Helping Someone with Schizophrenia

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A loved one who suffers from schizophrenia? Your assistance can significantly impact their ability to locate the best therapy, manage their symptoms, and create a full, fulfilling life.

Schizophrenia When A Loved One Is Affected

In order to treat and recover from schizophrenia, it is crucial to have the love and support of family and friends. You can be dealing with a wide range of challenging feelings if you have a loved one who suffers from schizophrenia, including fear, guilt, rage, and frustration. 

You can feel powerless in the face of the symptoms your loved one is experiencing, concerned about the stigma associated with schizophrenia, or perplexed and ashamed by their odd behaviors. 

You can even feel tempted to keep the sickness of your loved one hidden from others. But it’s crucial to keep in mind that a schizophrenia diagnosis does not constitute a death sentence. Especially with your love and support, recovery is achievable. In order to assist someone with schizophrenia, you must:

  • Accept the disease and its challenges.
  • Do not believe the lie that someone suffering from schizophrenia cannot recover or lead a happy, fulfilling life.
  • Make every effort to enhance your loved one’s well-being and quality of life.
  • Think about your own requirements.
  • Keep your sense of humor and your optimism.

The following tactics will help you support your loved one on the road to recovery without losing sight of your own ambitions and dreams, even if coping with a loved one’s schizophrenia can be difficult.

Helping A Loved One With Schizophrenia: Some Suggestions

Become informed. Understanding schizophrenia and its treatment will help you decide how to handle symptoms, encourage your loved one to seek out self-help methods, deal with setbacks, and move toward recovery.

Be less stressed. In order to provide your loved one with the structure and support they need, it’s crucial to remember that stress can make schizophrenia symptoms worse.

Create reasonable expectations. Being honest about the difficulties of schizophrenia is crucial. Be patient with the healing process and assist your loved one in setting and achieving reasonable objectives.

Give your loved one the power. Be careful not to assume control and perform tasks for your loved one that they are capable of performing alone. Support your loved one while promoting as much self-reliance and independence as you can.

Schizophrenia: Encourage Treatment And Self-Care

One of the most important aspects of assisting a loved one with schizophrenia is to encourage therapy and self-help. While medicine is a crucial part of treating schizophrenia, other variables also play a role in your loved one’s rehabilitation. 

The symptoms, emotions, and self-esteem of your loved one can be significantly impacted by self-help techniques, including adopting a nutritious diet, controlling stress, exercising, and seeking social support. 

A person will feel less powerless and hopeless the more they take care of themselves, and the more probable it is that their doctor will be able to lessen their prescription. Your loved one may need your encouragement and support to begin and maintain a self-help program.

Beginning Of Therapy

Convincing a person with schizophrenia to seek medical attention is frequently the first hurdle of therapy. There is no need for medical help for those who are experiencing delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia since the voices and conspiracy theories are genuine.

Try these things if a loved one who has schizophrenia is reluctant to consult a doctor:

Give choices. If your loved one feels that they have some control over the issue, they could be more inclined to visit the doctor. Offer to have someone else accompany your relative to the appointment if they seem wary of you. Additionally, you can let your loved one pick their own physician.

Concentrate on a single symptom. Schizophrenia patients may be reluctant to visit a doctor because they worry about being judged or called “crazy.” By recommending a visit to address a specific issue like sleeplessness or lack of energy, you might make the doctor seem less intimidating.

Assisting A Loved One With Their Treatment For Schizophrenia

Get assistance right immediately. Help your loved one find a reputable doctor and begin therapy as soon as possible because early intervention can affect the path of schizophrenia.

Be a team player. Your loved one will be more motivated to pursue recovery if they have a say in their own care.

Tip 1: Support self-help. 

Since the most severe symptoms of schizophrenia are frequently episodic, your loved one may be able to use self-help techniques during times of respite from these symptoms to reduce the duration and frequency of future episodes.

Tip 2: Create a network of supporters.

You need assistance, inspiration, and understanding from others if you want to support and care for someone with schizophrenia more effectively. It will be better for you and your loved one if you have more support.

Tip 3: Know your own limitations. 

