Citizen Reporter
Reporter
3 minute read
13 Feb 2020
9:59 am

Tips for caretakers of people living with schizophrenia

Citizen Reporter

Often, people living with schizophrenia may isolate themselves in an attempt to deal with their disorder.

Picture: iStock

Sometimes, living with a mental illness will have you feeling down. Other times you may feel great and able to accomplish all your goals. Your habits and routines, however, will go a long way to helping you thrive.

A person with schizophrenia may have trouble separating reality from fantasy. The symptoms include:

  • Delusional behaviour
  • Thought and movement disorders
  • Lack of motivation
  • Little to no interest in life or relationships
  • Trouble focusing on tasks at hand
  • Disorganised thought patterns and processes.

A person living with the disorder may often find it difficult to live a fulfilling life. Here are some helpful tips for people living with schizophrenia, and for those who take care of them.

  1. Avoid consuming alcohol or drugs

While consuming alcohol or drugs may seem social or fun, it often masks the symptoms of schizophrenia, by dulling the senses and preventing one from actually being fully aware of what they are experiencing.

 

  1. Maintain a healthy weight 

Many people living with schizophrenia often use their eating habits as a coping mechanism. Some will eat less and some more, which ultimately has an effect on the body and mind. To have a healthier diet, consider creating an eating plan with the help of a nutritionist or a family member. Limiting unhealthy snacks in your home also goes a long way to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Maintain social interactions 

Often, people living with schizophrenia may isolate themselves in an attempt to deal with their disorder. However, isolation impacts negatively on their symptoms by preventing them from cultivating meaningful relationships. It can also increase hallucinations and delusional behaviour. Instead, socialise with friends and go out, this will bring joy through interaction and forge meaningful relationships.

 

  1. Exercise frequently and improve cognitive skills

By exercising, a person with schizophrenia not just remains fit, they also improve cognitive skills, which in turn, reduces cognitive symptoms such as disorganised thinking, poor concentration and difficulty expressing thoughts. A healthy way of staying fit and healthy is to find a gym buddy that understands your disorder and motivates you. This can decrease the risk of over-exercising which impacts the symptoms of schizophrenia negatively.

  1. Stress less 

For a person living with schizophrenia, stress spikes their symptoms to the point they are unable to process their thoughts properly.  By remaining in calm environments, a person living with schizophrenia may benefit from the tranquillity. To effectively reduce stress, remove yourself from conflicting situations by informing family members of your disorder and how the pressure may negatively impact your symptoms. This allows them to be there for you and support you in instances that may stress you out.

In addition to the above tips, it is also important to note that a person living with the disorder must continue their medication, (whether daily oral medication or monthly injectables) as prescribed by a healthcare professional. Add to these healthy interventions from friends or family, and a person living with schizophrenia can only benefit.

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