schizophrenia brain

How to help people with Schizophrenia

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As someone who has recovered from Schizophrenia, I have a unique perspective on how to help people with Schizophrenia. There are some very good resource sites on the internet to learn what you can do if someone you love has been diagnosed with the illness.

Here are my personal insights on the topic.


Learn all about the illness and how to cope Schizophrenia.

Families (very understandably) have a hard time coping, when their loved ones are out of touch with reality and might be a danger to themselves or others.

Schizophrenia is a blanket term that describes someone who is currently experiencing or has experienced psychosis. People who are going through psychosis are going through a frightening experience,

Don’t take stuff personally. The afflicted might lash out at you… if they are in a psychotic state they are out of touch with reality. Understand they are in dreamland… try to be empathetic with them, do not argue; but make sure they get help in a controlled environment.

Have patience, empathy, and faith that they will recover.


Have faith they can recover, but may not ever be quite the same.

neural pathwayTrauma can affect people in a way that destroys bridges… it is the way a brain physically copes with something it literally can’t cope with. Having people tell you that stuff you are seeing or hearing doesn’t exist and you are just crazy… considering you are seeing or hearing these things in a very realistic and tangible way; that in itself can be traumatic.

People who experience a psychotic episode might not necessarily be suffering PTSD, but they may come out the other side with PTSD.

I never really got quite back to my old self. Don’t get me wrong, I’m stable… but changed. The way I look at it, when a key neural-pathway breaks, it never grows back quite the same, but over time forms a new connection. In someone’s brain, that could permanently change that person’s personality, but that doesn’t mean they can’t come back to reality and stop being a threat.

A common stigma that is unfair to people with the illness is that someone who has recovered from a psychosis is still considered to be schizophrenic and a danger to people… when the recovered person actually IS 100% in reality and is not a danger to people.


Communication is problematic, patience and empathy are key.

For a moderate amount of time at the onset, I completely lost my short-term memory, although my long-term memory was just fine! Due to losing my short-term memory, I couldn’t carry on a conversation long enough to remember what I was talking about. It was terribly frustrating. But I remember all the crazy stuff I was thinking at the time, and am very humiliated to even think about it!

After the frustration of being unable to get through a sentence, the way I coped was to begin to communicate more with intuitive feelings as opposed to my thoughts, by-passing the “filter” process. This resulted in me blurting stuff out and interrupting people. I felt bad doing this because it made me come across as rude and argumentative… but I knew it was the only way I could get and message across.

During this time of problematic communication and being lost in dreamland, a lot of people stopped being my friend; very few stayed in touch to see how I was doing. I appreciate this; these people make me feel like a more valuable individual, worthy of love.


They may seem “Not There” but in reality, they are.

A person in psychosis is not gone out of his mind. He can’t communicate himself, or perhaps can’t quite access his self and misunderstands what is actually going around him. Think about a dream state. He’s living in a dream, or perhaps with one foot in dreamland and one foot in the real world. That’s a psychosis; a dis-connection with reality.


Show them you’ll be there for them.

Even if you have to distance yourself for his sake, stay in touch with family or caregivers. Certainly, your friend needs to know you are concerned; and he will find comfort in that. To have Schizophrenia is a frightening experience; and to feel abandoned on top of that, compounds the trauma.

So make attempts to re-build bridges, as you can. They may not be in reality right now, but in reality, they really do need you, very much.


With help, they will recover. Please keep faith.

With “best practices” in place in the mental health system, in families, and the community at large, up to 70% will recover.

Toward Recovery and Well-Being, MentalHealthCommission.ca

Recovered means well enough to be considered completely normal, able to hold jobs, drive, take good care of themselves and loved ones, have a social life, set and achieve goals, etc.

It takes time, treatment, medication, patience and understanding from loved ones to recover. To heal, the afflicted must accept their diagnosis, keep taking their medication, understand their symptoms, and consciously keep positive symptoms in check. When it comes to recovery, hope changes everything!

What people don’t understand, they fear. Most people with Schizophrenia never have another psychotic episode after the first one, and live in reality with as much stability as anyone else. Yet people fear them. People define even recovered individuals as “Schizophrenics”, consider them dangerous, when in fact the opposite is true. Labels and generalizations are untrue and make the traumatic illness that much harder for the afflicted to cope with.


In conclusion;

Educate yourself. Believe they will recover. Know they are ‘there’. Exercise empathy and support. Protect yourself; get your loved one psychiatric help if they are a danger to anyone. If you are keeping your distance, stay in touch with care providers and/or family to follow their recovery.

Your diligence and patience are more important to that person than you realize.

Share this post with families and loved ones of those with the illness.

Thanks,

Elaine.


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20 thoughts on “How to help people with Schizophrenia”

  1. Thanks for this post on how to help the schizophrenia people, I have a friend that is suffering from the schizophrenia disease. Sometimes he feels so bad and can not relate with all of the people because of this ailment but as we are his friends, we get close to him and show him, love, to the extent he forgets he has this ailment. This helps him, thanks for the solutions you have shared.