Regarding the degree of assistance and attention, you can offer, be practical. You can’t do it all, and if you’re worn out, you won’t be much assistance to a loved one, so get help where you can.

Tip 4: Sign up for a support group. 

Meeting people who have experienced what you are might help lessen emotions of loneliness and dread. Support groups offer a vital forum for family members of persons with schizophrenia to exchange experiences, suggestions, and knowledge.

Tip 5: Consult with dependable friends and relatives. 

Find out whether you can get help from loved ones by asking them. Your request will most likely be met with flattery.

Tip 6: Find new buddies. 

It’s never too late to make new friends and expand your support system if you don’t feel like you have someone to turn to.

Tip 7: Take advantage of the assistance available.

Inquire with your loved one’s physician or therapist about respite care and other forms of help in your community, or get in touch with nearby hospitals and mental health facilities.

Monitor Your Medication Intake

As soon as your loved one begins therapy, attentive observation can guarantee that they stay on course and get the most from their medicine.

Consider the implications carefully. Because of adverse effects, many patients with schizophrenia quit taking their medication. Any unsettling side effects should be brought up to the doctor, who may be able to change the antipsychotic, lower the dose, or add more medicine to combat the adverse effect.

Encourage the person you love to routinely take their medicine. Some persons with schizophrenia avoid medicine or have problems remembering their daily dose, even when side effects are under control. Calendars, weekly pillboxes, and medication reminder apps can all be useful. Instead of taking tablets every day, certain drugs can be administered as long-lasting weekly or monthly injections.

Avoid medication interactions at all costs. By providing the doctor with a thorough list of all the medications and supplements your loved one is taking, you may help them avoid any potentially harmful drug interactions. If your relative has a substance misuse issue, talk to the doctor before combining alcohol or illicit substances with schizophrenia medicine.

Watch your loved one’s development. A helpful approach to monitoring changes in your family member’s behavior, attitude, and other symptoms in response to medication is to use a mood-tracking app, notebook, or diary.

Watch out for indicators of relapse. It is crucial that your family member continues to take all prescribed medications since stopping medication is the most common trigger of relapse in schizophrenia. Relapse can happen even when a person is taking their medicine as directed, but by spotting the warning signs and acting quickly, you may be able to avert a full-blown catastrophe.

Common Indicators Of Relapse In Schizophrenia

  • Insomnia
  • Social isolation
  • declining standards of personal hygiene
  • greater paranoia
  • Hostility
  • illogical or confusing speech
  • Unusual disappearances
  • Hallucinations

Call the doctor immediately away if you see any indicators of relapse or any evidence that your family member’s schizophrenia symptoms are growing worse.

Get Ready For Emergency Scenarios

However hard you try to avoid your loved one from relapsing, there may be instances when their health suddenly worsens, and hospitalization is necessary to keep them safe. You can handle a psychotic episode more swiftly and securely if you have a strategy in place for it. The following items should be on a schizophrenia sufferer’s emergency plan:

  • Doctor’s and therapist’s emergency phone numbers for your loved one.
  • The name of the hospital you will visit for mental hospitalization and its phone number.
  • Who will look after other children or dependents while you cope with the problem? Friends or family?
  • Discussing the emergency plan with your family member is a good idea as well. If your loved one is prepared for a crisis, the circumstance could be less terrifying for them.

Ten Recommendations For Managing A Schizophrenia Crisis

  • Keep in mind that acute insanity prevents you from using logic.
  • The individual can be horrified by their own sense of helplessness.
  • Don’t show irritability or rage.
  • Don’t yell at the individual or threaten them; instead, speak slowly and politely.
  • Avoid using sarcasm as a tool.
  • Turn off the TV, computer, hum-producing fluorescent lights, and other sources of distraction.
  • Ask any passing guests to leave; the fewer people there are, the better.
  • Avoid making constant, direct eye contact.
  • Stay away from the person.
  • Ask the other individual to join you in sitting down.

Look Into Your Housing Choices

Finding the ideal living arrangement might be difficult, but someone with schizophrenia needs a secure, encouraging environment to call home.

