11 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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It’s not always easy to get someone to take medication or seek treatment. A loved one with schizophrenia may be much more difficult to persuade to take medication. Some people with mental illnesses cannot think coherently. Some may be unaware of it.

Some people may believe they do not require medicine or treatment because they think their hallucinations or delusions are real. It is vital not to give up on these refusals but to continue to encourage the person. Your role as a relative or friend is important.

Help someone with Schizophrenia

There is advice on what to do and what not to do, just as there are suggestions for how to best aid your loved one. Knowing what to say when symptoms change can help you communicate more effectively. It’s also crucial to understand what not to say to someone who has schizophrenia.

For instance, you should never:

  • Hold your loved one responsible for not “trying to solve” their situation.
  • Reassure them that their symptoms are “all in their heads.”
  • Compel your loved one to talk to you so that they can “feel better”
  • Express pessimism regarding a loved one’s health or current difficulties

People who suffer from serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, want positive encouragement rather than negative comments. Here are some things to remember:

  • Do not constantly remind them to take their meds.
  • When speaking with them about seeking therapy, avoid using a confrontational or intimidating tone of voice.
  • Include no one who your loved one would not trust or with whom he or she does not feel a strong bond. This simply adds to their tension and anxiety.
  • Do not say things that aren’t true, such as “I understand how you feel,” because you don’t know how people feel unless you have schizophrenia.
  • When they tell you they’re having hallucinations or delusions, or if they’re feeling paranoid, don’t dismiss their sentiments.
  • Don’t challenge them about their irrational views or illusions.
  • Even if they are babbling, don’t interrupt them. Allow them to say whatever they want.
  • Use simple language and instructions. They can be perplexed if they’re watching an episode with complicated directions or if the language is confusing. Make things simple for them.
  • Don’t scream or disregard what they’re saying because it will agitate your loved one. Instead, speak calmly and acknowledge that you have heard them.

While delusions and hallucinations are prominent symptoms of schizophrenia, the neurological condition also has an impact on communication.

Among the signs and symptoms are:

  • Disorganized or uncoordinated speech
  • Difficulties in conveying ideas
  • Problems in thinking

Lack of motivation is another symptom of schizophrenia. Your loved one may not appear to be interested in or enjoy the things they regularly participate in. Small, ordinary chores might be difficult to do.

Education, empathy, and compassion are all important components of effective communication with someone who has schizophrenia.

Rather than attempting to “cure” your loved one’s mental illness, it’s critical to meet them where they are now and remind them that you’re there for them no matter what problems they face.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Recognize how your loved one is feeling.
  • Pay attention to what they say they’re feeling, sensing, or hearing, whether or not it makes sense to you.
  • Inquire about what you may do to assist them right now – encouragement can boost motivation.
  • Make sure your loved one knows you’re available whenever they are ready to talk.
  • If your loved one wishes to communicate with you, be patient and give them extra time to gather their ideas.

The support and love of friends and family are crucial in the treatment and rehabilitation of schizophrenia. If you have a loved one who suffers from schizophrenia, you may be experiencing a range of negative feelings such as dread, guilt, rage, and frustration. You may feel largely unaware of your loved one’s symptoms, fearful of the stigma associated with schizophrenia, or perplexed and humiliated by their odd behaviors. You might even feel compelled to keep the illness of a loved one hidden from others.

While coping with a loved one’s schizophrenia can be difficult, the tactics listed below will help you encourage your loved one toward recovery while keeping your own ambitions and dreams in mind.

Encourage self-help and treatment.

Supporting a loved one with schizophrenia begins with encouraging treatment and self-help. While medicine is an important part of schizophrenia treatment, other factors also play a role in your loved one’s rehabilitation. Changes in food, stress management, exercise, and seeking social support can all have a significant impact on your loved one’s feelings, symptoms, and self-esteem. And the more something a person does for oneself, the less hopeless and powerless they will feel, and the more probable their doctor will be able to lessen their drug dosage. Your support and encouragement might be vital in helping your loved one begin and maintain a self-help program.

Create a support system for yourself.

