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Coping with Schizophrenia

Introduction

In the previous article, we talked about the causes and symptoms of Schizophrenia. In this article, we are going to talk about the treatment and coping skills when dealing with Schizophrenia.


Treatment

  1. Antipsychotic medication

  2. Dosages

  • Only prescribed by well-trained and qualified physicians in medical treatment

  • Individualized for each patient

  • Vary in the amount of drug needed


  1. Side effects

  • Come with the benefits

  • Drugs such as thorazine which increase the risk of extrapyramidal side effects affect movement

  • e.g restlessness, tremor, blurred vision, muscle spasms

  • Can be corrected by lowering dosage

  • Each patient has different treatment responses and side effects


  1. Atypical antipsychotics

  • Invega (paliperidone): This option is available in three different formulations—an extended-release tablet and long-acting injectables (INVEGA SUSTENNA and INVEGA TRINZA)

  • Risperdal (risperidone)

  • Abilify (aripiprazole)

  • Seroquel (quetiapine)

  • Zyprexa (olanzapine)

  • Caplyta (lumateperone)

2. Psychotherapy

  1. Individual therapy

  • Use cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)

  • Connection between thoughts and behaviours

  • Learn how negative thoughts and the world affects their decision

  • Help regulate their emotions and behaviours

  1. Family therapy

  • Key component

  • Offer space for healing

  • Inform the family about schizophrenia

  • Let family members learn more and understand

  • Face challenges together

  1. Group therapy

  • Support from peers

  • Share their experiences, feelings, challenges in a safe space with those who can empathize

  • Remove sense of isolation

  • Learn to develop and maintain relationships with peers


Social coping

  1. How others can help

  • Learn about the behaviours of schizophrenia

  • Spot important changes

  • e.g sadness, loneliness, more irritability, hallucinations, worsening memory etc.


  1. How you can help yourself

  2. Join peer support group

  • An opportunity to meet people who are facing similar situations

  • Practice social skills in a non-judgemental atmosphere


  1. Ask for feedback

  • Help improve social skills

  • Your support group wants you to feel better so they will do what they can help with


  1. Participate in social skills training

  • Through mental health services team/community groups

  • Share challenges

  • Feel less alone and isolated


  1. Consider community housing

  • Provide social and group recreational opportunities

  • Have a caring, safe and friendly environment


Emotional coping

  1. Therapy

  • Participate in therapy treatment actively

  • Give you time to learn how to identify different emotions and manage them well


  1. Finding support

  • Talk to a supportive person

  • Can be helpful by providing a sense of peace and calm after expressing emotions to others


  1. Journaling

  • A comfortable and a good alternative for when you don’t want to communicate people at that moment

  • Relieve emotions

  • Find out about behaviour


  1. Self-care

  • Sitting somewhere with greenery

  • Breathing in fresh air

  • Spending time with loved ones



Shoulds and shouldn’ts

  1. Shoulds:

  • Eat regularly and exercise to stay healthy

  • Take medications punctually

  • Be aware of personal hygiene

  • Grocery shopping


  1. Shouldn’ts

  • Wait to seek help: If your symptoms are obvious, consider talking to a doctor in order to start treatment as soon as possible.

  • Skip treatments: can have negative impact if you suddenly stop your treatment, very important to be consistent

  • Keep it to yourself and feel insecure about it: schizophrenia does not define you and there's no need to feel ashamed of it. Schizophrenia is complex and by receiving proper treatment, you will eventually be able to cope with it.



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