Last updated: August 23. 2013 3:39PM - 77 Views

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LIMA — It's a problem health professionals at every level face: Patients take it upon themselves to stop taking prescribed medication.Mental health professionals recently have been deeply reminded by it following the case of Kenyada Vorise-Jackson, who fatally stabbed her 4-year-old sister May 31. The 19-year-old has a lengthy history of mental illness and had stopped taking her medication before the incident.“It is a big issue across health care, whether behavioral or not,” said Josh Ebling, president and CEO of the Family Resource Center. “Stories like these that hit get the press, but the fact is that taking medicine is a serious deal, and you just need to do it under the close watchful eye of a professional physician.”Vorise-Jackson was acquitted Thursday on all five charges against her and will be sent to a psychiatric hospital in Toledo.She was on prescription medication to treat a bipolar disorder and atypical psychotic episodes. She stopped taking her medicine a few months earlier saying it made her feel sluggish and she didn't like that feeling as a track athlete at Elida High School.People decide to stop taking medications for all kinds of reasons, Ebling said, including side effects from the medicine or just not wanting to take a pill every day.“Whatever the reason is, it is just terribly important that you share those with your doctor and let him or her help guide you through the treatment process,” Ebling said.Others might believe they are getting better. It is not unheard of that someone with a mental diagnosis be weened off of medication, but Ebling said it has to be done under the guidance of a physician. “The practice of medicine is regulated for a reason,” he said. “It is real important not to do it yourself. If you are feeling better and you feel like it is something you want to address with your physician, by all means do it, but with your physician.”The age of onset for many mental illnesses is between 18 and 25. Ebling said it is important to pay attention and work closely with a physician during the early stages of diagnosis.Talking to loved ones about taking their medicine in a confrontational way or when they are going through an episode of some sort does not work, said Phil Atkins, associate director of the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Allen, Auglaize and Hardin counties. Bring it up during a calm time, he said, not a fight. By state law, a family member cannot force someone to take medicine or force that person into a hospital unless he could cause immediate danger to himself or others. Atkins suggests putting what he calls a “wellness recovery plan” in writing.“When they are doing well, involve the family member in saying this what I want to have happen if you see me start to slip,” he said. “These are the supports that I will need, this is what you can say to me to get me back on track. It is not full proof, but at least it is a pre-plan.”The research is mixed, Ebling said, as to whether news of something extreme like the Vorise-Jackson case is a real deterrent to others.“Maybe it causes some family to say, ‘I need to monitor my child more closely,' ” he said. “From that angle, if it helps some family be more cognitive of staying on top of their health care, then I guess it is a good thing.”

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