Living with schizophrenia can be challenging, but that doesn't mean you will never have a calm and normal life. You need to find the right treatment, avoid stressors, and surround yourself with people who will support you. Don't be discouraged if you have been diagnosed with schizophrenia and read the article on how to live with someone who has schizophrenia.
Method 1 of 3: How to start treatment
Step 1. Start treatment as early as possible
Don't waste time. If you have not yet been diagnosed, see a psychiatrist as soon as possible if you think you may have schizophrenia. The earlier you start treatment, the more effective the treatment will be. As a rule, in men, symptoms begin to appear at the age of 20 or later, in women - closer to 30 years. Signs of schizophrenia include:
- unusual or strange thoughts - for example, feeling that someone who is around you wants to harm you;
- hallucinations, unusual sensations - for example, the ability to see, feel and hear and what other people in the same situation do not feel;
- violations of speech and thought process;
- "negative" symptoms (that is, decreased activity of normal behavior), including lack of emotion, unwillingness to look in the eyes, lack of facial expression, lack of personal hygiene and communication with people;
- motor disorders, including unusual posture, senseless or excessive movement.
Step 2. Know what the risk factors are
The following factors can lead to the development of schizophrenia:
- a case of schizophrenia in the family;
- taking narcotic drugs that change consciousness in adolescence and young age;
- certain problems with intrauterine development, including infection with viruses and exposure to toxins;
- increased activity of the immune system due to inflammation.
Step 3. Talk to a psychiatrist about treatment
Unfortunately, schizophrenia cannot go away on its own. You will need to constantly heal as the treatment will allow you to continue your normal life. Ask your doctor what drugs and other treatments are indicated for your situation.
Remember that all people are different: what works for one person may not work for another. Do not give up - the doctor will definitely select the drug therapy for you that will help you
Step 4. Ask your doctor which drugs are right for you
Do not try to find drugs on the Internet, because there is a lot of information, and not all of it is accurate. It is better to discuss this with your doctor - he will be able to select the appropriate drugs. The choice of medications depends on many factors, including symptoms, age, and comorbidities.
- If the prescribed drugs make you feel uncomfortable, tell your doctor. He will be able to change the dosage or change the drugs.
- Typically, antipsychotic drugs (antipsychotics) are used in the treatment of schizophrenia, which act on the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.
Atypical antipsychotics have fewer side effects and are most often prescribed. This group of drugs includes:
- aripiprazole ("Ariprizol", "Zilaxera"),
- asenapine ("Safris"),
- clozapine ("Azaleptin"),
- iloperidone ("Fanapt"),
- lurasidone ("Latuda"),
- olanzapine ("Zalasta Ku-tab"),
- paliperidone ("Invega"),
- quetiapine ("Ketilept"),
- risperidone ("Rispolept"),
- ziprasidone ("Zeldox").
The first generation of antipsychotics have more side effects, some of which appear throughout the duration of the drug intake. These drugs are usually cheaper. These include::
- chlorpromazine ("Aminazin"),
- fluphenazine (Moditen depot),
- haloperidol (Haloperidol "," Haloperidol-Richter "),
- perphenazine ("Eperazine").
Step 5. Try working with a psychotherapist
Psychotherapy will help you stick to your treatment plan and also help you understand your condition better. Ask your doctor what kind of psychotherapy is right for you. However, it is important to remember that it is impossible to combat schizophrenia with psychotherapy alone. With this disease, the following are usually shown:
- Individual psychotherapy. In this type of psychotherapy, the specialist talks with the patient one-on-one. The patient talks about his feelings, problems and relationships. The psychotherapist helps to understand how these problems can be solved, and explains the features of a person's condition.
- Family therapy. In this type of therapy, the patient visits the therapist with his family, where everyone discusses the patient's condition and looks for ways to communicate more effectively.
- Cognitive therapy. This type of psychotherapy helps people with schizophrenia. It is important to remember that psychotherapy is most effective when combined with drugs.
Step 6. Consider intensive community care
If you have been hospitalized for your illness, intensive community care may be a good option for you. This will allow you to return to society and receive the help you need, as well as resume your usual activities and start interacting with people again.
- Intensive community treatment involves the collaboration of several professionals: drug addiction specialist, rehabilitation specialists and nurses.
- Look for places to get intensive care in the community, online, or ask your doctor to refer you to the right specialist.
Method 2 of 3: How to live a normal life
Step 1. Take your medications
Many people with schizophrenia stop taking their medications. If you find it difficult to take your drugs all the time, try different ways to help you comply with your doctor's orders.
- Remind yourself that drugs help fight symptoms but cannot cure schizophrenia. This means that you will need to take medication all the time to feel good.
Seek support from people. When you feel good, ask friends and family to remind you of the importance of the drugs if you want to stop taking them.
Write yourself a message and promise yourself to take your medication. Remind yourself why you should take them (they relieve symptoms, but do not cure), and ask your family to turn this record on if you decide to stop taking medication
Step 2. Try to come to terms with your illness
This will help you with treatment. If you deny your condition or hope that the disease will go away on its own, your condition may worsen. Therefore, it is important to start treatment and accept the following two facts:
- Yes, you have schizophrenia and it will be difficult for you.
