A Family that Takes Meds Together Stays Together

Mar 07, 2017

“”. . . there are times when silence is like a poem.”

John Fowles
from the novel
“The Magus”

A Family that Takes Meds Together Stays Together

TISA Description of the Problem: With young patients, the idea that they have “been singled out” as needing medications can be stigmatizing and hard to process in a healthy manner. The following insightful tip by Rory Sellmer, a fourth-year resident in psychiatry at the University of Calgary can prove to be quite creative and effective in diminishing this problem..

Tip: I encourage families to take their medications together to normalize the experience. This seems to work particularly well with young patients with psychosis. For example I might comment:

“What would it be like for you if you were to take your antipsychotic medications every night at the same time your Mom is taking her blood pressure medication?”

I also encourage the parents to make this a time to check in with symptoms.

TISA Follow-up: Rory first shared this tip with me when I was presenting in Calgary, and as soon as I heard it, I loved it. It is a delightful way to normalize taking medications, and it can be used frequently for many parents will be taking some type of medication. It helps the family to view their illnesses as the problem, not themselves, emphasizing that the family is working together against the illnesses with which they are all coping. I imagine, that in some situations, you could even tell the patient that it is a great time to ask Mom how things are going with her high blood pressure to further share the reality that “it is us against the illnesses not us against each other.”

Tip provided by:

Rory Sellmer, M.D.
Fourth-year resident, Department of Psychiatry
University of Calgary

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