The Effects of Schizophrenia on the Family
First off I would like to tell you what exactly schizophrenia is. Schizophrenia is a brain disease, with concrete and specific symptoms due to physical and biochemical changes in the brain. This illness strikes young people in their prime age usually between 16 and 25. Schizophrenia is almost always treatable with medication. Contrary to what most think schizophrenia is not a "split personality", or caused by childhood trauma, bad parenting, or poverty, and not the result of any action or personal failure by the individual.(3)
Now with a little knowledge about this disease I would like to tell you about how this illness can affect a family that is exposed to it. Schizophrenia disturbs the way people think, feel and relate to others. During a lifetime, people with schizophrenia may become actively ill once or twice, or have many more episodes. For family members the first episode can be particularly upsetting if you do not know what is wrong or how to help. Knowing about this disease and acknowledging can be the first step towards feeling less isolated and freeing your energy for caring for both your relatives and yourself. It is also important to remember that schizophrenia is not cause from family pressure or parental errors. (1)
During the active stage of schizophrenia, the person may fell their mind is being bombarded from all directions by ideas, questions and commands. They may feel overwhelmed to sort out even minor problems. So during this time families need to be supportive, understanding, and try to speak in a calm, clear and straightforward manner. Using these types of methods to help the ill person can not only help calm them down but relieve them of stress. Other great things to help people with schizophrenia are listening to music, painting, watching television, and or just sitting quietly together. (1)
There are many don't also when dealing with a family member with schizophrenia, like never talk as if the ill person is not there. People with schizophrenia are usually aware of what is going on around them, even if they appear no to be listening. Usually by providing a lot of support and loving care you can help the person more than you realize. Just try to show by your attitude and behavior that there is a hope, that the disease can be managed and that life can be satisfying and productive will help in every little way.
You may also help the person with schizophrenia by starting and maintaining a record of information on such things as: symptoms that have appeared, medication taken and dosages, effects of various types of treatments. Not only will this type of thing help you learn and understand this disease more but it will help the ill person by helping them keep track of this and it shows your willingness to care for them.
Another great thing to do to help an ill family member with schizophrenia is to lean and recognize the signs of relapse. It helps to know that relapse signs often recur for individual and some of the most common are such as: increase withdrawal from activities, and deterioration of basic personal care. You should know that stress and tension makes some symptoms worse and that as the person gets older that the symptoms often diminish. So as you can tell there are many methods that family members can help out with a person that has schizophrenia and that there is always hope. (1)
As you can see there are many effects that schizophrenia has on a family. Just having knowledge that a family member has schizophrenia can take a toll on the family. The might be thoughts that this was cause by something you did as a parent or family member. Depression can set in on love ones thing that they played a part on giving this disease to the person and even guilt for it happening to some beside them.
A family goes from being a happy go lucky family to a family that has to constantly have to watch over a loved one. The...
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