The support and love received from a family has a vital role in the treatment as well as the recovery from schizophrenia. Helping a person suffering from schizophrenia in coping with symptoms, finding an appropriate treatment and in navigating the recovery long road will certainly show a positive change. Dealing with schizophrenia victims family members is also equally very tough. Even dealing it alone is not easy, so take your community services and take utmost care of yourself.

How to Help Someone with Schizophrenia

How to Help Someone With Schizophrenia?

Below mentioned are 5 tips to help someone with schizophrenia:

How to Help Someone With Schizophrenia Tip #1: Focus on Yourself First Before Helping Someone with Schizophrenia

Dealing with a family member's schizophrenia successfully implies you have to give priority in taking self-care. Your needs should not go ignored. Instead look for healthy ways to meet the challenges.

Focus on yourself first before helping someone with schizophrenia. Put your "oxygen mask" first. Your loved one suffering with schizophrenia alone does not require help, in fact, you are going to support your loved one and so you also equally require help, understanding and a lot of encouragement. This is required as you will turn to be more supportive and can take better care of your loved one in the fittest possible way.

  • Initiate by joining a support group. Coping with schizophrenia is possible by joining a support group of family members. You can meet people you know first-hand and this is because they are aware of what you are undergoing in coping and this will reduce your fears and isolation to a great extent. In fact, support groups offer a great support to the schizophrenia relatives a venue or an opportunity to share their experiences, information and advice.
  • Create time for yourself. Scheduling time is essential so that you enjoy your day. You can spend time with friends or read your favorite novel or go walking. Taking breaks is highly essential so that you stay positive and are a bit stress free.
  • Look after your health. You will increase stress, if you happen to neglect your health. Maintain your physical well-being and this can be done by regularly exercising, sleeping enough and eating a balanced diet.
  • Cultivate more relationships. Having more supportive people really helps as it is fulfilling the relationships. You need not feel guilty as you also require good support. These relationships will help sustaining the difficult times.

Understand the value of managing stress. Schizophrenia causes terrible stress on the family members. In case you are less careful, it will quickly wrap you in this burn out. Moreover, you being the caretaker cannot be stressed or overwhelmed. This is because you will make the schizophrenia victim more stressed. Thus, balancing your stress levels and keeping them under control is important and is the best favor you can do for your loved one who has schizophrenia.

  • Observe acceptance. Accepting things is the best than questioning why me. This will trouble you more when you start thinking. It is best to see what you can do and not think why it happened. Avoid getting obsessed, that is the best.
  • Look for small joys. Even a small time fun is enough, now even that is necessary. The happiest person is not the person who has no problems; it is actually you who has to find joy when life is showing adversity.
  • Recognize limits. Being practical is accepting that comes. Consider how much support you can give and do all that is possible. Stay balanced as getting emotionally exhausted or run down defeats the purpose of taking care and you cannot help your loved one.
  • No accuses. Coping with a schizophrenia victim, who is a family member needs lots of patience. You can bring a positive difference if you stop accusing yourself for this illness.

How to Help Someone with Schizophrenia Tip #2: Promote Confidence and Support the Treatment to Help Someone With Schizophrenia

The ideal way of supporting the schizophrenia victim's is by getting them for treatment and assisting them to follow it. The first challenge is convincing the relative to visit a doctor for consultation. There may be chances when schizophrenia victims will not be ready to visit a doctor or even consult a doctor and this is the right time to try some strategies such as:

  • Give options: Give them options to visit a doctor, if they are able to control, they may agree. Sometimes they may not rely on you, if so do not have a heavy heart; just allow them to accompany someone else to the doctor. Their visiting the doctor is more important than who is accompanying them. You can take them to their choice of doctor.
  • Concentrate on a symptom particularly: A schizophrenia victim may be hesitant to visit a doctor purely out of fear of being referred to as crazy. This is time you must convince the victim by saying that this visit is intended to cure a lack of energy or insomnia.

