How Families Are Affected By A Patient’s Schizophrenia

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

How Families Are Affected By A Patient’s Schizophrenia

It can be difficult to cope with a family member’s diagnosis of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia causes many alarming symptoms. These symptoms cause the patient to act in an unusual manner. It can also cause a patient to become fearful or act erratically.

Schizophrenia typically shows symptoms in early adulthood. This causes the patient to display a dramatic shift in their personality. This dramatic shift can be upsetting for a loved one to see. It can be difficult to know what to do in such an upsetting situation.

How Families Struggle With A Loved One’s Schizophrenia

Families often struggle to understand how to cope with schizophrenia in a loved one. A lot of questions come up that are not easy to answer. There are challenges with having a family member who has schizophrenia, like:

  • Understanding how to properly support with their loved one’s illness
  • Feeling confused about what caused the condition
  • Feeling anxiety about how and when their family member will have an episode
  • Knowing how to respond to their loved one’s erratic or psychotic behavior during an episode
  • Understanding how to properly support a loved one
  • Knowing how to take care of themselves while supporting a loved one with schizophrenia
  • Understanding the different types of ways that schizophrenia can affect a loved one
  • Knowing the myths of schizophrenia

It can be hard for a family member to know how to cope with the many challenges that come from having a loved one with schizophrenia. Once their loved one begins to show signs their personality changes. It is hard to find the balance between supporting their loved one and establishing boundaries to take care of themselves.

It is not uncommon for a person to feel grief about a loved one’s schizophrenia. They care deeply for their loved one, and they do not want to see them suffer or struggle. They may miss the relationship they had with their loved one. They may also grieve over what they know their loved one is going through.

Dealing with a loved one with schizophrenia can feel hopeless at times. This causes frustration and pain. It is emotionally taxing to cope with a loved one with schizophrenia. It is not uncommon to be at a loss of what to do in such a situation. Fortunately, there are resources available to learn how to cope with schizophrenia in a family member.

What To Do If You Suspect Schizophrenia Or Mental Illness In A Loved One

Be Aware Of The Warning Signs

It will be important to know the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia. The warning signs will help you identify potential symptoms if you are suspicious that your loved one may be suffering from schizophrenia. It will also help you rule out certain suspicions. This can be helpful in understanding the situation.

Consult A Professional

Before confronting your loved one about your concerns, consult a professional. A mental health professional will be able to help you understand what you are seeing. Sometimes the signs will point to schizophrenia. That does not always mean your loved one is suffering from schizophrenia. They may be suffering from something else. A mental health professional will help you understand the warning signs. They will also help you with confronting and being supportive of your loved one. This will be important while they come to terms with their condition.

Be Patient And Understanding

Your loved one is likely going through a lot of mental and emotional issues. It is scary for everyone, but especially for your loved one. It is a frustrating process to learn how to cope with treatment for this condition. Despite the frustration, it is important to remain supportive, patient, and understanding.

Do Not Take On Too Much

As someone who loves the patient, you will want to help any way you can. However, as just one person, you will not be able to do it all. Always remember to take care of yourself first. If you need a break, take a break. If you do not know how to be supportive, ask. If you are confused, frustrated, or want to know more, consider seeing a therapist for yourself.

Action Plan For Talking To Your Loved One

It can be scary to deal with suspicions of schizophrenia in a loved one, but it does help to have an action plan for addressing your concerns for them. If you feel a loved one may be suffering from schizophrenia, follow this action plan:

  1. Consult with a mental health professional. They will be able to help you develop a plan by talking to you about intervention options.
  2. Find peer support. If you noticed a change in the disposition of your loved one, it is likely others have noticed as well. Ask your trusted friends and family for some support as you learn to cope with your loved one’s struggles.
  3. Approach patiently and sensitively. Your loved one probably knows something is wrong. They may be afraid or ashamed of what they are going through. Approach the situation sensitively and create a safe and supportive space for them.

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