Schizophrenia is a potentially devastating disorder that is characterized by a wide range of troubling symptoms, including delusions, hallucinations, incoherent speech, disorganized or catatonic behavior, diminished emotional expression, and significantly decreased motivation to engage in purposeful activities. The cognitive and emotional turmoil that is associated with schizophrenia can render a person virtually incapable of thinking clearly and/or differentiating between reality and hallucinations or delusions. By definition, schizophrenia involves the impairment of at least one major area of functioning. Individuals who are living with schizophrenia may have difficulties in a variety of academic, occupational, and social situations, and may experience significant struggles in their efforts to understand and interact with their environment.
At Southcoast Behavioral Health, we have developed a variety of programming options that can alleviate the psychological pain of schizophrenia and help individuals who have been dealing with this disorder to regain their ability to more fully participate in a productive and satisfying life.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Having a close friend or family member who is living with schizophrenia can be confusing, frustrating, and, at times, overwhelming. The severity and complexity of this disorder can cause loved ones to feel that they are helpless to provide meaningful support. But if someone you care about has schizophrenia, you shouldn’t feel either helpless or hopeless. There are several steps that you can take to make a lasting positive difference in your loved one’s life.
Your first step should be to educate yourself about schizophrenia. As you learn about the signs and symptoms of this disorder and gain a greater understanding of your loved one’s experience, you will be better prepared to provide empathetic support and tangible solutions. Online resources, your local library, and area mental health services organizations can be excellent sources for learning about the basics of schizophrenia, as well as researching the types of treatments that have helped others whose struggles were similar to what your loved one is experiencing.
Consulting with experts either online or in person can also provide you with essential insights into how best to support your loved one and encourage him or her to get the professional help that he or she so desperately needs. Your understanding of the degree to which your loved one’s schizophrenia has impaired his or her ability to perceive reality and interact with others will play an important role in determining the best strategy for getting him or her into treatment.
Of course, your loved one is not the only person who is impacted by his or her schizophrenia. For this reason, it is important to ensure that you are not neglecting your own physical, psychological, and spiritual wellbeing. If other friends or family members are capable of helping you support your loved one, accept their assistance. Maintaining your physical and mental strength is important both for your own wellbeing and for that of your loved one. You cannot be a source of consistent and reliable support if you are not tending to your own needs as well.
Why Consider Treatment at Southcoast
It is difficult to overstate the devastating impact that schizophrenia can have on a person’s life. In addition to distorting a person’s ability to perceive reality and impairing his or her ability to communicate, untreated schizophrenia can also involve depression, anxiety, phobias, sleep disturbances, memory problems, and slowed cognitive processing. People who are subject to such distressing symptoms may find it virtually impossible to complete their education, find and keep a job, live independently, form and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships, and otherwise participate in a satisfying and productive life. People who have schizophrenia have a reduced life expectancy, which may be associated with the increased likelihood that they will smoke cigarettes and abuse alcohol and other drugs, as well as their heightened risk for developing diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and pulmonary disease.