Schizophrenia Mental Health First Aid – Part 2
How can an individual’s schizophrenia may affect others?
Not only will schizophrenia affect the individual life it may also affect others around them. It will affect others, but mainly family and friends, even though friends and family will have the persons best interest at heart they may become frustrated after a period of time if the individual has not made any progress.
Some examples could be;
- Sometimes family or friends may not be able to cope with the individual suffering schizophrenia due to the slow recovery time. This can become very frustrating for the family. The individual may be suspicious or aggressive to family and friends and they may feel they cannot offer the support for this condition, in some cases they may wish to cut ties with the person.
- As previously mentioned, a person suffering with schizophrenia has delusions and hallucinations bringing a huge dysfunction to their normal daily routine, such as hygiene, eating, and exercise. This again can cause frustration and anger after time from friends and family.
- Schizophrenia suffers will depend on alcohol and drugs to take away any self-relieve. This will affect the family by watching the person worsen and even develop further mental health issues such as paranoia
Medical interventions for schizophrenia are to help reduce they illness or even reduce the possibility of a relapse.
Some examples of possible interventions for an individual suffering from schizophrenia would be:
Antipsychotic medication is a prescription drug, but it will not cure schizophrenia. It can however, help relieve the symptoms of schizophrenia such as delusions and hallucinations.
Individuals who suffer with schizophrenia illness are mostly treated by specialist GP’s or mental health nurses as out patients. However, people who suffer with severe schizophrenia illnesses or those who may talk about self-harm or suicide will need specialist treatment in hospitals to help them recover and be kept under special observation
This form of treatment was once known as electroshock therapy. This is mainly given under a general anaesthesia where seizures are electrically induced into the individual to help them with some relief from mental disorders
Psychological Treatment can help with the behavioural, psychological, social and emotional problems with this condition, thought therapy would allow an individual to control their symptoms and realise the early warning signs and put an action plan in place to stop any relapse.
These types of therapy can include;
- Training sessions of rehabilitation that will help the individual to improve confidence and social skills in order to help them live more independently and not rely on friends and family on a day to day basis
- Individual psychotherapy activities to help build self-esteem and allow the person to understand their illness in a less stressful environment
- Support group therapy – this will give ongoing support to the individual or more important to discuss with other sufferers just how they are feeling at times
- Family support therapy will allow the whole family, as well as the person suffering with schizophrenia illnesses to understand more and be able to deal better with any situation they may encounter
How can an individual with schizophrenia can help manage their own illness?
Following on from Medical interventions and treatment for schizophrenia an individual can also help to manage their own illness. This self-help can be managed in a few different ways for example;
By attending self-help groups, this would provide an opportunity for individuals moving forward to share experiences best practice and different ways of dealing with the illness, the groups will also help better understand the condition and other advice and support out there.
Avoid unnecessary stress
A person could also avoid undue stress where possible, if a person is working long hours at work then they could reduce this time by speaking with their line manager or employer. The equality act 2010 makes “reasonable adjustments” to facilitate the employment of a disabled person, this includes individuals diagnosed with a mental health illness
General good health
A Healthy life still is so important for self-help with an individual who is diagnosed with schizophrenia illness, especially if they are antipsychotic medication as this could cause high risk to the persons physical health. Nutrition and a healthy balanced diet are essential and it’s also advised for a more day to day healthy life style too, this could include; taken regular exercise such as walking, jogging, biking, swimming etc.. along with having a regular sleep pattern and avoiding doing stressful jobs or activities.
How can others help an individual with schizophrenia to manage their illness?
There are many different ways in which other people can help someone diagnosed with the illness schizophrenia. First and foremost, family and friends can have a pivotal role in helping an individual manage their condition.
People with schizophrenia need to feel loved and wanted and really need and benefit talking to someone so they can discuss their feeling and thoughts.
Here are some ways that friends, family and others can help someone with schizophrenia illness;
Know more about the schizophrenia illness.
People can conduct in-depth research in order to find out more about the illness and by knowing more about the illness, this will allow them to emphasis with the individual and notice any possible triggers. For example, it can be very difficult to understand and act if the person is disagreeing with you on something they believe in which is not actually true. So by understanding the illness and symptoms, will become more beneficial to focus on how the person is actually feeling instead of what they are actually experiencing
By understanding the illness more will also help to put planning in place and looking at different way in dealing with it.
They could offer practical support such as helping them find accommodation or taking them to therapy groups if they lack the transport or if there are any barriers.
Schizophrenia Mental Health First Aid
Keep a diary
It is very useful to keep a record of the person who has the illness and log everything down. This can include, any types of symptoms, old or new, any medication that the person is or had taken and if there have been any side effects from the types of mediation. By keeping this type of diary will help friends and family to look out for the various signs in the future.
Join support groups
Friends and family can play a major role in encouraging the person to attend and join support groups. This will help the individual talk to others who suffer with schizophrenia and share experiences and best practice on how they cope with different symptoms
Continued offer of help and support
Also let the person know you are there for them anytime of the day or night. This will help them feeling wanted and loved and can help reduce any stress levels. By offering strong emotional support will be huge for a person with schizophrenia, friends and family could also encourage the person to continue with their treatment and offer encouragement.
Provide emergency help
This is a vital part in the ways in which others can help the individual with schizophrenia. For example, we discussed earlier that a person who suffers from severe schizophrenia may have self-harm or suicidal thoughts. If this is the case then friend and family need to act fast and get the immediate help in order to get the person safe and the appropriate treatment
What resources are available to an individual experiencing schizophrenia?
Local resources would be GP’s
A GP is normally the first port of call – they can offer advice, make referrals and prescribe any appropriate medication.
The GP’s will also put in place the next stages for the person such as, mental health assessment, a care plan, appoint a social worker to work on a day to day basis with the person and monitor and review the person on a regular basis
What they offer
Medication that is prescribed could be a therapy in order to help control symptoms.
Community mental health teams
The community mental health team provide the day to day support for the individual and any treatment in order for them to make sure the person has as much independence as they can.
Other treatments and services involved could include taking therapy, counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy which will work with the individual to self-control their condition. An independent social worker can also be appointed
Schizophrenia Mental Health First Aid