Schizophrenia is a rare, difficult mental illness to understand. It isn’t as common as anxiety or depression. For a healthy mind to precisely understand schizophrenia is almost impossible. The closest we can ever get is by listening or reading the experience that came directly from a victim.
The symptoms of schizophrenia have been divided into two categories— the positive symptoms and the negative symptoms. The positive symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, confused thoughts, disorganised speech, trouble concentrating and movement disorders. The negative symptoms include lack of pleasure, withdrawal, difficulty in follow-through, etc. the symptoms are usually seen during early adulthood. There can be various factors causing schizophrenia like a trauma or genetics as well. Schizophrenia is a curable mental illness. It requires a lot of patience since it may take years for the symptoms to go away.
There are various ways one can adapt in order to take care of someone with schizophrenia. The following are the simplest ways that can have a huge impact on the victim:
Knowing about the disease:
Learning how schizophrenia affects the victim is the first step to helping them. The more you understand about the disease, better prepared you can be to help the victim. Supporting the victim becomes easier once you know enough about schizophrenia, which in turn helps in boosting the victim’s motivation to stick to the treatment schedules.
It is extremely important to respond responsively with the victims. When the victim is undergoing the symptom (hallucinations, delusions), agree with them. Challenging their beliefs will worsen the situation. Be kind, respectful,and supportive. Call for help if necessary.
Tracking the details:
Tracking the details of the victim like behaviour, speech, and movements is equally important. Note the recent symptoms, new sources of stress, and their medications. Go along with them to their medical appointments which will help you take better care of the victim.
Know the signs of suicide:
Suicidal acts are common in a shizophrenic victims. Understand that their hallucinations and delusions persuade them to hurt themselves. Look for the signs of suicidal thoughts. Observe their creations like poems, essays or stories closely. Listen to what they say about themselves. If they suddenly go from being depressed to being cheerful, be suspicious. This change could mean that they are thinking about hurting themselves.
Do not fall for myths:
There are various myths regarding schizophrenia like it is incurable, people with schizophrenia are violent, the victims are lazy and uncreative, etc. Don’t fall for these myths. Schizophrenia might be hard to cure but it’s not impossible. Neither are the victims lazy and uncreative. They require help for their daily routines. Also many creative personalities like mathematician John Nash had schizophrenia. Do your research before believing anything.
Patience and support are the biggest gifts you can give to someone with schizophrenia.
— Dikshya, Kathmandu.
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