Advice about Friends with Mental Illness

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I believe my friend has schizophrenia

Feb 2008

I am looking for advice on getting treatment or help for a friend who, I believe, is in the early stages of schizophrenia. She is estranged from her family, is not married, and does not have children. She has been seeing a psychiatrist for several years, but I am beginning to question whether he has been optimally managing her situation. The main problem is that she does not believe that she has a problem and wants people to stay out of her business and leave her alone. One thought that I had was to find a great doctor who I could speak with in order to get information for myself in learning how to deal with her and the situation, and then at some point down the road try to convince her to talk to someone other than her previous doctor. Does anyone have a recommendation for an excellent psychiatrist who deals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, or has personal recommendations or experience with such a situation. -at a loss for what to do

Kaiser has a group for friends and family of those with mental illnesses. It might be a good place to start and educate yourself as well as find resources for you and your friend. Good luck. Anon.

It sounds like your friend thinks she is dealing with her problem, if she's seeing a psychiatrist and doesn't want help from other people. You can certainly try to find her a different doctor, but you should be clear about what you can expect from a psychiatrist in terms of ''managing her situation.'' They specialize in tinkering with medications and can only work with what she is willing to give them in terms of information. I'm not sure if a psychiatrist will talk with you about her situation because it's hard for them to recommend anything without meeting her.

All that being said, I can suggest a psychiatrist that has been helpful to me, Donald Stanford in Berkeley at 540-6235. He did an excellent job of analyzing my situation and getting me onto the right medications for bipolar disorder. I just wonder how easy it will be for any psychiatrist to do that secondhand. anon