Whether you are supporting a son, daughter, cousin, spouse, uncle, or friend with schizophrenia, you can make a difference by getting involved in the recovery process of your loved one. And they can make a difference in your life, too.
As a caregiver, you may be able to help your loved one get the right treatment options to help manage their symptoms. You also can help them set and work toward goals and create a recovery plan.
Find the Right Medication
Taking medication regularly, as prescribed, is important for your loved one’s well-being. Supportive treatments, such as psychotherapy, also are important.
Ask for Help
If your loved one is having difficulty with a certain medication, such as side effects, or cannot remember to take it, talk to their doctor right away.
Help your loved one create a crisis plan with their preferences and the contact information of important treatment team members.
Watch for Episodes
Ask your doctor about common triggers. Contact the treatment team right away if your loved one is showing any of the warning signs of an episode.
As a caregiver to someone with schizophrenia, you can support your loved one by connecting with their treatment team and participating in medication and treatment decisions.
A typical mental health treatment team includes doctors (eg, psychiatrists), psychologists, case managers, and peer specialists who provide support and treatment for your loved one along the recovery journey.
Remember that doctors and other team members must uphold privacy and confidentiality policies by law. For the treatment team to share information with you, your loved one must give them written or verbal permission.
Explore Medication and Treatment Options
Before the appointment, talk to your loved one about their wants and needs from their medication and supportive treatments. Take some time to learn about treatment options to manage the symptoms of their condition.
Attend Doctor Visits
In addition to helping ensure that your loved one makes it to appointments, you can provide support by taking notes, helping communicate your loved one’s needs and wants, asking additional questions, and just being another set of ears.
Participate in Treatment Decisions
There may be times when your loved one wants support making decisions about their treatment and recovery. How much or how little you are involved is up to your loved one. Talk about how you can help to make decisions together.
Be Involved in Follow-up
After the appointment, you can keep in touch with the treatment team to discuss progress and provide updates—including any side effects or changes in symptoms.
Having hope and believing in yourself can inspire you to accomplish your goals.
Track Your Successes and Challenges
Remember to share your progress with your treatment team and give yourself credit for the work you are doing.