You’ll need help, understanding from others, and encouragement to better care and support for someone with schizophrenia. It will be better for both you and your loved one if you have more assistance.

Recognize your personal limitations. Be honest with yourself about how much care and help you can give. You can’t do it all, and if you’re fatigued, you won’t be much assistance to a loved one, so get help where you can.

Become a member of a support group. Meeting other people who understand what you are going through can help you feel less alone and afraid. Support groups give families of patients with schizophrenia a safe place to share their advice, experiences, and information.

Trusted family members and friends are a good place to start. Inquire with close ones if you can rely on them for assistance. The majority of folks will be pleasantly surprised by your request.

Make an effort to make new pals. It’s never too late to make new friends and expand your support network if you don’t feel like you have anyone to turn to.

Make use of the resources available to you. Inquire with your loved one’s doctor or therapist about local respite services and other resources, or call community hospitals and mental health facilities.

Monitor medication

Once your loved one is in treatment, regular monitoring helps ensure that they stay on track and get the greatest benefit from their medicine.

Take any potential side effects seriously. Because of side effects, most people with schizophrenia avoid taking their medication. Bring any unpleasant side effects to the doctor’s notice; he or she may be able to lower the dose, switch to some other antipsychotic, or add medicine to counteract the side effect.

Motivate your loved one to take his or her medications on a regular basis. Even when side effects are under control, some persons with schizophrenia refuse to take medicine or have difficulty remembering to take it on a daily basis. Apps that remind you to take your medications, weekly pillboxes, and calendars can all assist. Instead of daily pills, several drugs are accessible as long-lasting weekly or monthly injections.

Avoid medication interactions at all costs. Give the doctor a thorough inventory of your loved one’s medications and supplements to help them avoid harmful drug interactions. If your relative has a substance misuse issue, see a doctor before mixing substances such as illegal drugs or alcohol with schizophrenia medication.

Keep track of your loved one’s growth. Tracking changes in your family member’s behavior, attitude, and other symptoms in response to medicine is easy with a mood-tracking app, journal, or diary.

Keep an eye out for indicators of relapse.

Because discontinuing medication is the most common cause of relapse in schizophrenia, it’s critical that your loved one take all medications as prescribed. While relapse can happen even if a patient is taking their medication as directed, knowing the red flags and taking fast action may help you avoid a full-blown catastrophe.

Common symptoms of relapse in schizophrenia are:

  • Insomnia
  • Withdrawal from social situations
  • Personal hygiene is worsened.
  • Paranoia is becoming more prevalent.
  • Hostility
  • Nonsensical or confusing speech 
  • Strange or mysterious disappearances
  • Hallucinations

Prepare yourself for a potential crisis.

Despite your best attempts to prevent relapse, your loved one’s health may deteriorate suddenly, necessitating hospitalization to keep them healthy and safe. If you have an emergency plan in place for a psychotic episode, you will be able to manage the situation safely and efficiently. For someone with schizophrenia, an effective emergency plan should include:

  • Contact details for your loved one’s therapists and doctors in the event of an emergency.
  • The phone number and address of the psychiatric hospital where you will report for admission.
  • Other children or dependents will be cared for by family or friends while you cope with the situation.

It’s also a good idea to discuss your emergency plan with a family member. If your loved one knows what to expect during an emergency, the situation may be less terrifying.

Look after yourself.

It isn’t selfish to look after oneself. In fact, it’s just as vital for you to look after your own health needs as it is for your loved one with schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia puts a tremendous amount of strain on the family. It has the potential to consume your life and burn you out. If you’re stressed, you’ll stress out the individual with schizophrenia, triggering or exacerbating their symptoms.

Because developing healthy lifestyle habits is vital for your loved one in addressing schizophrenia symptoms, you can serve as a role model by taking care of your own health. You might be able to work on some of these steps together, motivating and encouraging one another.

Make friends. The most effective technique to relieve stress is to engage in social engagement with somebody who cares about you. It’s critical for both you and the individual with schizophrenia to have other people with whom you can interact face-to-face—someone, with whom you can converse for an extended period of time without being judged or becoming distracted. A friend, family member, professional therapist, or clergy member could be that person.

Get some exercise regularly. Physical activity relieves stress and promotes the release of endorphins, potent brain chemicals that energize and make you feel good. Whether you work out alone, with a friend, or with your schizophrenia-affected loved one, aim for 30 minutes of physical activity daily, or three 10-minute sessions if it’s simpler.

Maintain a balanced diet. The food you eat has a direct effect on how you feel. Sugar and refined carbs, which cause a mood and energy fall, should be avoided. Improve your focus, energy, and attitude by increasing your Omega-3 fatty acid intake from fatty fish, fish oil, walnuts, and flaxseeds. The same dietary advice can help you manage the symptoms of a loved one.

Acceptance should be practiced. Accept your sentiments, including the negative ones, rather than obsessing about how unfair your loved one’s diagnosis was. It can make a significant impact on your ability to manage stress and maintain emotional equilibrium

Seek out happiness. Making time for play isn’t a luxury; it’s a need. Make time in your day to do activities you enjoy, whether it’s going for a walk in the woods, seeing friends, or reading a nice book. Encourage your schizophrenia-affected loved one to do the same.

Take care of your health. Ignoring your health will only increase your stress levels. Get plenty of rest and remain on top of any medical issues.

Make use of relaxing methods. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation are all techniques that can help you relax and restore balance to your mind and body.

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness, but there are strategies to deal. Consider the 10 strategies listed below for dealing with a schizophrenic partner:

1. Avoid taking things personally.

When your partner doesn’t communicate well or has difficulties with intimacy, it’s tempting to condemn yourself or feel inadequate. Remember, they are signs of the condition, not your fault.

2. Create a social network

Life with a schizophrenic partner can be challenging, so you need help. Build a network of supportive family members and friends you may call on for advice or support.

3. Get help

Communication can be difficult with a schizophrenic partner. Working with a couple’s therapist can help you manage schizophrenia.

Frequent counseling sessions provide a secure place to work through relationship challenges and improve communication.

4. Consider joining a support group

Living with a psychotic partner can make you feel lonely. A support group can help you deal with a schizophrenia partner in these situations.

Participating in the group can help you learn more about coping with schizophrenia marriage issues, and it tells you that you are not alone in your troubles.

5. Self-care

You can’t care for others unless you first care for yourself. This implies you must prioritize self-care.

This may entail creating a regular exercise routine, scheduling one enjoyable activity per day, or following a healthy diet. Taking care of yourself makes loving schizophrenia easier.

6. Help them overcome their unreasonable (and insane) views

It’s difficult when your partner with schizophrenia maintains psychotic views despite evidence to the contrary. Be prepared to be calm and respectful.

Instead of disputing, say, “I perceive the situation differently than you do.”

7. Be ready in an emergency

You may be able to manage with a schizophrenic partner on your own, but in a crisis, you may need help.

For example, if your partner discloses suicidal thoughts or starts acting out hallucinations, you should phone a local crisis hotline. If you call them, be prepared to say that your partner has schizophrenia.

They may need to be hospitalized for emergency mental care.

8. Insist your partner seeks medical help

Untreated schizophrenia makes good relationships challenging. Symptoms of the condition might cause erratic behavior, including partner abuse.

So your partner must consent to treatment. Encourage them to accept aid by accompanying them to appointments.

9. Don’t expect instant relief.

Treatment is vital for someone with schizophrenia, but it won’t cure them.

You will need to be patient for the meds to work and accept that your partner’s treatment will be lifelong.

Your companion may have good days and bad days, regressing and exhibiting increasingly severe symptoms.

10. Set minor goals with your partner.

Big ambitions like returning to full-time employment or completing a degree program can be stressful for your partner in early treatment or relapse of schizophrenia symptoms.

Help your partner set tiny, attainable goals. For example, plan three weekly walks with your partner to encourage them to be more active.

Or, to get children more engaged in daily routines, assign them one duty per day, like washing dishes after supper. As your symptoms improve, you can set larger goals.



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