Schizophrenia: Impact on Family Dynamics.
Caqueo-Urízar A., Rus-Calafell M., Craig TK., Irarrazaval M., Urzúa A., Boyer L., Williams DR.
In many societies, family members are now the primary caregivers of mental health patients, taking on responsibilities traditionally under the purview of hospitals and medical professionals. The impact of this shift on the family is high, having both an emotional and economic toll. The aim of this paper is to review the main changes that occur in family dynamics for patients with schizophrenia. The article addresses three central themes: (i) changes in the family at the onset of the disorder, (ii) consequences for family members because of their caregiver role, and (iii) family interventions aimed at improving the complex dynamics within the family. After analyzing and discussing these themes, it is observed that despite advances in the field, the viability of taking care of a patient with schizophrenia by the family remains a challenge. Improving care will require commitments from the family, the mental health service system, and local and national governments for greater investments to improve the quality of life of society in general and individuals with schizophrenia in particular.