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What Is Psychoeducation?

People who suffer from depression or bipolar disorder may benefit from psychoeducation.
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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2014
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Psychoeducation, or psychological disturbance education, is a type of therapy that typically seeks to educate mental health patients and their families about the nature of mental illness. Psychoeducation attempts to teach patients how to recognize the symptoms of mental illness and how to cope with mental illness symptoms. This type of therapy also seeks to give the families of mental illness sufferers the appropriate tools to offer support and care to the loved one. Research suggests that this method of therapy can help to reduce and mitigate episodes of mental illness. Psychoeducation may be useful in the treatment of schizophrenia, as well as a number of other serious psychiatric disorders.

This type of therapy is often performed in a family setting. Mental illness patients are believed to benefit from strong social and familial support. Psychoeducation seeks to provide patients and families with a strong base of knowledge about the nature and symptoms of the patient's mental illness, and to help them develop coping strategies. While it seeks to support the patient's recovery from mental illness, it also attempts to support the patient's relatives as they adjust to living with mental illness.

Psychological disturbance education groups and programs are typically supervised by mental health professionals. Loved ones and relatives are generally asked to take an active role in the patient's recovery. Other forms of psychiatric therapy, including psychoactive medications, may be used in conjunction with psychoeducation in an effort to bring about the most complete recovery possible.

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Evidence suggests that psychoeducation can help mitigate the symptoms of mental illness, even in the case of severe psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia. Episodes of mental illness typically become less frequent and less severe when psychoeducation forms part of a mental illness plan. Though psychoeducation is often used to threat schizophrenia, it may also benefit patients suffering other serious mental disorders. Persons suffering personality disorders, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, clinical depression, and bipolar disorders may benefit from psychoeducation's emphasis on understanding the symptoms of mental illness and learning to cope with them.

Patients who undergo psychological disturbance education may be less likely to experience severe episodes of mental illness in the future. Young persons suffering schizophrenia may be more likely to learn valuable skills and find employment after undergoing this type of family therapy. Patients, and their families, generally experience a higher quality of life after psychoeducation therapy.

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