- Yes, you can lead a normal life. Schizophrenia is not a sentence. You can learn to live with her.
- It is important not only to come to terms with your diagnosis and start treatment, but also to fight for your right to lead a normal life.
Step 3. Remind yourself that you can live a normal life
The diagnosis can come as a shock to you and your family, but it does not negate the possibility of a normal life. It will take you some time to find the right treatment and adapt to your needs.
People with schizophrenia who take medications and see a psychotherapist have almost no problems with interactions in society, with work, family and other affairs
Step 4. Avoid stressors
Exacerbations of schizophrenia often occur due to stress. If you have schizophrenia, it is important for you to avoid stress and any situations that may exacerbate. There are many ways to deal with stress:
- Everyone's stressors are different. Psychotherapy can help you understand what is causing you stress - certain people, situations, or places. Knowing what is causing stress can help you avoid unwanted factors.
- Try to relax with meditation or deep breathing.
Step 5. Exercise regularly
Sport not only helps relieve stress, but also promotes the production of endorphins that can improve overall well-being.
Try listening to music that will energize you and help you complete your workout
Step 6. Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep causes stress and anxiety. Try to get enough sleep at night. Determine how many hours of sleep you need and stick to your plan.
If you find it difficult to fall asleep, try to make your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible. Mute all sounds, choose a different place to sleep, use a blindfold for sleeping and ear plugs. Create your own ritual and follow it every night
Step 7. Eat right
Unhealthy eating habits negatively affect the emotional background, which increases stress, so it is important to eat healthy to combat stress.
- Eat more lean meats, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
- Try to keep your diet balanced. Don't eat too much of one food.
Step 8. Try cognitive techniques
They are not a substitute for working with a therapist, but they can relieve symptoms of schizophrenia.
- For example, you can try the normalization technique. This technique implies the perception of psychotic characteristics as part of everyday life and the understanding that everyone's perception of reality may not always be normal. This way, you will not feel alienated, which will have a positive effect on your treatment.
- To cope with audible hallucinations (such as voices), try to counter what the voices are saying. If the voice says to do something bad to you (like stealing), make lists of arguments against it (for example, you may have problems with the law, it violates social norms, it will cause someone to lose money, most people are against it) and don't listen to the voice.
Step 9. Try to distract yourself
If you have hallucinations, distract yourself by listening to music or being creative, for example. Try to immerse yourself completely in your activity, as this will block unwanted phenomena.
Step 10. Fight distorted perception
To cope with the anxiety that can accompany schizophrenia, try to resist unreasonable thoughts. For example, if you think everyone in the room is looking at you, consider whether this is really the case. Look around: are everyone really looking at you? Think about how much attention you usually pay to any stranger who walks by you.
Remind yourself that there are a lot of people in a busy place, so the attention of people is likely to be evenly distributed rather than focused on you
Step 11. Try to keep yourself busy all the time
When you have managed to manage your symptoms with medication and psychotherapy, try to return to your normal life and find something to do. Idleness can lead to unwanted thoughts, which can cause stress and exacerbation of the disease. Try:
- pay more attention to work,
- spending time with friends and family,
- find a new hobby,
- help a friend with something or become a volunteer.
Step 12. Limit your caffeine intake
Sharp spikes in caffeine can aggravate some symptoms (for example, increase hallucinations and illusions). But if you usually drink a lot of coffee, quitting caffeine will likely neither worsen your symptoms nor improve your condition. The most important thing is to avoid sudden changes in the amount of caffeine consumed. You should consume no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. However, it's important to remember that everyone is different and caffeine works differently for everyone. Your body may be able to handle more or less caffeine.
Step 13. Give up alcohol
Alcohol negatively affects treatment, increases symptoms, and increases hospitalization rates. It is better to give up alcohol completely.
Method 3 of 3: How to Surround Yourself with Important People
Step 1. Spend time with people who understand the specifics of your condition
It is important to connect with people who know what you are going through so that you do not have to tell new people about your illness every time. Spend time with people who understand you, empathize, and are willing to communicate with you openly.
Avoid people who do not understand what is happening to you and who are stressing you
Step 2. Don't give up on communication
It may be difficult for you to find the strength to communicate calmly with others, but communication is necessary for you. People are social creatures, and when a person interacts with others, their brain produces substances that contribute to a sense of calmness and happiness.
Take time to do the activities you enjoy with the people you love
Step 3. Express your emotions and talk about your fears with those you trust
Schizophrenia can cause feelings of isolation, so talk to people about your feelings so that you don't close in yourself. This will release your psychological burden and make you feel better.
It is important to talk about your concerns, even if the person you are talking to cannot give you advice. If you just talk about what is bothering you, you will feel better
Step 4. Join a support group
A support group can help you embrace schizophrenia as part of your life. Understanding that other people are going through the same thing as you will allow you to better understand your condition and come to terms with it.
A support group will build your confidence and help you cope with your fear of illness and its possible consequences
- Contrary to popular belief, schizophrenia does not always have a devastating effect on a person's life. Although it is difficult for both the person and his loved ones to accept the diagnosis, life does not necessarily change for the worse.
- If you are willing to accept what is happening and want to be treated, you can lead a normal life and feel happy despite the diagnosis.