What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia, like Alzheimer’s, is a physical disease of the brain. In fact, its first name was “dementia praecox,” meaning “early dementia.”
Schizophrenia can be in some ways, thought of as a neurodegenerative illness. People affected by Schizophrenia often experience a slow continuing deterioration as they get older similar to Alzheimer’s. Though this is true for some people with schizophrenia, it is more commonly thought of as a neurodevelopmental illness.
How Can you help your loved ones with Schizophrenia?
People with Schizophrenia tend to be socially isolated. This is an enormous loss for individuals afflicted by this illness. They may have no friends, no spouse, and often times, family members simply shun them. This is in part because the family members do not receive much information about the illness and what they can expect.
Although families are usually the primary caregivers at the beginning of schizophrenia, they often find their experience very frustrating for several reasons, and relationships suffer. Family education and support have been shown to improve outcomes considerably, and family education is the second most influential factor in relapse prevention.
Here’s what you can do for your loved ones:
Learn about schizophrenia to help your loved ones
Wash off the stigma of schizophrenia – just like you have a dysfunction in your body sometimes- it is a dysfunction of your mind – stop overthinking – thoughts such as – future of your loved ones are in danger, they will never be back to normal, they have become “mad” etc
It can be therapeutically and symptomatically reduced, and YOU can help your loved ones.
Listen to them – It is essential to listen and understand their needs rather being scared of them or feeling pity for them!
Hear them even if sometimes what they talk doesn’t make any sense to you …
Love – love them as much as you can
Sometimes they may take decisions that can be harmful to them as well as for you – hold their hands and help them cross their difficult path!
You might have to be stern at times if they are indulging into self-injurious habits – but it’s ok.
Have belief in them: Trust them and assure them that they can recover and have the resiliency to spring back and achieve their goals!
Their goals might take time to be achieved, but they will make it – by taking one step at a time.
Music therapy can help people with schizophrenia improve their global state and the negative symptoms of schizophrenia.
Just tune into calming music with a serene environment and help them relax and breathe.
Environment plays a significant role in symptomatically treating your loved ones – it shapes their mind and helps them survive the day with a bit more ease than it would have been if they were facing it alone – so don’t leave them alone – Each step counts!