Illness Self-management Programs in Schizophrenia and Severe Affective Disorders

  • Annette Schaub


Over the last 15 years there has been a remarkable change in how professionals treat patients with severe psychiatric illness and their relatives. It is now recognized that patients and families should be involved in the treatment process. They need information about the mental illness, its psychosocial and pharmacological treatment, as well as help in learning practical skills to cope with it. Up to now psychoeducational interventions have been developed for patients with schizophrenia and to a lesser extent for patients with depression. Whereas the efficacy of family interventions for schizophrenia (Goldstein, 1995; Pitschel-Walz et al., 2001) and severe affective disorders (e.g., Miklowitz et al., 2000) have been firmly established, illness self-management programs for patients have been less thoroughly investigated. This chapter provides an overview of these programs and of randomised controlled studies in this field. Two coping-oriented programs recently developed in Munich, one for schizophrenia, the other for depression are described as well as the results of randomised controlled trials for each. The chapter concludes with a discussion of which treatment elements in illness self-management programs may be critical for their effectiveness.


Bipolar Disorder Schizophrenic Patient Relapse Prevention Early Warning Sign Community Psychiatry 
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  • Annette Schaub

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