How Far Should You Take Supportive Therapy For Schizophrenia?

A recovery - either partial or complete - from schizophrenia relies on both medical and non-medical treatments. The medical treatments are fairly well-known, with the results being predictable in most cases, and dependant on dosage. However, non-medical treatments - otherwise known as psychosocial treatments - such as supportive therapy for schizophrenia by mental health services, family, and friends, has proven to be highly effective as well, and should therefore be taken into consideration when setting up a treatment plan.

The reason for providing supportive therapy for schizophrenia sufferers is to help them to adapt to living with the disease, to know the signs to watch for prior to an episode, and how to cope with daily life.

But how far should you go? To what extent do you commit yourself to giving supportive therapy for schizophrenia family members or friends?

Unfortunately, the answer is to take it to one extreme or the other: either you do provide supportive therapy for schizophrenia sufferers, be they family or friends, or you don't. This type of therapy is quite all-consuming and requires a great deal of tolerance and patience, planning, and understanding. It also needs for you to be strong, steadfast, firm, and tactful. In fact, there are also support groups set up for members of family and friends dealing with schizophrenia sufferers, as it is such a draining experience.

Supportive therapy for schizophrenia sufferers comprises of two areas. The first one, is "managing the illness". Managing schizophrenia comprises making the patient aware of the illness, its symptoms, any problems that may arise, providing options regarding various treatments, and most importantly ensuring the patient knows the essential role of medication and continues to take it, even after going into remission, since 80% of all patients who stop taking their medication suffer a relapse in the following one to two years.

The second area of supportive therapy is learning to cope with the symptoms. Cognitive-behaviour methods teach patients to challenge the delusions, ignore the voice/s they hear, and get motivated.

Embarking on supportive therapy for schizophrenia patients involves a sincere commitment, requiring research and learning about the illness and how to handle situations, knowing when to intervene and when to get a doctor, and maintaining low stress levels within the environment surrounding the patient. It is important not to put any emotional or mental strain on patients and to alleviate any pressure that might have otherwise been placed on them.

It is also important to monitor medication and ensure that doctor's appointments are kept. Making sure the correct drugs are taken in the correct dosage, handling the side effects, which can bother a patient enough that he or she stops taking the medication completely, and observing and tracking reactions to medications are a significant help to the doctor treating the schizophrenic.

In addition, encouragement of schizophrenia patients to do things for themselves, and not expecting too much from them in general, means that you can exert a positive influence on them and guide them back into a semblance of a normal life. Knowing about the illness, accommodating it and its side effects, yet allowing the patient to participate in a regular daily routine, is what supportive therapy of schizophrenia patients is all about.

Signs of Schizophrenia  Tip #1

Schizophrenia is not the same thing as having multiple personality disorder. In multiple personality disorder a person has a number of independent identities that all share one host body. Typically one of the personalities is dominant and the others exist under the surface. With Schizophrenia, there could be independent personalities but the person suffering from the disease believes that these identities exist outside of him or herself.

Signs of Schizophrenia  Tip #2

There are different types of schizophrenia. The most widely known is that of paranoid schizophrenia in which the schizophrenic believes that there are people who are out to "get" him (or her). Commonly the patient associates himself with an elite group and believes that it is his membership with that group that has made him a target of others.

Signs of Schizophrenia  Tip #3

Schizophrenia is normally treated with anti-psychotic drugs. There are new drugs being developed all the time. Other treatments include Electro Convulsive Therapy in which the patient is driven to convulsions by receiving a series of shocks to the brain. This treatment is thought to fix the electrochemical balance of the brain.

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