How to Help People Suffering from Schizophrenia

Do you know that more than 2 million Americans presently have schizophrenia? Or do you know that this number is expected to increase in the coming years? Are you also aware that persons between the ages of 16 and 25years represent more than half of schizophrenic sufferers? If you still doubt this, click here.

Schizophrenia, like most mental illness, is a brain disorder that affects the way a person acts, thinks and feels. Its symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, and thought disorders, among others.  While there is still no cure for the disorder, there are safe treatments that can aid a sufferer recover fully. So, if you have someone in your care with schizophrenia, no need to worry because we have some tips on how you can be of help to that person:

  • Be informed: One of the ways you can help a person with schizophrenia is to keep yourself informed about the mental disorder. Using resources available both online and offline, you should educate yourself about schizophrenia, its symptoms, and its various treatments. Learning everything you can about the illness will give you insight on how best you can deal with it. Remember, knowledge is power.
  • Get help: When dealing with a person suffering from schizophrenia, you need all the assistance you can get as it is almost impossible handling things on your own. Usually, it is difficult convincing schizophrenia sufferers to see a doctor. The reason for this is that they believe all the hallucinations and voices are real. But once you can safely get the person to see a doctor, treatment would begin in earnest. Getting help as soon as possible will also hasten the recovery process.
  • Create a stress-free environment: Creating an environment that is calming and stress-free is another way you can help people with schizophrenia. Psychologists have observed that stress can worsen schizophrenia symptoms. Therefore, be gentle and comforting when communicating with a schizophrenia patient. Also, remove any thing or persons that are likely to trigger and drive your patient into psychotic episodes. Please note, when the patient gets aggressive and becomes violent, don’t try to restrain him or her on your own, instead get help quickly from emergency services.
  • Encourage independence: When caring for someone with schizophrenia, give room for self-expression and freedom. Most times, it is easy to get tempted into treating the schizophrenia sufferer like an invalid incapable of making rational decisions. If you have been guilty of this, you are indirectly contributing to the problem. Also, don’t try to take over and do everything that your patient is capable of doing. Give your support from the sidelines and only step in to help when he or she is not able to do certain things.

In a Nut Shell

Supporting a person with schizophrenia can be a challenging and tiring task. However, while doing all you can to provide care, do not neglect yourself and your needs. Hopefully, with the tips given in this article, you can start your patient on the road to recovery.

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