Schizophrenia is a serious mental health disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves, causing individuals to have a difficult time distinguishing between what is real and what is imagined. Additionally, these individuals are often unable to think clearly, express feelings, or behave appropriately. Those suffering from schizophrenia may hear voices that are not really there and may also see things that do not really exist. Furthermore, those with schizophrenia may have trouble organizing their thoughts or expressing themselves; their speech and behavior may be so disorganized that it can seem alarming to others. Schizophrenia is a chronic and debilitating disorder that needs life-long treatment to reduce symptoms in order to allow individuals to have the highest quality of life possible.
Vermilion Behavioral Health Systems in Lafayette, Louisiana has been helping adolescents and adults in the community for over 30 years as the most comprehensive, free-standing provider of behavioral health services. Our 54-bed hospital provides adult specialty services, extended care substance abuse treatment, a military program (FLAGS), and is the region’s only provider of inpatient adolescent services. At Vermilion’s treatment clinic, we recognize how physically and mentally exhausting the symptoms of schizophrenia can be. We also know that, due to your psychotic symptoms, you may be fearful and socially withdrawn, causing you to feel depressed and alone. While right now you may feel hopeless about the future, the staff at Vermilion can help you through this difficult time. Let us help you get your life back.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Being the support system for an individual who is struggling with schizophrenia can be a difficult role, especially if your loved one denies there is a problem and resists any efforts for treatment. However, as difficult as it may be, you can make a huge difference in your loved one’s life by helping him or her find appropriate treatment, cope with symptoms, and remain successful down his or her path to recovery. Here is some helpful advice that may come in handy for helping a loved one who has schizophrenia:
- Do not feel ashamed because someone in your family has schizophrenia; it is a medical illness and nothing to be ashamed of
- Do not feel guilty or look for someone to blame
- Educate yourself about schizophrenia and its symptoms
- Establish a daily routine
- Help your loved one stay on his or her medication
- Let your loved one know that he or she is not facing this illness alone
- Try not to show feelings of anxiety or distress
- Realize that caring for a loved one can be emotionally and physically exhausting
- If the person can no longer be cared for at home, speak with doctor about other care options
Many times individuals with schizophrenia will resist treatment because they truly believe that their delusions or hallucinations are real and that they do not need help. If your loved one is reluctant to see a medical professional, here are a few things that may help:
- Provide options- if your loved one has more control over the situation, he or she may be more willing to seek help. You can give your family member an option of who can accompany him or her to the doctor, as well as which doctor he or she would prefer to see
- Focus on a particular symptom- sometimes individuals may resist going to the doctor because they are afraid of being judged. By suggesting that they go to the doctor for their insomnia or lack or energy, instead of their schizophrenia, they may be more likely to go
Why Consider Treatment at Vermilion Behavioral Health Systems
If left untreated, schizophrenia can result in severe emotional, behavioral, and health problems. Additionally, those with unmanaged schizophrenia are often able to hold down a job leading to financial difficulties and may end in homelessness. Furthermore, many individuals with this disorder have a hard time remaining stable in community settings and caring for themselves. In some instances, due to becoming more isolated and withdrawn, they may have a harder time obtaining services that could help with stability. Those who struggle with schizophrenia tend to have more health issues than those without the disorder and are less likely to receive proper medical help. Due to the unmanaged symptoms, individuals with schizophrenia often turn to drugs or alcohol, which only exacerbates the illness. If continued to be left untreated, the possibility of more debilitating effects developing increases. This is why proper treatment is necessary in order to help manage symptoms and give the individual a higher quality of life.
