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Schizophrenia Facts to Share With the Family and Friends

So one of your loved ones was just diagnosed with schizophrenia. You probably feel a wave of emotions. Maybe you're scared about what the future holds. Maybe your angry — why us, why our family? Maybe you're confused or even just numb.

Your family probably shares the same emotions. And while it's easy to dwell on these thoughts, your loved one will rely on your support e. It's important for you, your family, and your close friends to be ready and understand this mental illness.

Use this information and these tips to help prepare yourself and your family and close friends for these new responsibilities.

Your support helps

As worried as you may be, remember your loved one is going through a lot, too. They will need your love and support to help make this mental illness  manageable.

It can be hard to talk to a loved one who has schizophrenia. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Do

  • Share positive thoughts and remain calm.
  • Be patient about behaviors you don't understand.
  • Explain that you do not see their hallucinations or share their strange ideas. Help stop behaviors or actions that could hurt your loved one or someone else.
  • Help advocate for your loved one — if your loved one agrees — when talking to the doctor or mental health therapist.
  • Encourage them to take their medications as prescribed.

Don't

  • Avoid talking to your loved one.
  • Tell your loved one their hallucinations are wrong or made up.
  • Argue over what is real or not real.
  • Go along with hallucinations or strange ideas just to avoid arguments

People with schizophrenia often have trouble taking care of themselves or holding jobs until their symptoms are under control. Your loved one may need to be reminded to bathe or change clothes. Also, help them find activities they can do during the day to keep active and avoid isolation.

Schizophrenia treatment is getting better

While schizophrenia can't be cured, there are many treatments that work well to keep symptoms in check. As doctors do more and more research, treatment gets better. There are now many ways your loved one can get help.

  • Antipsychotic medications can help fend off some of the serious symptoms like hallucinations and faulty thinking. These medications are usually pills, liquids, or injections.
  • Psychosocial treatments help people with schizophrenia deal with life. They may get help with work, talking and listening, forming relationships, and cope with the disease.
  • Illness management skills help people learn about this disorder. This can help them know when to get help and how to stop from relapsing.
  • Rehabilitation helps people learn new skills. This can help with restarting a career, managing money, and keeping relationships. Peer Supports are available to help guide a person through their recovery process. These are individuals who also have a mental illness but are in recovery and can understand what the person is going through.

It can't be cured, but it can be managed

After finding the right mix of treatment, many people with schizophrenia go on to meet their life goals. They can hold jobs, form lasting relationships, and live independently. Your support will help your loved one live his or her life to its fullest potential and manage their new illness to the best of their abilities.

SOURCE: "Schizophrenia."