Schizophrenia Help: For Family Members and Schizophrenia Patients
Schizophrenia help, outside of regular visits to the doctor, takes a lead role in relieving the ravages of this mental disease – for both patient and family member caretakers. Patients and loved ones alike should take the reins and get informed about the available schizophrenia help resources and self help options for the illness.
Before Providing Schizophrenia Help to Another - Help Yourself First
Accepting the illness, and all of the implications it brings, marks the first hurdle you must cross before you can provide meaningful schizophrenia help for your loved one. You may feel ashamed or worried about what outsiders will think, due to the stigma associated with mental illness. Even so, do not hide the patient’s illness from others. This only degrades your emotional well being and reinforces the stubborn negative attitudes Americans hold about schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
As you talk openly about the disease and how you plan to provide your loved one with schizophrenia help, these uncomfortable feelings will diminish. Shame will turn into strength that you can use to bring greater awareness to the torment of schizophrenia.
Build a strong foundation that allows you to offer meaningful schizophrenia help and support to your ill family member. Do this by educating yourself about the realities of the disorder, phases of psychoses, typical behaviors, available treatments, therapies, and common roadblocks to recovery.
As you learn how to cope with the disease, you’ll become frustrated at times – maybe even resentful of your loved one. It’s important to join a support group for family members of the ill person. Here you will connect with others in the same situation. You can discuss issues, fears, behaviors, and solutions – what works and what remedies do not. It helps to know others are going through the same challenges.
As always, mentally ill loved-one or not, pay attention to your health by exercising, eating right, and engaging in favorite hobbies. Your robust health and attention to self will fortify your arsenal of schizophrenia help tools.
How to Provide Schizophrenia Help to Your Loved One
- Empower your ill family member by allowing him to remain as independent as possible. Frequently, caretakers inadvertently take over tasks that the patient can accomplish, robbing him of dignity and confidence.
- When he or she rants about delusions, visions, and conspiracies, remember that you cannot reason these paranoid delusions away any more than you could reason cancer away.
- Strive to nurture the love in your heart for the person trapped within the torment, even if you hate the schizophrenia and its influence on your lives.
- Do not allow shame to enter your thoughts. This type of shame is toxic and unhealthy.
- Learn to discern the difference between unnecessary, neurotic suffering and embrace true suffering. By doing this, you’ll come out on the other side to a sunny outlook with each true passing storm of pain.
- Set boundaries and clear limitations on your giving of self. You may need to adjust these at times, but commit to staying within reasonable guidelines you set forth.
- Forgive yourself and others for the inevitable mistakes and poorly thought-out behaviors.
- Nurture and feed your relationships with other family members and close friends.
Schizophrenia Self Help Tools and Tips for Patients
People suffering from this traumatizing, neurological brain disorder need to first seek schizophrenia self help support from a mental health group. Participating in the meetings with other patients will help fill in the gaps between medical doctor visits and professional therapy sessions. The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) has 1200 local groups throughout the U.S.
- Actively participate in your treatment. Take as much responsibility for your recovery as you can properly handle. This will empower you and strengthen you during the chaotic and confusing psychotic episodes.
- Use times when you feel safe and good about your surroundings to educate yourself about your illness, the available treatments, warning signs that a challenging time is approaching, and adjunct treatments to try along with your traditional treatment strategy.
- Build a trust relationship with your physician and mental health therapist when you don’t have feelings of unease, persecution, and conspiratorial suspicions.
- Take your medications exactly as your doctor instructs and adhere accurately to the dosing schedule.
- Create reminder lists, sticky notes, or digital reminders on a computer about your medication doses so you stay on track, even when you feel uneasy and enter the painful, dark world.
- If you abuse drugs or alcohol, get help to stop immediately. Indulging in alcohol and recreational drugs at even minimal levels will hinder, or possibly thwart, the recovery progress entirely. You want to get better. You want to leave the dark and chaotic world for good. Don’t sabotage your freedom from illness.
While these schizophrenia help tips for both family members and patients won’t always work, they provide a baseline and a do-over point for those times when your efforts and personal grace fly out the window. It is possible to live a joyful life, while coping with schizophrenia. Believe it. Take control of your mental and physical health. Make the journey toward your best destiny.
Last Updated: 14 July 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD