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Use of Symptoms by Schizophrenics to Monitor and Regulate Their Illness
Linda McCandless-Glimcher; Shirley McKnight; Edna Hamera; Barbara L. Smith; Kathryn A. Peterson; Ardyce A. Plumlee
Psychiatric Services 1986; doi:
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Pawnee Mental Health, Concordia, Missouri

Central State University, Kansas City Campus

The Department of Psychiatric Nursing of the School of Nursing of the University of Kansas, 39th and Rainbow Boulevard, Kansas City, Kansas 66103

The Bert Nash Mental Health Center in Lawrence, Kansas

The Department of Psychiatric Nursing at the University of Kansas

1986 American Psychiatric Association

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Interviews with 62 outpatients with chronic schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder indicated that many patients monitor symptoms that they associate with changes in their illness and alter their behavior based on their symptoms. Ninety-eight percent of the subjects identified symptoms, two-thirds of which were nonpsychotic, that indicated to them they were getting worse. Eighty-two percent of those who identified symptoms of decompensation responded by altering their behavior, either by selftreatment (such as self-medicating, engaging in a diversionary activity, or attempting to ignore the symptoms), by seeking mental health assistance, or both. The authors compare their findings with those of other studies and discuss the study's implications for research on and care of schizopbrenic patients.

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