Schizophrenia requires lifelong treatment, even at times when symptoms have diminished. Inpatient treatment clinics are known to be extremely successful at providing people with the thorough care they need in order to help them learn more about their schizophrenia and how to better manage their symptoms. Additionally, during times of crisis, inpatient hospitalization is usually the best choice because it ensures safety and gets patients started on the right path toward recovery. While medication is a major part of schizophrenia, it alone is usually not enough to fully control symptoms, which is why a treatment rehab that also provides a variety of therapeutic methods is going to be the most beneficial.Through a variety of different therapeutic approaches, inpatient clinics can help patients learn how to manage their symptoms and learn to live a more independent life.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
With a clear focus placed on client care and patient safety, our goal is to provide compassionate, individualized, comprehensive, and high-quality care and treatment for individuals experiencing psychiatric, chemical dependency, or co-occurring disorders. Through a multidisciplinary team approach, we aim to promote each individual’s mental, emotional, and social wellness by utilizing proven therapeutic methods and providing a safe and structured treatment environment. In doing so, patients are able to explore and process issues and challenges, increase insight and understanding of their own mental health concerns, encourage family involvement, and enlist community support to assist them in meeting their treatment goals while in the hospital and beyond.
Types of Treatment offered at Vermilion Behavioral Health Systems
Upon arriving at Vermilion in Lafayette, each patient will complete an initial assessment where the staff will gather as much information about the individual as possible, such as currents needs for treatment, current level of functioning, and previous treatment history. Once this assessment is complete, it will be reviewed by one of our psychiatrists who will recommend the most appropriate level of care. If inpatient hospitalization is recommended, then the admission process is started immediately. At Vermilion’s treatment clinic, our main therapeutic model is rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT), which is suited for both acute, short-term lengths of stay, as well as extended care and a full spectrum of disorders, including mental health and substance abuse. Some of the other forms of therapy you may participate in may include the following:
Detoxification: For adolescents and adults who come to Vermilion chemically dependent on drugs or alcohol, we provide a fully-monitored medical detox rehab. As part of the 12-step model of recovery, we implement the idea of “rational recovery,” designed to provide patients with the recovery skills that can last a lifetime and prevent future struggles with addiction.
Medication management: Medication is the cornerstone of treatment for those who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Antipsychotics are the most commonly prescribed medication for this disorder and are prescribed to help control its symptoms. Each patient will meet with a psychiatrist on a regular basis in order to monitor the effectiveness of any medication that is prescribed and to make any necessary changes.
Group therapy: Group therapy is the main treatment method used at Vermilion’s treatment rehab for our inpatient treatment program. A variety of groups are held on a daily basis and some of the most common topics we cover include mental illness education, anger management, conflict resolution, developing effective communication skills and appropriate boundaries, goal-setting, problem-solving, medication education, and holistic wellness.
Individual therapy: Individual counseling sessions are held on an as-needed basis and can help patients learn how to cope with stress and identify early warning signs of relapse so that individuals are able to better manage their illness.
Family therapy: We believe that positive changes are initiated through the family unit as a whole, which is why we strongly encourage the family members of our patients to actively participate throughout the entire therapeutic process. Family therapy sessions are designed to address issues that affect the entire family and begin the process of identifying solutions. We also offer parents and caregivers education on mental illness and medication management so that they can effectively help their loved one.
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT): This form of therapy is designed to help people create a rich and meaningful life, while developing the skills needed to effectively handle the pain and stress that comes with life’s experiences.
In order to provide a fully comprehensive therapeutic experience, Vermilion also provides the following:
- Experiential therapies
- Expressive therapies
- Recreation therapy
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
At Vermilion’s treatment clinic in Lafayette, LA, we believe that planning is critical in ensuring that a patient is discharged into the most supportive environment possible to promote continuity of care and quality of life, maximize stabilization, and minimize the need of for re-hospitalization. Social services works with the treatment team to develop a discharge plan for each patient that includes, at a minimum, psychiatric and mental health aftercare services. Depending upon patient needs, the discharge plan may also include referrals to residential services, community resources, and support groups. Discharge plans are created based upon patient needs, resources, preference, geographic location of residence, appropriate level of aftercare, and family involvement.