Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects about one out of every hundred people. There are many popular myths and misunderstandings about it. That makes it all the more important to get the facts straight. This blog is for anyone who has Schizophrenia or who has a friend or relative with Schizophrenia. Here you will find:
What it is like to have Schizophrenia
What may cause Schizophrenia
What can be done
Guide for the Caregivers of Schizophrenic Persons
How can you help someone with Schizophrenia cope better?
Caregivers and families play a vital role in helping their loved ones with Schizophrenia cope with the illness. The 4-S System is a plan of action that suggests practical tools that work in real daily life:
o Develop predictable and nonthreatening routines
o Break tasks into small, more manageable steps
o Make gradual changes to routine activities to prevent boredom
o Keep decision-making functions simple and let the person decide
o Introduce something new especially when interest is shown
o Start with simple everyday activities with familiar people
o Don't over-expect, such as immediate response or enjoyment
o Praise every positive achievement, but don't overdo it
o Encourage interaction even if contact is brief or superficial
o Encourage family, friends, and others to maintain contact
o When appropriate, factually advise on issues of sexuality
o Involve siblings in coping with the illness
o Prepare children of parents with Schizophrenia for better coping
o Call in a third party to help settle disagreement among family
Handling Especially Difficult Situations
What can be done if the person with Schizophrenia becomes restless and agitated?
There are occasions when the person with Schizophrenia may be extremely agitated, manifesting difficult behaviors. Here's what to do:
o Do not confront him in any way
o Remain calm
o Stay in control
o Keep a close watch on him
o Do not leave him alone
o Make sure that he will not hurt himself or anyone
o Ensure that he has no access to sharp or dangerous objects
o Consult your mental health professional right away
What is the best way to handle difficult situations with a person with Schizophrenia?
The general approach to difficult situations is best defined and summarized by the 3 C's:
1. Communicate directly, honestly, and with understanding. Do not crowd, rush, or touch the person.
2. Calm and safe environments must be provided. Remove items that may pose threat or danger.
3. Control the situation by being firm, quietly assertive and reassuring.
What to do if suicidal thoughts are noted
Suicide is a serious problem, especially for people with Schizophrenia. Almost 10% of persons with Schizophrenia commit suicide.
If there are thoughts of suicide, it is critical that the person gets immediate help. The person with Schizophrenia should speak to members of the family and doctor. An increase in medication, use of antidepressant, and psychological support will help patient overcome this. Hospitalization may be needed.
The family or caregivers should take their patient seriously if the latter expressed suicidal thoughts and consult the doctor right away,
Next: Relapse - What to Do in Case of Relapse