    Reply
    • Hi, thank you for your view on the topic, glad I could help by sharing my experience and insight. Hope you don’t mind but I touched up your spelling and grammar for better english and search engines… but overall I did understand your meaning and that is why I wrote this post. Thank  you Rose and warmest regards!

      Reply
  2. Hello Elaine, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. I have a family member who suffers from this terrible disease and sometimes I am so sorry I can’t do anything to improve health. You are right, we need to have faith and be patient, thank you for sharing some useful tips on this topic, I really found it helpful.

    Reply
    • I’m so grateful for your reply and that you found my tips helpful. I don’t like the thought of anyone suffering like I did which is why I wish to spread education on how to help those afflicted with Schizophrenia. Thanks, and best wishes.

      Reply
  3. As a parent and school teacher, I believe it is important to be well versed in mental conditions that could affect people you may come into contact with and may be called on to care for at some level. This is a very informative post about a topic that is widely misunderstood. I think a central point you make is so important. A person in psychosis is not out of their mind but can’t communicate with himself. I think having a solid understanding of the condition is what is necessary to help foster recovery. 

    Reply
  4. It is actually a friend of mine that has come domlwm with schizophrenia and I didn’t really understand what it means. I think that more people should look into it and understand how to deal with it as well. I didn’t know how to help her and that’s why I have come to read your post. I’m happy to learn all about emphaty and more. I will be sure to take your advice. Cheers!

    Reply
    • That makes me so grateful to hear that, and is the purpose of my website. To educate and improve the lives of those who are vulnerable and suffering due to mental illness. Thank you very much for your response. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Thanks a lot for sharing with us such an amazing article.

    Someone told me that schizophrenia is the one of the biggest diseas of this century. I have an uncle who suffers from this disease and I have never been able to handle it. His parents and the people around him understand and encourage him every day, but I have always been afraid of this disease. You have managed to explain all these details and I think I will try to use all these tips. Helping these kind of people can be like a miracle for them.

    If you don’t mind, i will share this article on my social media account. I’m sure that all my followers will use this help you explained here. Wish you a happy new year.

    Reply
    • Thank you, have a happy new year yourself!

      The warmth of the feedback here is wonderful. Please go ahead and share, I want the word to get out there. If my personal experiences can help others, I’d be happy to serve as an example of healing and encouragement. I hope this helps you to re-build your relationship with your uncle. This scenario is exactly the purpose of my article.

      Wishing you much success and happiness in the new decade. ~ Elaine

      Reply
  6. This is really massive here and has expatiated on a very sensitive topic such as treating mental illness such as schizophrenia. I fancy every bit of this post because you have expatiated well on this. To people who suffer greatly like this, all that is needed is to love and show greater care. Reinstating to them that they have a special place in our hearts. Thanks

    Reply
  7. What an interesting article on mental health and schizophrenia.

    Isn’t it strange that nowadays although there’s still a stigma attached to mental health disorders it does seem more socially acceptable to be able to discuss these topics openly whereas as little as 10-15 years ago one would have been told to snap out of it and get over it which is of course the least helpful anyone could be.

    Schizophrenia unfortunately has the additional label that the sufferer with it might still be a danger to themselves or to people around them but as you’ve said, this just isn’t true.

    Reply
    • Although mental health organizations are making some headway to reducing stigma, there is definitely still a prevailing attitude of Schizophrenia = danger… when actually it is Psychosis = danger. The label unfortunately sticks and ruins many lives for sure.

      Thank you for your feedback Dave. ~  E

      Reply
  8. Thanks a lot for this lot of information; naturally it is a norm in our society to abstain from some certain disability or disorder. Even when we know that the disorder is not contagious, they could be hereditary, genetic or out of ill health, we still abstain from this individual rather than show love.
    I support your notion of love by been patient and showing empathy. And I will share this post with as many of my friends as possible.

    Reply
    • Thank you wonderfully for sharing. I hope this site goes viral it will help the success of my goals. It is my wish to make a difference in the world and alleviate the suffering of others. Hugs, and warmest regards, ~ Elaine

      Reply
  9. Hello, 

    Nowadays, a lot of people are depressed, have a different kind of sickness. And, a lot of people don’t know how to help themselves, or the family members don’t know how to help them. You are very right, saying people with Schizophrenia need a lot of help, and we need to be patient, feel empathy and faith. I would say we need to give them more time to concentrate and understand what is going around them, show them more patience and understanding; also, communication is a significant factor.

    The post is interesting, helpful, and informative. Thanks for sharing, I found it is useful.

     

    Reply
    • The response of people reading this is wonderful, and your feedback is no different. Very glad you found it useful. I hope it really helps many people who truly need it. Thank you so much and best wishes to you ~ Elaine

      Reply
  10. Hey, Thank you for writing on How to help people with Schizophrenia. People who experience a psychotic episode might not necessarily be suffering PTSD, but they may come out the other side with PTSD. So make attempts to re-build bridges, as you can. They may not be in reality right now, but in reality, they really do need you, very much. Your guide is very useful for me to understand Schizophrenia. Thank you very much.

    Parveen

    Reply

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