How to Help Someone with Schizophrenia Tip #3: Monitoring of Medication is Crucial in Helping Someone with Schizophrenia

Monitoring of medication is crucial in helping someone with schizophrenia. Careful monitoring of medication is a must. It can ensure that the patientis on track and theyare getting the most from it. You can give assistance as:

  • Fearing side effects. People stop schizophrenia medications fearing the side effects caused by medications. Bring to the attention of your doctor the distressing side effects. The doctor may reduce adverse effects by decreasing the dose or will change to another medication so that there are no or less side effects.
  • Encourage to take medication regularly.The victims of schizophrenia deny taking medication regularly. The side effects alone are not the problem. This also is due to insight of their ailment that they fail to realize the importance of medication. They may also forget taking their daily dosage. There are Haldol and Prolixin, two antipsychotics that come in an injectable form and can be given every 2 to 4 weeks as shots, thus avoiding the daily pill need.
  • Avoid drug interactions. The medications of antipsychotic cause dangerous and unpleasant side effects in combination with other substances and this may include over the counter medications, prescription drugs, herbs and vitamins. You may help your family member by keeping the doctor informed of the list of supplements and drugs that is being given to the schizophrenia patient. In case, your family member, now a victim of schizophrenia also has the problem of substance abuse, if any, you must inform the doctor as taking drugs or alcohol with this medication is very harmful.
  • Keep a track on the progress. Tracking progress in the changes of your family member is a must. This will give an idea about the response to medication. You can note it in a dairy so that you do not forget the details.

How to Help Someone With Schizophrenia Tip #4: Staying Alert for Relapse Signs is Important in Helping Someone with Schizophrenia

Staying alert for relapse signs is important in helping someone with schizophrenia. Stopping medication is the main cause of relapse in schizophrenia. Thus it is important for a patient to take medications as directed. Even if they are stabilized, medication may be required to keep away from symptoms.

Unfortunately, the problem is that, regardless of a person regularly taking medication as prescribed, there is chance of relapse into an acute schizophrenia. However, if you recognize the early warning relapse signs and take immediate steps as treatment, you can prevent a big crisis. The relapse warning signs are same as the symptoms and behaviors that caused the initial psychotic episode.

The below are the common symptoms of schizophrenia relapse:

  • Withdrawal from society
  • Hostility
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Deterioration in personal hygiene
  • Strange disappearances
  • Increased paranoia
  • Nonsensical or confusing speech.

How to Help Someone with Schizophrenia Tip #5: Get Ready for Disaster Situations While Helping Someone with Schizophrenia

Get ready for disaster situations while helping someone with schizophrenia. Despite the family members or you taking the best efforts in preventing the relapse of schizophrenia, there may be times that the condition continually deteriorates drastically. This is the time you become helpless and is the disaster or schizophrenia situation. At this time, you must seek help from your family member. There may be a need for immediate hospitalization so that the victim is actually safe.

Create and emergency planning. It is crucial for the people with schizophrenia to get ready for such disaster situations. Having ready an emergency plan is sure to be of immense help in handling the crisis immediately and safely. A perfect emergency plan for a schizophrenia victim in the family includes:

  • Having ready the contact information of the doctor, police and the therapists.
  • The phone and address number of the hospital in case of emergency.
  • Relatives or friends who can take care of dependents or children so that in the meanwhile you handle the disaster situation.

It is important to have the emergency plan as the disastrous situation may be at any time, now or never, less frightening and may be severe. The victim does not realize that he or she undergoes, but the family member should be very alert and confident in handling the schizophrenia victim. Below are few tips to handle a disastrous situation:

  • Turn off radio, TV, bright fluorescent lights
  • Avoid sarcasm as it irritates the victim
  • No shouting it will make them go wild
  • Avoid trying to reason out as they cannot understand
  • Do not show anger or irritation
  • The victim may already be terrified by their own loss of control, so do not terrify them.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: April 19, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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