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Ask the Experts

Question:

My husband has schizophrenia but refuses to take his medication. He is deteriorating and is crying out for help. What can I do to help?

Answered by: Thomas Smith

It can be very difficult trying to help a loved one get the best treatment possible. Many people with schizophrenia stop taking their medications for a variety of reasons.

If possible, it is critical to communicate regularly with his doctor to review your options. If he is refusing the medications because of side effects, the dose can possibly be adjusted or a different medication tried. Sometimes people stop their medication because they feel they are no longer ill. If you can, try to find a "common ground" of agreement on why the medications are important.

Again, his psychiatrist should be aware and can help with these discussions. If you are worried that he is getting much worse without medications, you should contact his psychiatrist right away, or be ready to call 911 if you feel he could need emergency care.