Avoiding Drugs And Alcohol
Alcohol and drugs may provide short-term relief from your symptoms. But they’re likely to make your symptoms worse in the long run.
Alcohol can cause depression and psychosis. Illegal drugs may make your schizophrenia worse. Drugs and alcohol can also react badly with antipsychotic medicines.
If you’re currently using drugs or alcohol and finding it hard to stop, ask your care coordinator or GP for help.
Use Empathy Not Arguments
Symptoms of schizophrenia like hallucinations or delusions can take some time to stop even when people are receiving treatment and following their treatment plan. As a group, these very distressing symptoms are called psychosis. Many people have a hard time responding to a loved ones hallucinations or delusions. Its best to avoid arguing about these experiences. Remember that delusion are symptoms of schizophreniathey are not thoughts that you can talk someone out of. Telling someone that their experiences arent real or arent true doesnt help when the experiences feel very real to that person! A better approach is to empathize with the feelings that hallucinations or delusions bring upwithout confirming or denying the hallucination or delusion. For example, if a loved one is frustrated or upset when they hear voices, it isnt helpful to say something like, Youre okay! It isnt real. I dont hear anything. Instead, you might say, I can only image how upsetting that voice must be. I can see the voice makes you feel scared. Know that with good treatment and support, symptoms like hallucinations and delusions become much easier for people to manage and lose importance.
Is It Possible To Recover From Schizophrenia
Many people who live with schizophrenia have recovery journeys that lead them to live meaningful lives.
Recovery can be thought of in terms of:
- clinical recovery, and
- personal recovery.
What is clinical recovery?
Your doctor might have talked to you about recovery. Some doctors and health professionals think of recovery as:
- no longer having mental illness symptoms, or
- where your symptoms are controlled by treatment to such a degree that they are not significantly a problem.
Sometimes this is called clinical recovery.
Everyones experience of clinical recovery is different.
- Some people completely recover from schizophrenia and go on to be symptom free.
- Some who live with schizophrenia can improve a great deal with ongoing treatment.
- Some improve with treatment but need ongoing support from mental health and social services.
What is personal recovery?
Dealing with symptoms is important to a lot of people. But some people think that recovery is wider than this. We call this personal recovery.
Personal recovery means that you can live a meaningful life.
What you think of as being a meaningful life might be different to how other people see it. You can think about what you would like to do to live a meaningful life and work towards that goal.
Below are some ways you can think of recovery.
What can help me recover?
You may want to think about the following questions.
The following things can be important in recovery.
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What Is A Delusion
A delusion is a fixed, false belief. A delusion is a symptom of psychosis. No matter what you say, the person believes the delusion. If you insist on correcting the delusion you risk ostracizing them from you and frustrating yourself.
Read this post on 3 Types of Paranoia to understand paranoia better.
Looking After Your Physical Health
Schizophrenia takes a toll on your physical health as well as your mental health. It can sap your energy, confidence and motivation you might feel less capable of keeping up your physical health or lose the desire to try.
Another major influence on your physical health is the side-effects of antipsychotic medication. Newer antipsychotic medications have fewer side-effects, but weight gain is still a common one.
People being treated for schizophrenia are much more likely than the general population to be overweight, have high blood pressure and develop diabetes.
Theyre also more likely to smoke, drink too much and use recreational drugs, which can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health.
If youre struggling with these problems, you may hear your doctor use the term metabolic syndrome. It means you have some combination of:
- weight gain around the abdomen
- high blood pressure
- low levels of the good cholesterol
- high blood glucose levels.
Metabolic syndrome is common in people with a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet, but its especially common in people with schizophrenia.
There is support to help you get healthy and stay healthy.
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Take Steps To Help Them Avoid Alcohol And Illicit Drugs
When some people with schizophrenia experience symptoms, such as hearing voices, they may seek relief by using alcohol and drugs, which work quickly to help them feel different. Caregivers can help prevent substance abuse by clearing the house of drugs and alcohol and by talking to their loved one about how abstaining from drugs and alcohol can help them maintain their overall health and achieve their goals.
How To Communicate With Someone With Schizophrenia: Dos And Donts
Schizophrenia is a long-term mental disorder that affects a persons ability to think, feel, and behave clearly. A person with schizophrenia may struggle to break down the relationships between thoughts, emotions, and behavior, resulting in impaired perception, inappropriate behavior or feelings, withdrawal from reality, and a sense of mental fragmentation. If you think this sounds complicated, imagine how a person with this disorder feels.
