Don't challenge or criticize your loved one's delusions or hallucinations. Focus on their feelings instead. Don't touch your friend or family member unless absolutely necessary. Before you do, ask for permission.
Though making meaningful relationships with Schizophrenia is difficult, by no means is it impossible. Having even just a few friends will make it easier for you when you are having difficulty, and make the times when you aren't even better. Building solid relationships will make you mentally stronger and healthier.
BACKGROUND. Social engagement-important for health and well-being-can be difficult for people with schizophrenia. Past research indicates that despite expressing interest in social interactions, people with schizophrenia report spending less time with others and feeling lonely.
Living with someone with schizophrenia is challenging. Understanding and compassion are key for coping with the symptoms, helping your loved one, and looking after yourself.
Set boundaries: Your loved one suffering from schizophrenia needs structure and consistency. When you set boundaries, be clear and direct. Make sure they are understood by everyone involved. While it's important to have rules and a routine, don't monitor their every move.
The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown. Research suggests a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make a person more likely to develop the condition. Some people may be prone to schizophrenia, and a stressful or emotional life event might trigger a psychotic episode.
“People diagnosed with schizophrenia struggle to start relationships and show their emotions. That can make it difficult for them, and later on for their partners, due to the lack of emotional response. Talking to a mental health professional about ways to overcome this issue can help a couple in many ways.”
Unfortunately, most people with schizophrenia are unaware that their symptoms are warning signs of a mental disorder. Their lives may be unraveling, yet they may believe that their experiences are normal. Or they may feel that they're blessed or cursed with special insights that others can't see.
Drastic changes in behaviour may occur, and the person can become upset, anxious, confused, angry or suspicious of those around them. But most people who get psychotic episodes are not a danger to others. They may not think they need help, and it can be hard to persuade them to visit a doctor.
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 don't be harsh or aggressive. This person is probably relying on your support, and it's best to express your concerns in a gentle manner.
Remember that you cannot reason with acute psychosis. The person may be terrified by their own feelings of loss of control. Don't express irritation or anger. Speak quietly and calmly, do not shout or threaten the person.
Schizophrenia treatment includes medication, therapy, social and family support, and the use of social services. Treatment must be ongoing, as this is a chronic illness without a cure. When schizophrenia is treated and managed over the long-term, most people can live normal, productive, and fulfilling lives.
A person with schizophrenia may not respond in the way we might expect in a 'normal' conversation. Your words may be met with silence or monosyllabic answers. In some cases, the person may say that they are extremely interested in what you want to discuss, but their facial expression and tone may not reflect the same.
Drug and alcohol use
If you already have schizophrenia, research shows that using recreational drugs may worsen your symptoms. Some studies suggest that people who use high-potency cannabis ('skunk') when in recovery are more likely to have a relapse too.
In the past, it was accepted that schizophrenia can worsen as people age. However, research in recent years suggests that although some symptoms may get worse with age, others will remain stable, and some symptoms may actually improve with age.
Patients may be more aggressive and violent during acute episodes. Schizophrenic patients have less insight, experience greater thought disorder, and have poorer control of their aggressive impulses.
Social isolation and lack of social support. Withdrawal of support by/loss of contact with friends, family and neighbours. Loss of employment/income or reduced productivity/increased absenteeism. Increased medical expenses and financial problems.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the decline in life expectancy among people with more severe mental illness ranges from 10–25 years . Most studies of schizophrenia show a life expectancy reduction of 10–20 years.
Hallucinations and delusions may be the public face of schizophrenia, but the hidden cognitive symptoms — which include difficulty focusing on mental tasks, understanding speech, and remembering what just happened — make it very hard for people with the condition to live satisfying, productive lives.