Schizoaffective disorder - Treatment issues
Who will manage my treatment?
Your GP should refer you to an ‘early intervention team’ for your first psychotic episode. Your GP should not give you antipsychotic medication without first talking to a psychiatrist. You should be assessed quickly.
You will be able to access an early intervention team regardless of your age. Usually you will only be able to access early intervention teams for up to 3 years. But the team can consider longer if you are still unwell.
If there is not an early intervention team in your area you should be referred to a crisis team or community mental health team.
These teams are known as secondary care teams in the NHS. They are usually made up of psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses, social workers and support workers. The teams should support you:
- to improve your quality of life. They can support you with things like:
- treatment options,
- risk of harm to self or others,
- alcohol and drug use
- your weight,
- physical activity
- sexual health
- employment, and
You may be put under a package of care called the ‘care programme approach’ (CPA). This means that you will have a care plan and care coordinator to make sure that you get the support that you need.
If your symptoms respond well to treatment you can be referred back to your GP. You should be asked if you are happy for this to happen. Your GP will monitor your symptoms. And will do physical health checks with you.
Your GP may refer you back to secondary care teams if:
- treatment hasn’t helped you to get better,
- you have bad side effects from medication,
- you are misusing alcohol or drugs, or
- you are a risk to yourself or other people.
What if I am not happy with my treatment?
If you are not happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
- ask for a second opinion,
- Ask a relative, friend or advocate to help you speak your doctor,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
You should first speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you are not happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.
Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you are not given this treatment ask your doctor to explain why it is not suitable for you.
A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.
You don’t have a right to a second opinion. But your Doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.
An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard. There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like.
You can search online to search for a local advocacy service. If you can’t find a service you can contact the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service on 0300 500 927, we will look for you. But be aware that this type of service doesn’t exist in all areas.
The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
PALS is part of the NHS. They give information and support to patients.
You can find your local PALS here.
You can click on the following to find out more about them:
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays