What Not To Say To Someone With Schizophrenia
1. Dont be rude or unsupportive. Instead, be tolerant and listen to what they are saying. If they are being dangerous or inappropriate, do call for help. You dont want to be in a dangerous situation.
2. Dont bully them into doing something they dont want to do. Instead, ask them if there is someone you could call for them. A friend, parent, social worker, or therapist are all good options.
3. Dont interrupt them. Let them talk, even if they are rambling. Having someone listen is being supportive of their condition. According to Dr. Xavier Amador in his book, I Am Not Sick. I Dont Need Help!,stop arguing and start listening to your loved one in a way that leaves him feeling that his point of view is being respected.
4. Dont assume you know what they need. Instead, ask them what they would need to feel better, says the UKs Mental Health Foundation. Perhaps its a glass of water, or sitting down, or having a favorite item nearby. Help them with whatever will help soothe them.
5. Dont second guess or diagnose them. Diagnosis is for doctors. Youre there to be supportive, not give medical judgment.
6. Dont use words that make you seem like an enemy. Dont say, stop that, or Ill call the police, but instead reassure them that you are on their side and that you want to help them.
10. Dont use a strong voice. Instead use soft, gentle language, so the person knows youre to be trusted.
Getting Help For Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a chronic, debilitating mental illness with potentially pervasive negative consequencesaffecting not only those individuals who have it, but friends and family who love them.1 Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia tend to be in their late teens to mid-thirties, and symptoms are often preceded .2 During the prodromal period, an individual may seem suspicious or paranoid, may begin to interact with a new group of friends, as well as exhibit other vague symptoms, such as isolation, secretiveness, irritability, changes in sleep habits, lack of motivation, and slipping gradesany of which could be attributed to common teenage behavior.3
Schizophrenia cannot be cured, but with proper medication and treatment, it can be managed effectively.While some symptoms of schizophrenia can go largely undetected, others can be alarmingincluding hallucinations and delusions. Schizophrenia cannot be cured, but with proper medication and treatment, it can be managed effectively.2 A schizophrenia hotline can provide more information about your treatment options, but if you think that you or a loved are in danger of harming yourself or others, call 911 immediately.
How To Help Someone Having A Psychotic Episode:
A person with psychosis has a medical condition and is in need of psychiatric treatment. Even if they get treatment, it takes time for psychotic thoughts to resolve. Unfortunately, people in a psychotic episode wont always willingly get treatment. Until they are making decisions that put them or others in danger we cannot force them to get help. At that point, someone can be admitted to the hospital against their will.
The laws surrounding mandated treatment and hospitalizing against someones will are complicated and differ by state. What I can say in general, is that we may KNOW someone is psychotic and needs help. But even if we know this fact, if they are not willing to get treatment, we are only able to intervene when they get worse. This is extremely difficult and frustrating for everyone involved. Obviously, there are good reasons these laws have passed, however, a consequence is that people can be ill for some time before they get help.
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Tip : Take Care Of Yourself
Making simple lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on the way you feel as well as your symptoms.
Try to get plenty of sleep. When youre on medication, you most likely need even more sleep than the standard 8 hours. Many people with schizophrenia have trouble with sleep, but getting regular exercise, reducing sugar in your diet, and avoiding caffeine can help.
Avoid alcohol and drugs. It can be tempting to try to self-medicate the symptoms of schizophrenia with drugs and alcohol. But substance abuse complicates schizophrenia treatment and only worsens symptoms. If you have a substance abuse problem, seek help.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Eating regular, nutritious meals can help avoid psychosis and other schizophrenia symptoms brought on by substantial changes in blood sugar levels. Minimize sugar and refined carbs, foods that quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy. Boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish, fish oil, walnuts, and flaxseeds to help improve focus, banish fatigue, and balance your moods.
Tip : Understand The Role Of Medication
If youve been diagnosed with schizophrenia, you will almost certainly be offered antipsychotic medication. The two main groups of medications used for the treatment of schizophrenia are the older or typical antipsychotic medications and the newer atypical antipsychotic medications. Its important to understand that medication is just one component of schizophrenia treatment.
Medication is not a cure for schizophrenia and only treats some of the symptoms. Antipsychotic medication reduces psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and disordered thinking. But is much less helpful for treating symptoms of schizophrenia such as social withdrawal, lack of motivation, and lack of emotional expressiveness.
You should not have to put up with disabling side effects. Schizophrenia medication can have very unpleasanteven disablingside effects such as drowsiness, lack of energy, uncontrollable movements, weight gain, and sexual dysfunction. Your quality of life is important, so talk to your doctor if youre bothered by side effects.
Never reduce or stop medication on your own.
Sudden or unsupervised dosage changes are dangerous, and can trigger a schizophrenia relapse or other complications. If youre having trouble with your medication or feel like you dont need to take it, talk to your doctor or someone else that you trust.
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Maintain Your Social Network
Try to maintain your friendships or the network of people that you have in your life. These will later become important supports as your loved one recovers. Educate them and update them on your loved one’s recovery. People are sometimes afraid to ask questions about schizophrenia and this will put them at ease.
Prepare And Know When To Interfere
Indeed, they dont like to be micro-managed, but sometimes people with schizophrenia can avoid all kinds of medications and help, and you will see their health deteriorating. You should know that in such a case, they need external help even though they dont accept it. In some cases, they might need to be hospitalized.
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How To Deal With A Schizophrenic Partner Who Is Stressed
Stress is not a good factor for a person in general, but a person with schizophrenia may trigger a relapse. A noisy and chaotic environment and other sources of stress can enhance delusions and other schizophrenia symptoms. A person with schizophrenia needs to feel safe and respected, so keeping a quiet and safe environment is always recommended.
How To Get Someone With Schizophrenia To Accept Help
This article was co-authored by Tasha Rube, LMSW. Tasha Rube is a Licensed Social Worker based in Kansas City, Kansas. Tasha is affiliated with the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center in Leavenworth, Kansas. She received her Masters of Social Work from the University of Missouri in 2014. This article has been viewed 15,036 times.
Receiving a schizophrenia diagnosis is scary for the person affected, as well as those around them. However, this diagnosis and the help that is required with it may not happen unless you step in to help. People who have the illness are often reluctant to get help for a variety of reasons, including having people think theyre crazy if they do. Not getting treatment, however, can end in disaster. You can increase the chances of getting your loved one the help they need by understanding the illness, speaking to your loved one, and helping them get treatment.
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What Risks And Complications Can Schizophrenia Cause
Research suggests that people with serious mental illness , such as schizophrenia, have a shorter life expectancy. People with mental illness may die 15 to 20 years earlier than the general population. This may because people who live with SMI are at higher risk of having a range of health issues. Such as being overweight, having heart disease, smoking and diabetes.
Because of these issues, NICE recommends that when you start taking antipsychotic medication, your doctor should do a full range of physical health checks. This should include weight, blood pressure and other blood tests. These checks should be repeated regularly.
Mental health professionals are responsible for doing these checks for the first year of treatment. Responsibility may then pass to your GP. Your doctor or mental health team should offer you a programme which combines healthy eating and physical health checks. You should be supported by a healthcare professional to help stop smoking.
The risk of suicide is increased for people with schizophrenia. Research indicates that around 513% of people who live with with schizophrenia die by suicide.
Research has found that the increased risk is not usually because of positive symptoms. The risk of suicide is associated more to affective symptoms, such as low mood.
Key risk factors for suicide include:
- previous suicide attempts,
What Questions Should I Ask
Schizophrenia Self-helpOnce the illness is stabilized, people with schizophrenia can benefit from self-help efforts.Although society is making strides toward understanding mental illness, the stigma surrounding schizophrenia is still pervasive. Calling a schizophrenia helpline is a confidential way to ask any questions you may have about the disorder in a safe environment. Hotlines exist to provide information and education, answer questions, and assist callers who want to be linked to appropriate resources for further help and treatment.
If you have recently been diagnosed, suspect you might have schizophrenia, or are experiencing troublesome symptoms, you may have many questions and concerns. Call a schizophrenia hotline to learn more about the disorder, what it might mean for you, and how it can be managed. Questions you might ask include:
- How is schizophrenia diagnosed?
- What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
- Can schizophrenia be treated?
- Will I have to take medication?
- What are potential side effects of the medications?
- How else can I manage symptoms?
- What are the success rates of treatment?
- Will I need a special treatment program?
- How long will treatment last?
- Can I still go to school, work, and socialize?
- How much does it cost? Will my insurance cover the cost of treatment and medication?
- What can I do if Im experiencing hallucinations?
- What if I have other mental health issues as well?
- What should I do next?
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Your Attitude Towards Schizophrenia Treatment Matters
Accept your diagnosis. As upsetting as a diagnosis of schizophrenia can be, resolving to take a proactive role in treatment and self-help is crucial to your recovery. That means making healthy lifestyle changes, taking prescribed medications, and attending medical and therapy appointments.