  • Can the person you love take care of themselves?
  • How much assistance do they require with everyday tasks?
  • Does the person you care about struggle with drugs or alcohol?
  • How much supervision is needed for your loved one’s treatment?

Being A Family Member

If a person’s family members have a solid understanding of the condition, their own strong support networks, and the ability to offer whatever assistance is required, living with family may be a viable choice for someone with schizophrenia. If the person with schizophrenia abuses drugs or alcohol, refuses to take their medicine or is combative or difficult, at-home arrangements are less likely to be effective.

Selecting the Best Housing Option for a Schizophrenic

  • The optimum conditions for living with family are A pretty good level of functioning, the ability to retain friendships, and involvement in activities outside the house.
  • Family members talk to one another in a comfortable manner.
  • The schizophrenia sufferer plans to utilize the offered support services.
  • No young children in the house are badly impacted by the living arrangement.
  • If the primary caretaker is a lone individual, unwell, or elderly, living with relatives is not encouraged.
  • There is a minimal probability that a person with schizophrenia will lead a regular family life because of their severe illness.
  • The circumstance strains the marriage or makes the kids feel scared and angry at home.
  • Most family gatherings center on the schizophrenic member.
  • There are no support services available.

If you lack the necessary resources to shelter a person with schizophrenia, try not to feel guilty. They will be better off elsewhere if you are unable to care for your loved one while also attending to your own needs and the requirements of other family members.

Alternatives To The Family Home For Housing

If a living situation at home isn’t ideal, look into the local residential facilities. Options in your region may be:

  • Residential treatment centers or nursing homes are open round-the-clock. A more structured living environment for people who need additional help or are going through a severe psychotic episode.
  • Transitional home for groups. A thorough program that assists people in making the transition back into society and preventing relapse following a crisis or hospital stay.
  • Boarding or foster homes. A shared living arrangement that provides food and other basics while allowing for some independence.
  • Supervised housing Staff members are on-site to help and support residents who live alone or in shared apartments.

Look after yourself.

Self-care is not self-indulgent. In fact, attending to your own health requirements is just as crucial for your loved one who has schizophrenia.

The family might experience a tremendous amount of stress as a result of schizophrenia. It may consume your life and exhaust you. Additionally, if you’re anxious, the person with schizophrenia will get stressed as a result, which can cause or worsen their symptoms.

By taking care of your own health, you may serve as an example for your loved one since establishing good lifestyle patterns is crucial for treating the symptoms of schizophrenia. You might even be able to take some of these actions together, supporting and encouraging one another as you go.

Relate to others. 

The most effective technique to reduce stress is through social engagement with someone who values you. It’s critical that you and the person with schizophrenia have face-to-face connections with other people—someone you can talk to for an extended amount of time and who will listen without passing judgment or being distracted frequently. That individual may be a friend, relative, clergyman, or licensed therapist.

Exercise often. 

Exercise relieves stress and produces endorphins, potent brain chemicals that boost your mood and make you feel good. Aim for 30 minutes of action on most days, or if it’s easier, three 10-minute sessions, whether you exercise alone, with a friend, or with a loved one with schizophrenia.

Adopt a balanced diet. 

The food you consume directly affects how you feel. Reduce your intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates, which can cause a sudden slump in mood and energy. Improve your attention, energy, and perspective by increasing your consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish, fish oil, walnuts, and flaxseeds. The same dietary advice can also be used to control the symptoms of a loved one.

Develop your acceptance. 

Accept your sentiments, including the unfavorable ones, rather than obsessing on how unjust your loved one’s diagnosis was. It can significantly impact your capacity to control stress and maintain emotional stability. For additional information, see HelpGuide’s Emotional Intelligence Toolkit.

Look for joy. 

Making time for enjoyment is not a luxury; it is a need. Whether it’s spending time in nature, seeing friends, or reading a good book, make time in your day for the activities you like. Encourage your schizophrenic loved one to follow suit.

Take care of your health. 

Stress in your life will only increase if you ignore your health. Sleep adequately and keep up with any medical issues.

Make use of breathing exercises. 

Stress-reduction methods, including progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, deep breathing, and meditation, can help you regain control of your body and mind.

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