By Yuko Kawanishi
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Extra info for Families Coping with Mental Illness: Stories in the U.S. and Japan
Parents’ Perceptions When the first signs of mental illness become apparent, its elusive nature tends to cause both the patient and the family to delay in confronting this grave reality. Every parent can pinpoint several critical episodes no matter how many years ago they took place that marked their lifelong trajectory as the family of a mentally ill patient. There are different paths through which the first signs of abnormality in a son or daughter were discovered. Roughly four patterns have been found among the parents interviewed.
It was almost ten years before Rick was sent to a psychiatrist, when Linda finally realized that her son needed to be hospitalized. She and her husband continued to support their son. After her husband, who had been her greatest support, died, Linda continued to take care of her son alone. She never married again. Now, she goes to see Rick twice a week at the board and care home where he lives. Linda knows what the stigma is like. Being a widow and living alone, she tries to participate in senior groups in her area.
In addition to the fact that developing schizophrenia during preadolescence is not typical, it is extremely difficult to make the diagnosis in very young children. Children are not yet capable of explaining their delusions and hallucinations. fm Page 27 Wednesday, November 9, 2005 7:36 AM Early Impressions • 27 Maria Hafer, 61, thinks that her son, Jeff, already had difficulty with other children around four years of age, and signs of extreme irritability and maladjustment were sufficiently evident to put him in a special education program in public school.
Families Coping with Mental Illness: Stories in the U.S. and Japan by Yuko Kawanishi