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How Can Family And Friends Help With Schizophrenia

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Know That You May Have To Intervene If Necessary

How to Help a Parent with Schizophrenia | Schizophrenia

People with schizophrenia who refuse treatment or help of any sort may need to be hospitalized. In some cases, families may need to call the police for help if their loved one becomes a danger to themselves or others. Once treatment starts and symptoms subside, families can redirect their loved one back toward their life goals.

Treatment works, but it doesnt work overnight, says Baker. Its a process.

If you have specific concerns for your loved ones safety, working with their healthcare providers to create coping and safety plans is an important way to prepare for difficult symptoms when they arise, says Moe.

Additional reporting byMichelle Pugle.

Schizophrenia Impacts Those Around You

Mental illness often has a ripple effect on families and loved ones, creating tension, uncertainty, and emotional conflicts, along with interruptions to daily life. This is especially true for schizophrenia. The paranoia and delusional beliefs that often accompany schizophrenia can cause those living with a diagnosis to see threats and conspiracies where there are none and create difficult barriers between themselves and the people around them. It can be very challenging for individuals with schizophrenia to maintain healthy relationships with their families and communities. Without proper support, they can be left feeling incredibly isolated.

Similarly, it can be difficult for people with schizophrenia to pursue education and maintain employment. Besides the challenge of managing symptoms in high-stress environments, a person with schizophrenia faces several obstacles when seeking employment. It can be hard to explain gaps in a resume to potential employers without revealing your mental health status, and stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness are still prevalent in much of society. Often, the majority of job opportunities available to people with schizophrenia are entry-level positions without real opportunities for advancement, which generally dont offer health insurance and other benefits that are a vital issue for those living with a mental illness.

Try To Limit Power Struggles

Schizophrenia usually sets in during late adolescence, a time when young people tend to want independence and freedom. But whatever the age of your loved one, people with schizophrenia don’t want to be micromanaged and hounded about everything from taking medications to cleaning their rooms, Baker says.

Rather than using phrases like, “You need to go out and get a job,” Baker advises caregivers to focus on the person’s own goals and what needs to be done to achieve them. “We want to think about individuals moving down the same path they would have chosen if they had never been diagnosed,” she says.

Family therapists can often help families avoid power struggles and work on dialogue that benefits a person with schizophrenia, Baker adds.

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Stick By And Advocate For Them

For someone with schizophrenia, having people they trust who will stick by them no matter the circumstances is important.

Speak up against discrimination and stigma. Some people with schizophrenia experience internalized stigma, which may affect the persons self-esteem and self-efficacy.

In turn, this may affect various aspects of their life, including personal relationships, overall quality of life, or the effectiveness of treatment plans.

Internalized stigma may even increase risk of suicidal thoughts or intent.

Therefore, researchers have highlighted the importance of preventing internalized stigma and promoting positive beliefs about oneself.

Employment And Financial Support

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Avoid too much stress, including work-related stress. If you’re employed, you may be able to work shorter hours or in a more flexible way.

Under the Equality Act 2010, all employers must make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities, including people diagnosed with schizophrenia or other mental illnesses.

Several organisations provide support, training and advice for people with schizophrenia who wish to continue working.

Your community mental health team is a good first point of contact to find out what services and support are available for you.

Mental health charities such as Mind or Rethink Mental Illness are also excellent sources of information on training and employment.

If you’re unable to work as a result of your mental illness, you’re entitled to financial support, such as Incapacity Benefit.

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Ethics Approval And Consent To Participate

The Ethics Committee of Kerman University of Medical Sciences approved this study with the code of IR.KMU.REC.1398.222. To conduct this study, the participants were initially provided with some explanations about the study goals and processes. All family caregivers signed written informed consent to participate in this study. The place, time, and duration of the interviews were selected based on the participants preferences. Before the interviews, participants consent for recording their interviews and taking notes from them was obtained. Participants were ensured about the confidentiality of all personal information. They were explained that all audio files were stored securely on password-protected servers by the first author and deleted after the final report. Participants could withdraw at any stage of the study.

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Schizophrenia And Bipolar Disorder Are Not In The Same Family & Can Be Treated Differently

One of the main ways that these two mental conditions contrast from one another is that they belong to different categories, and therefore, are unrelated.

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition , schizophrenia is appropriately categorized in the Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders, which also include Schizoaffective and Schizophreniform disorders.

On the other hand, bipolar disorder belongs to the Bipolar and Related Disorders class which contains the bipolar types 1 and 2, Cyclothymic disorder, and other situational ones such as bipolar caused by substance use and medication or bipolar disorder due to a medical condition.

Currently, this class’ chapter sits in between Depressive Disorders and Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders, indicating some similarities between both categories, but still warranting distinction.

These classes make a difference not only for labeling and organizing conditions accordingly, but they can also indicate the proper course of treatment. For example, although antidepressants are used to treat bipolar disorder in some cases, a prophylactic antimanic agent, or mood stabilizer, is essential. However, if a person mistakenly receives a diagnosis for major depression, they might not get the mood-stabilizing drugs that he or she needs.