People with schizophrenia rarely have an understanding of or insight into their illness, which can be extremely stressful for the individual and their loved ones. As an outsider, to you it may seem like the person has completely lost touch with reality, but this isnt true. As complex as this disorder is, its important to be mindful of your language when speaking to the individual or talking about their disorder. So what should you not say to someone with schizophrenia? Below are some examples and tips for communication you should keep in mind.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Schizophreniform Disorder
- Do I have schizophreniform disorder or schizophrenia?
- How long do you estimate my symptoms will last?
- What specialist should I see?
- Can I attend work/school?
- Do I need to be hospitalized?
- Do I have another mental health disorder such as depression?
- What medications do you recommend?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Schizophreniform disorder can be devastating. It can make you act in odd ways, think inconsistent thoughts, change topics too quickly when you speak, express emotions inconsistently, change your relationships with others and damage how you see and interact with reality. It can be scary to experience, but fortunately, some specialists and treatments may help.
Remember to trust your friends and family and any healthcare provider youre working with. What you perceive as reality may not be true, so try to listen when they correct you. Take your medications exactly as ordered. See your healthcare providers frequently to ensure the best care. Manage depression symptoms that may occur and avoid substance abuse to improve your overall quality of life.
Finding Treatment For Schizophrenia: The First Steps
It can be difficult to convince people who have schizophrenia that they need to take medication for their condition. But dont assume that theyre in denial: Many arent able to think clearly when it comes to their condition. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness , about 50 percent of people living with schizophrenia experience anosognosia, or a lack of awareness of their serious psychiatric illness. Other times, they may not think they need treatment because they believe their delusions or hallucinations are real.
If they resist getting help, NAMI suggests approaching them in a supportive manner. Start by asking about their goals, which can pave the way to a productive conversation about next steps and aid in the development of an actionable plan. Another way to gently encourage a person with schizophrenia to see a doctor is to offer to accompany them to their appointments.
Some people who have schizophrenia fear that theyll be stigmatized if they seek medical help. But this doesnt mean you have to pretend that your loved one is okay. Telling them that a doctor can help them cope with a specific symptom without being judgmental may encourage them to seek help.
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Could I Have Schizophrenia
While schizophrenia looks different from person to person, it always causes changes in your abilities and personality. Because it is so different in each person, you may experience some or all of the symptoms below.
I’m hearing voices other people tell me they can’t hear
I’m seeing things that other people tell me they can’t see
My thoughts take a long time to form, come too fast together, or don’t form at all
I’m convinced I’m being followed
I feel immune to any kind of danger I believe I can save the world
I sometimes feel like I’m not actually in my body, that I’m floating
I used to like being around other people, but now I’d rather just be by myself
I want to end my life or harm myself
I’m having trouble remembering things, concentrating and making decisions
I’m getting confused easily
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it’s important to talk to your doctor. People who experience schizophrenia often experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, too.
A look at the terms
Below are the definitions of a few words that you might hear associated with schizophrenia.
Dont Try To Convince Them That Their Delusions Arent Real
One of the major things you should never do to a schizophrenic is to try to convince them that their delusions arent real. Delusions are a common symptom of schizophrenia, and it can be tempting to try and convince the person that what theyre seeing isnt real. However, these arent thoughts that you can talk someone out of, and attempting to do so may only cause further panic or frustration.
Although there are many examples of what not to say to someone with schizophrenia, everyone is different. Another great way of supporting your loved ones is to encourage them to get schizophrenia treatment.
If you or someone you know is battling a mental illness or co-occurring disorder, we can help. Call Banyan now at for more information about our inpatient mental health rehab in Boca.
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Do Use A Gentle Voice
Using an aggressive tone can make the person feel as if theyre backed in a corner. Again, schizophrenia is a difficult disease to cope with. You never know how the person is truly feeling, even if youve asked. Its important to remind yourself that they may do or say certain things without realizing the harm or pain they may cause. While it may be easy to become frustrated or angry with them, you should never yell, say harsh things, or speak in a strong voice to them. Instead, speak gently. Be honest, but dont be harsh or aggressive. This person is probably relying on your support, and its best to express your concerns in a gentle manner.
