Managing schizophrenia is a significant challenge. The immediate people effected are the patient himself and his family. Though I do not consider myself to be 100% cured, yet I feel that I am content with my life. It is almost 10 years since I was admitted in hospital for my first break. I have learned a lot through my experience with the disease. In this post I will be discussing some tips that may be helpful in coping with this mental disorder.
First of all, the family need to be patient. The disease take some time to develop and may take a considerably more time to recover. There is no magic pill. The medicine will also take time to relieve the symptoms. The family should realize that the thinking process of the patient is not the same as normal individuals. It is not the case that you tell the patient that you are thinking illogically and the patient accept that and that is end of it. Every patient goes into this illness in his own way and will recover in his own way.
The main advice for the patient is self counseling and self arguments. You may be extremely unlucky that you have been diagnosed with this serious illness, but that is not the end of life. Try to systematize your delusions. Try to identify those thoughts that do not make sense. Try to indulge in other healthy and interesting activities. Explore you interests and activities you enjoy. Make daily, weekly etc goals and chase them. Be proactive. Discuss your delusions with someone close to you. You may write them in a diary or start a blog like me.
If the medicine is not helping in relieving the symptoms, discuss with your doctor. It may take some time that you find the combination that works right for you. If the physician is not receptive, change the physician. I usually prefer the clinical psychologist over psychiatrist. The disease can be very well managed and the patients can spend healthy life. It may be the most serious disease in psychiatry but your fate is not doomed for good. Many people with this illness has demonstrated that they can very well be on the road to successful rehabilitation. Many such stories can be found on internet, books etc.
The main difficulty facing the family is how to handle the psychosis. The only thing that you can do is to keep silent and listen. The patient will believe in his delusion as the only truths. You can’t argue with the patient. The things may be obviously wrong and non sense to you, but those would be making perfect sense to the patient. If you want to correct him or streamline his thoughts and delusions, talk to the patient when he is in light mode. Try to make him realize his delusions gradually. He may systematize some of those. I personally think that my delusions will never be systematized completely. I keep on developing new one as I shed the old ones!
The last point that I wanted to discuss is the forced medication specially injections. I have been forced a few times and I consider them to be worst parts of my life. The shrinks may have different opinion on those but in my opinion these are violation of human rights and dignity. If the life of patient or someone else is in danger then they may be enforced. I never committed violence during my psychosis, but violence was committed against me by forced medication. My only message is to stop those. We are as human as any one else on this planet.