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Encourage Someone To Get Treatment

Someone with schizophrenia may be unaware they need professional help, not know how to get it, or be physically unable to get themselves to places that offer help.

To find a local facility that offers special care for people with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, use the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.

For people experiencing their first symptoms or episode of a mental health condition, the SAMHSAs Early Serious Mental Illness Treatment Locator can also identify facilities or providers that may be able to help.

Here is the contact information for the SAMHSAs National Mental Health Hotline, a completely free, confidential service that operates 24 hours per day year-round in English and Spanish:

  • Dial 800-662-HELP .
  • FaceTime them at 800-487-4889.
  • Check out their website.

To contact the Schizophrenia & Psychosis Action Alliances hotline, which operates MondayFriday from 9:00 a.m.5:00 p.m. in all time zones, dial 800-493-2094 or email them.

Family Stress Vs Family Support

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Family stress is a powerful predictor of relapse, while family support decreases the rate of relapse. Support can be provided in different ways. For example, helping the person pursue meaningful goals and activities can be very helpful in the process of recovery.

It is best if family members try to be understanding rather than critical, negative, or blaming. It may be difficult at times, but families do best when they are patient and appreciate any progress that is being made, however slow it may be.

For family members who have difficulty being supportive, it might be because of what they believe is causing the disorder. Studies show that family members try to make sense of schizophrenia by determining its cause. They tend to think about the causes of the illness as either moral or organic.

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Focus On Feelings Not Experiences

You might feel unsure what to say or do when someone sees or believes something you don’t but it’s important to remember that their experiences feel real to them.

It can help if you focus on how they are feeling, rather than talking about what is real or true. Instead of denying their experience it can help to say something like “That sounds really frightening, is there somebody you could talk to about it?”.

If someone turns round and says it’s not real, it just makes you feel more alone than ever.

Management Of Schizophrenia Symptoms In Everyday Life

Its important to remember though, those negative outcomes tend to present themselves when the person is not being treated for their schizophrenia symptoms. Once treatment for schizophrenia is undertaken and the schizophrenic and those around them learn how to manage the illness, outcomes are much more positive.

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Supporting Someone Close To You

If you have a family member or friend who has been diagnosed with a serious mental illness, you are probably wondering what you can do to help. Although new forms of therapy, medications and community services have enabled many individuals to lead full, independent lives, support from family, friends and peers remains an essential element in the recovery process.

There are many ways you can help someone with a mental illness navigate the treatment system and work towards recovery. As in any relationship, emotional and practical support is always needed. Occasionally, family and friends participate in someone’s recovery by offering transportation, financial and housing assistance. Whatever form it takes, your support, compassion and respect matter.

Knowing when and how to give support can be difficult to figure out, however. Though you may want to protect your family member or friend, remember that learning to manage one’s own affairs, pursue goals and become independent are important aspects of an individual’s recovery from mental illness.

Encourage Treatment And Rehabilitation

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Medication and psychotherapy can help a person feel better, engage in meaningful activities, and improve their quality of life. The first step is to visit a doctor for a thorough evaluation. If possible, its helpful for family members to be present at the evaluation to offer support, help answer the doctors questions, and learn about the illness.

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Notice What’s Going Well

It can be hard seeing someone close to you experience schizophrenia. They might find it hard to think clearly, have problems understanding what is real, stop taking care of themselves or avoid seeing people.

Try to notice positive things too. It can help to set small, realistic goals to aim for rather than focusing on what they can’t do. It’s also important to remember that losing interest and motivation are part of having schizophrenia and not something the person is choosing to do.

Structured Yet Flexible Approach To Families

Family psychoeducation models are typically structured and are described in various books and treatment manuals. Nevertheless, there is scope for flexibility in meeting family needs, as recommended in the common principles . Thus, there may be cultural adaptations as well as adjustments to better accommodate the individual’s phase of illness . It is likely that the practitioner will also need to be flexible and sensitive in helping the family to address their feelings, including grief and loss, guilt and blame, sadness, shame, confusion and powerlessness, as they arise and are expressed .

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Help Them Reduce Their Stress

Stress can make it hard for a person with schizophrenia to function and may trigger a relapse. For someone living with schizophrenia, a loud, chaotic household and other sources of stress might intensify delusions, hallucinations, and other symptoms. Everyone wants to be treated respectfully, says Baker, and we all do better in calm, inviting environments.

However, keeping quiet to avoid upsetting the person can add to the stress of other family members. Use quiet but firm voices and create a calm and safe home environment, Baker advises.

And dont forget to include your loved one with schizophrenia in planning a supportive and safe environment for them, as each person experiences their symptoms and deals with their stressors differently, says Moe.

There’s A Difference Between Schizophrenia And Dissociative Identity Disorder

Life with Schizophrenia, According to a Psychiatrist

Unfortunately, the idea that schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder are the same is a very common myth. Schizophrenia often involves hallucinations, delusions or paranoia, but this mental health issue is not the same as multiple personalities which live inside someone. How the media portrays and sensationalizes schizophrenia is another reason why the condition is commonly viewed as being identical to Dissociative Identity Disorder.

