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Tips for Helping a Loved One Living with Schizophrenia

As a family member or close friend, you may help a loved one who has schizophrenia or support that person as they pursue their recovery. You can help your loved one stay engaged in treatment, manage use of prescribed medicines, and prevent symptoms from coming back (relapse). You also can help your loved one cope with symptoms and learn skills to help them get along in the community. 

How family and friends can help

Family members and friends can help by doing the following:

  • Acknowledge that helping a loved one living with schizophrenia is a long-term issue. People who do this usually adjust better to helping their loved ones.

  • Learn about schizophrenia. This includes understanding what happens with schizophrenia and how you and your loved one can cope with the illness.

  • Keep your emotions in check. Too much emotion can make recovery harder, because it can be very stressful for your loved one. Try not to be critical, overly involved, or mean.

  • Know where to find help for your loved one, such as family services and emergency care.

  • Know what to do if your loved one has a relapse.

  • Don't blame your loved one for their behavior.

  • Be calm when your loved one has severe symptoms. Call the person quietly by name or ask the person to tell you what they are experiencing. Be calm and soothing. Don't argue with the person or say that the voices are not real. Call for help if you think the situation could become dangerous. 

Working with healthcare providers

If you are a caregiver, these tips may help:

  • If you think someone you love has schizophrenia, help the person get to a healthcare provider. Early diagnosis and treatment may make treatment more successful.

  • Ask for family education and possibly family therapy. Talk with a therapist or counselor about what is happening. Talk about the symptoms, even if they are scary. Family therapy helps prevent relapse and teaches you and your loved one to work together.

  • Keep in touch with your loved one's healthcare provider, therapist, or counselor about how things are going.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 3/1/2019
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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