company Ipsos conducted the survey of caregivers in the United States, as well as in Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Relapse Consequences of Mental Illness

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