What Not To Say
You may not say the right thing every single time, and thats okay. Even the most well-intentioned people make mistakes. But knowing what not to say can make a major difference in preventing triggers for someone with schizophrenia.
Avoid statements that sound judgmental, stereotypical, and overly controlling. Remember that every case of schizophrenia is unique, and tone matters.
Examples of what not to say may include:
- Did you take your meds today?
- Are you still seeing a therapist?
- Are you exercising enough?
- People with schizophrenia should or shouldnt
- But you always feel worse when
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Multiple Identities Delusions Or Hallucinations
Some people confuse the multiple identities of DID for the delusions or hallucinations of schizophrenia, but they arent the same.
To break down the difference between these symptoms, lets define them:
- Delusions. False beliefs that are not based in reality. If you have delusions, you believe them despite evidence to the contrary, even if everyone else believes otherwise. There are many types of delusions, including grandiose, bizarre, persecutory, and somatic .
- Hallucinations. False perceptions when someone sees, hears, or feels something thats not actually happening. These sensory experiences feel real, but theyre not.
- Multiple identities. Also called alternate identities or alters, these occur when someone has more than one personality state. This alternate personality may appear to function separately from another. Alternate identities may have distinct behaviors, memories, expressions, languages, ages, and more. For instance, an alter of a 30-year-old female could be a 12-year-old male.
How Common Is Psychosis
According to the 2010 National Psychosis Survey 64,000 Australians aged 18-64 experienced a psychotic illness. This comes to roughly 0.5% of the population. The figures are slightly higher for men and slightly lower for women.
Psychosis often appears first in late adolescence and early adulthood, when young people are at important stages in their development getting an education, starting work or exploring relationships. Early onset is especially the case for men.
Your chances of having a first episode of psychosis decrease as you age: for every year after you turn 40, your likelihood of experiencing your first episode of psychosis declines steadily.
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Early Warning Signs Of Schizophrenia
In some people, schizophrenia appears suddenly and without warning. But for most, it comes on slowly, with subtle warning signs and a gradual decline in functioning, long before the first severe episode. Often, friends or family members will know early on that something is wrong, without knowing exactly what.
In this early phase of schizophrenia, you may seem eccentric, unmotivated, emotionless, and reclusive to others. You may start to isolate yourself, begin neglecting your appearance, say peculiar things, and show a general indifference to life. You may abandon hobbies and activities, and your performance at work or school can deteriorate.
Build A Safety Net Of Real People And Ideas
Be with the people you care about. Think of them in your darkest hours. Find a way out of negative thoughts by having beliefs and ideas that are uplifting. These tactics and my family and friends are my own safety net. These tactics may be a good starting point for you, and can help you construct a safety net that is unique to you. They have helped me, I hope they help you.
Spotting The Signs Of An Acute Schizophrenic Episode
Learn to recognise the signs that you’re becoming unwell. This can help you manage your illness.
These can include
You may also notice some milder symptoms developing, such as:
- feeling suspicious or fearful
- hearing quiet voices now and again
- finding it difficult to concentrate
You may also want to ask someone you trust to tell you if they notice your behaviour changing.
Recognising the initial signs of an acute schizophrenic episode can be useful. It may be prevented through the use of antipsychotic medicines and extra support.
If you have another acute episode of schizophrenia, follow your care plan. Particularly any advance statement or crisis plan.
Your care plan will include the likely signs of a developing relapse and the steps to take. It will include emergency contact numbers.
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.
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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?
Paranoid Schizophrenia: Symptoms Causes Treatment
Paranoid schizophrenia is one of the 5 main subtypes of schizophrenia characterized by an intense paranoia which is often accompanied by delusions and hallucinations. Most people with paranoid schizophrenia have auditory hallucinations and may experience delusions that people are plotting against them. For example, someone with this illness may believe that their friends are conspiring to poison them. People with this disease may spend a lot of time trying to think of ways to protect themselves from other individuals who they believe are out to get them.
Of the 5 subtypes, paranoid schizophrenia is the most commonly diagnosed. In comparison to other subtypes, individuals with paranoid schizophrenia are most likely to experience positive symptoms rather than negative symptoms and cognitive symptoms. In other words, they are more likely to be plagued with hallucinations and delusions and have less difficulties with focus, concentration, thinking, and mood. With proper treatment and support, individuals with the paranoid subtype are able to lead productive, stable lives.
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