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How to handle a person with schizophrenia?
- Schizophrenia is a type of severe mental disorder that affects the way people see, hear, and think about things.
- A person with schizophrenia often experience delusions and hallucinations and may become paranoid or withdrawn as a result of these symptoms.
- If you are dealing with someone who has schizophrenia, it can be difficult to communicate with them in an effective way.
- Fortunately, if you know what to do, you can have productive conversations and help them maintain their well-being.
- Here are some tips on how to approach a person with schizophrenia and help them get the treatment they need.
1- Avoid blame
- No one wants to be blamed for their mental illness.
- If you are frustrated, speak about what is bothering you, but don’t make it personal.
- For example, say I am worried about you cutting your wrists.
- It scares me and I wish I could help you, but instead I feel helpless because all I can do is give advice that doesn’t seem to work.
- What should we do? Do you have any ideas? Avoid blaming. You should give polite statements when communicating with a person with schizophrenia.
- They are likely being treated by a professional and already know how they should behave, they just are not in control of their actions.
2- Don’t let them live in delusion
- When you face a person with schizophrenia, it is important to recognize that they are still responsible for their own behavior.
- While they may be suffering from delusions and other symptoms, they are still responsible for their actions no matter how illogical or irrational.
- In many cases, a person with schizophrenia may have limited insight into what is happening around them.
- This means that, more often than not, you will need to explain things in a way that makes sense so you can avoid violent reactions and aggressive behavior.
- Don’t take anything personally. Because a person with schizophrenia often experience paranoia and hallucinations.
- It can be easy for them to misinterpret what is happening around them especially if you challenge their thinking or reality in any way.
3- Try different approaches
- When communicating a person with schizophrenia, try different approaches.
- One approach may work better than another depending on your needs, their symptoms and what you are trying to accomplish.
- For example, if you are looking for information from them, direct questions may be effective.
- However, if you are just wanting to converse and create a rapport, an indirect approach might be best.
- It is also important that when you do communicate a person with schizophrenia, you remain calm and allow them time to process what is being said.
- This can often mean simply letting them have time to respond at their own pace without interrupting or continuing with your thought processes.
4- Take the time to ask questions
- Many people with schizophrenia suffer from a disorder known as social anhedonia, which means they may be painfully shy.
- If you know someone who has recently been diagnosed, your loved one may need extra encouragement to open up and socialize.
- Remind them that while they don’t have to engage in lengthy conversations if they don’t want to, all you really need is a few minutes of their time.
- So it’s OK if all they can offer is a few words or even just eye contact.
- By setting an example, you will help them understand that no matter how little they are able to say or do at first, it is still worth trying.
5-Don’t get frustrated
- While most people suffering from schizophrenia can handle basic day-to-day tasks, like getting dressed or doing homework, they may need extra help with more complex tasks.
- If your friend or family member has trouble keeping up with personal care (for example, showering or dressing) it might be time for you to step in and lend a hand.
- Don’t get frustrated if your loved one resists, remember that a person with schizophrenia are often deeply uncomfortable with their symptoms and therefore resist treatment because of it.
- Try letting them know that you will be there whenever they need help so they can concentrate on treating their illness and don’t give up until they take you up on your offer.
6- Listen without judgment
- Understanding that your loved one hears voices or has other delusions doesn’t mean you have to believe them.
- Remember, they may be suffering from a mental illness, but they are still an intelligent human being.
- Most people with schizophrenia are gentle and kind, despite their disorder.
- So if they share disturbing thoughts with you, please listen without judgment and reassure them that you love them unconditionally.
- Open communication is key when it comes to staying close with someone who has schizophrenia it will help both of you feel loved and supported.
7-Respect their choices, even if you don’t agree
- A person with schizophrenia is often in charge of their own life and treatment, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a voice.
- It may be hard for you to understand why they don’t take medication, for example, but telling them what you think or what you would do will only cause problems.
- Let them know how their choices affect your life instead and remind them that taking care of themselves is just as important as taking care of others.
- This can help motivate them. However, if they tell you they are going off their medicines, it is best not to argue or try to change their mind
- You can still be supportive by being present and offering assistance when needed.