How to Support a Loved One with Schizophrenia

Any new diagnosis can be overwhelming and intimidating, but understanding schizophrenia is key to supporting your loved one. 

You can learn how to help someone with schizophrenia by understanding what it is, the symptoms to watch for, and how to offer ideas for self-help while making sure you’re also taking care of yourself during the process. Knowledge can remove fear, action can remove doubts, and you can begin to feel hopeful that your loved one will live a rich life. 

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects a person’s ability to think clearly or stay grounded in reality and causes them to experience psychosis as exhibited by delusions or hallucinations. The onset of this mental illness does not occur until a person reaches their twenties or thirties and can affect men or women.

The cause is typically unknown, but contributing factors could include genetic predisposition, a person’s environment, or a problem with brain structure or function.

Schizophrenia Symptoms

Gradual shifts usually occur before the first episode of psychosis, such as changes in social interactions, shifts in mood, or a person’s ability to think clearly. When you are able to recognize the signs and symptoms, it is easier to know how to help someone with schizophrenia.

  • Withdrawal from daily activities 
  • Paranoia 
  • Delusions  
  • Disorganized speech/thoughts 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Decrease in cognitive function  

How to Help Someone with Schizophrenia

Educate Yourself

The best way to help someone with schizophrenia is to learn all you can about the symptoms and treatment so that you can aid in developing daily strategies. Things to focus on are coping with symptoms, handling setbacks, and setting achievable goals.  

Set Realistic Expectations

Discussing self-help for schizophrenia is important so your loved one can feel more in control as they manage their disease. Encourage the needed treatment from professionals as they attempt the self-help process and be patient with the pace of recovery when psychosis occurs.

Create a Stress-Free Environment

Stress can create an atmosphere that causes someone with schizophrenia to have mental breakdowns or psychotic episodes. It is vital to have a structured daily routine to bring normalcy and organization to an otherwise chaotic situation. 

Establish a Support Network

As you seek treatment and assistance, gather trusted family, friends, and members of support groups that will provide added layers of help when needed. Support groups are invaluable to share information, ideas, and advice with those who are going through similar experiences. Become familiar with services at local hospitals or mental health institutes to prepare yourself if future needs arise. 

Manage Medications and Treatments

One of the best ways to help someone with schizophrenia is to make sure they are taking their medication regularly. Many people will stop taking their medications due to side effects. Make doctors aware so that doses can be changed or a different drug can be used.

Take Care of Yourself at the Same Time

Be realistic and recognize your own limitations. Take advantage of time away, moments of respite, and vacations as needed to make sure your own needs are being met. It is important to be reasonable about the level of assistance you can provide. Take the time to teach self-help for schizophrenia to your loved one.

Self-Help Strategies for Schizophrenia

Accept Schizophrenia Diagnosis

The best thing someone can do to manage their schizophrenia is to accept the fact they have this mental disorder. Acknowledging the prognosis and understanding the need to comply with treatment can be empowering. Pursue treatments to manage symptoms, trust your doctor, and know you have loved ones on your side. 

Set Realistic and Manageable Goals

Work closely with your doctor and loved ones to set expectations of yourself that will help you make progress, such as taking your medication at the same time every day, attending therapy sessions as scheduled, and reaching out when things become difficult.

Strict Daily Routines

A daily routine is essential to staying on course and keeping yourself functioning at a high level. Get up at the same time every day, go to work, and be involved in productive situations. Don’t skip meals or medications, keep social engagements, and get sufficient rest every night. This will help keep stress or fatigue at bay and contribute to your overall wellness. 

Remain Optimistic and Hopeful

Resist listening to or believing any negative stigma about someone with schizophrenia. It is possible to have schizophrenia and be a productive member of society with the right treatment and support.

Treatment for Schizophrenia

When you define this disorder and are aware of the symptoms, it is possible to help someone with schizophrenia through the process of diagnosis, identifying symptoms, important self-care, and managing medications.

The experts here at Orange County Behavioral Health are able to guide you through this journey with your loved one. We offer the best schizophrenia treatment program to ensure you or your loved one can get the necessary support. Give us a call today at 949-900-8426 or 877-467-2223 for more information. 

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