Long-Term Care of a Woman with Schizophrenia: Psychosocial, and Gender-specific Recovery Factors


Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry, Moscow, Russia


Introduction: Schizophrenia is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder that has many effects on a woman’s ability to lead a meaningful and satisfying life. Even with optimal pharmacologic treatment, many women with schizophrenia are impaired in their ability to achieve occupationally and to establish the long-term intimate human relationships that provide meaning and context to their lives.

Purpose: My purpose is to illustrate the issues involved in the long-term management of schizophrenia in the case of ‘A’, with whom I have worked for over 15 years.

Methods: I tried to deal with the range of issues that confronted us in as pragmatic a way as I could given the available resources. My relationship with ‘A’ has had two facets that have interwoven with one another over time. I have tried to be both a “clinical psychologist-expert” who has helped to “manage” her disease and an “advisor-colleague” who has tried to provide guidance and counsel on a range of very human, feminine problems.

Results: The course of therapy with ‘A’ illustrates the multifaceted nature of the treatment of chronic psychotic illness. Interventions were made at the level of pharmacology (by psychiatrist), social factors (moving out from a conflictual home environment and reduction of occupational stress), and psychological gender-specific recovery issues (intimacy in love relationships). She remained well over the past 5 years. She then took a competitive employment. She is well enough to assume the responsibilities of her current job.

Conclusions: Important aspect that emerged from the present clinical case study concerns gender-specific issues in the individual recovery process. This aspect has been little investigated in schizophrenia recovery research. Consequently, there is an apparent need for more research on possible gender-specific issues in the recovery process. We found that given the right circumstances, supports and encouragement, this woman is finding her niche in expressing herself and utilizing her potential.