Dont buy into the stigma of schizophrenia. Many fears about schizophrenia are not based on reality. Take your illness seriously but dont buy into the myth that you cant improve. Associate with people who see beyond your diagnosis, to the person you really are.
Communicate with your doctor. Help your doctor ensure youre getting the right type and dose of medication. Be honest and upfront about side effects, concerns, and other treatment issues.
Pursue self-help and therapy that helps you manage symptoms. Dont rely on medication alone. Self-help strategies can help you to manage symptoms and regain a sense of control over your health and well-being. Supportive therapy can teach you how to challenge delusional beliefs, ignore voices in your head, protect against relapse, and motivate yourself to persevere with treatment and self-help.
Set and work toward life goals. Having schizophrenia doesnt mean you cant work, have relationships, or experience a fulfilling life. Set meaningful life goals for yourself beyond your illness.
Getting a diagnosis
Because of these issues, it is best to see a psychiatrist with experience identifying and treating schizophrenia, rather than a family doctor.
Helping Your Loved One Get Schizophrenia Treatment
If your friend or relative with schizophrenia won’t get treatment, there are steps you can take to help.
First, listen to their concerns in an open-minded, supportive way. Then talk about how treatment will help. Explain that they have an illness and it’s treatable.
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Diagnosing Anosognosia Does Not Give Anyone Court Or Physician The Inherent Right To Mandate Someone To Treatment
The way I describe it is when you see somebody walking down the street they have a transmitter in their head, it is not because they believe they have a transmitter in their head. They know it. Their illness tells them so. And this is the group who wont accept treatment, and treatment can restore their free will. Being psychotic is not an exercise of free will. It is the inability to exercise free will.
Diagnosing anosognosia does not give anyone, court or physician, the inherent right to mandate someone to treatment. What anosognosia does, Jaffe says, is provide a simple, if hard-to-pronounce, term to explain why so many people with schizophrenia and similar illnesses often behave as if they are unaware that their thinking and behaviour are so dramatically different.
Just as importantly, he says, AOT works. Six years after Kendras Law was implemented in New York, officials had logged a 77% decrease in psychiatric hospitalisations and a 74% decline in homelessness for people in the AOT programme incarcerations had dropped by 87%. In 2015, seven years after the implementation of Lauras Law, Nevada County reported that people who had completed the AOT programme spent 43% less time in hospital, 52% less time in prison and 54% less time homeless than before they were treated.
The old psychiatric system kept people in facilities where their medication would be supervised
Doing Everything For Them
When your loved one is unable to do chores, errands, or daily tasks, you might try to help by taking over those responsibilities.
But its often more helpful to encourage them to take steps toward doing these things themselves and offering support when needed.
You can also ask if theres anything specific getting in the way of tasks:
- If they havent done laundry because they ran out of laundry soap and feel afraid of leaving the house, you could offer to do a grocery run.
- If they cant prepare meals because a voice threatens them whenever they pick up a knife, you might help them chop a few days worth of vegetables in advance.
You can also offer to help them plan and schedule out weekly responsibilities when you spend time together.
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What To Do Instead:
Tip : Prepare For Crisis Situations
Despite your best efforts to prevent relapse, there may be times when your loved ones condition deteriorates rapidly and hospitalization is required to keep them safe. Having an emergency plan ready for an acute psychotic episode will help you handle the crisis safely and quickly. A good emergency plan for someone with schizophrenia includes:
- Emergency contact information for your loved ones doctor and therapists.
- The address and phone number of the hospital you will go to for psychiatric admission.
- Friends or relatives who will take care of other children or dependents while you deal with the crisis.
Its also wise to go over the emergency plan with your family member. The crisis situation may be less frightening to your loved one if they know what to expect during an emergency.
10 tips for handling a schizophrenia crisis
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Should I Call A Schizophrenia Helpline
If youre experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, or know someone who is, you may be overwhelmed with questions about your mental health and what to do.
All schizophrenia hotlines are private and confidential. Conversations are not recorded, so you can comfortably speak with someone about your questions, concern, and fears. Schizophrenia helplines are a useful resource for family members or friends who would like to learn how best to encourage and support a loved one who has schizophrenia. People call hotlines for many reasons, including:
- To learn more about the disease of schizophrenia, which can manifest differently from person to person.
- To get support from someone who understands the illness and will not judge or discriminate.
- To anonymously research treatment resources and professionals, including counselors, therapists, psychiatrists, or treatment facilities that will properly treat schizophrenia and other co-occurring diagnoses.
- To get more information about treatment options, medications, and where to access them.