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What Increases Your Risk

Schizophrenia is a complex illness. Experts don’t know what causes it or why some people get it and others don’t. But some things increase your chances of getting it. These are called risk factors.

You may be at risk for schizophrenia if:

  • Your mother, father, brother, or sister has schizophrenia.
  • Your mother had certain problems while she was pregnant with you. For example, if your mother didn’t get enough to eat , had a viral infection, or took certain medicines for high blood pressure, you may be at increased risk.
  • You or a family member have another disorder that is like schizophrenia. An example of this is a delusional disorder, which means you believe things that you know are false.
  • You have a substance use disorder. Experts don’t know if substance use triggers schizophrenia or if schizophrenia makes a person more likely to have this problem.

What Type Of Therapy Is Best For Schizophrenia

There are several therapies approved in the treatment of schizophrenia. As a serious mental illness, it is important that treatment for this condition is performed by a trained mental health professional. Some of the most popular treatment options include:

  • Assertive community treatment
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy or talk therapy
  • Antipsychotic medications, atypical antipsychotics, and medication management
  • Social skills training
  • Group sessions with social interactions
  • Behavioral therapy to target behaviors

Although other treatments like electroconvulsive therapy are used in some areas, they are often considered by most people as controversial.

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Schizophrenia And Family: Coping With Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia and family issues go hand-in-hand. Both children and young adults can develop the disorder . People with schizophrenia experience a profoundly distorted reality, commonly accompanied by hallucinations, paranoid delusions, language disturbances, fragmented thought patterns, and several other disturbing symptoms.

Frequently, family members who care for their afflicted loved one experience a myriad of issues: mental stress, anxiety, self-doubt, exhaustion, frustration, and loss of social connections. Others blame the mentally ill person developing resentment toward them, accusing them of selfishness and even sabotaging treatment strategies put in place by physicians.

Tip : Take Care Of Yourself

Schizophrenia: Three Moms in the Trenches

Taking care of yourself isnt selfish. In fact, its just as important for your loved one with schizophrenia that you look after your own health needs.

Schizophrenia can place an incredible amount of stress on the family. It can take over your life and burn you out. And if youre stressed, youll make the person with schizophrenia stressed and trigger or exacerbate their symptoms.

Since adopting healthy lifestyle habits is also important for your loved one in managing schizophrenia symptoms, by taking care of your own health you can act as a role model. You may even be able to pursue some of these steps together, helping to motivate and encourage each other.

Connect with others. Social interaction with someone who cares about you is the most effective way to relieve stress. Its important for both you and the person with schizophrenia to have other people you can connect with face-to-facesomeone you can talk to for an uninterrupted period of time, someone who will listen without judging or continually becoming distracted. That person may be a friend, family member, clergy member, or professional therapist.

Get regular exercise. Physical activity reduces stress and releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good. Whether you exercise alone, with a friend, or with your loved one with schizophrenia, aim for 30 minutes of activity on most days, or if its easier, three 10-minute sessions.

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Helping Someone With Schizophrenia Tip : Encourage Treatment And Self

Encouraging treatment and self-help is a cornerstone of helping a loved one with schizophrenia. While medication is an important element of schizophrenia treatment, your loved ones recovery depends on other factors as well. Self-help strategies such as changing to a healthy diet, managing stress, exercising, and seeking social support can have a profound effect on your loved ones symptoms, feelings, and self-esteem. And the more someone does for themselves, the less hopeless and helpless theyll feel, and the more likely their doctor will be able to reduce their medication. Your encouragement and support can be crucial to your loved one starting and continuing a program of self-help.

What Are The 4 As Of Schizophrenia

The fundamental symptoms, which are virtually present through all the course of the disorder , are also known as the famous Bleulers four As: Alogia, Autism, Ambivalence, and Affect blunting . Delusion is regarded as one of the accessory symptoms because it is episodic in the course of schizophrenia.

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Will Mental Illness Run In My Family

If someone in your family has a mental illness, you might be worried about developing the same condition.

If you have a mental illness you might be worried that your children or siblings will develop the same or a different mental illness.

Most people with a mental illness do not have relatives with the same illness. But research does suggest that mental illness can run in families.

The table below shows the chances of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder being passed down through family members. These numbers are based on recent studies. But different studies can show different numbers.

If a second degree relative has the condition. For example, your aunt, uncle or grandparent. 3 in 100 5 in 100

It might be helpful to look at the figures in the table in a different way. For example, the chance of someone developing bipolar disorder is 1 out of 100. This means that 99 people are not going to develop bipolar disorder.

If one of your parents has bipolar disorder, the chance of you not developing the condition is 90 out of 100. This means you are less likely to develop bipolar disorder, even if one of your parents has the condition.

Other research shows that different mental health conditions, such as schizoaffective disorder major depression, and anxiety can run in the same family. However, there is less evidence to show if other mental health conditions run in families.

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