As a family member or close friend, you may help take care
of your loved one who has
schizophrenia. You can help your loved one stay in
treatment, take his or her medicines, and prevent symptoms from coming back
Along the way, be sure to take care of yourself too. It can be
hard to watch a family member?who in the past was happily planning for the future?develop symptoms of confusion and paranoia. Family members may need to seek support or treatment to help them cope with the
demands of the illness and the loss they may feel.
Tips for family members and friends
Accept that schizophrenia is a long-term
problem. People who do this usually adjust better to helping their loved
in touch with your loved one's doctor, therapist, or counselor about how things
Keep your emotions in
check. Too much emotion can make recovery harder, because it can be very
stressful to your loved one. Try not to be critical, over-involved, or
mean. Don't blame your loved one for his or her behavior.
Be calm and soothing when your loved one has severe symptoms. Call the person
quietly by name, or ask the person to tell you what he or she is experiencing.
Don't argue or tell him or her that
the voices aren't real. Call for help if you think the situation could become
with your family member's health care team and teachers and with other members of your
community when needed.
Make a plan with all family members about how to
take care of your loved one during times of relapse.
Caring for the family
You can help yourself and your family best when
Take care of yourself. Continue to stay involved with your own
interests, such as your career, hobbies, personal interests, and friends. Use
techniques such as exercise, positive self-talk, relaxation, and deep breathing
exercises to help manage your stress.
Allow yourself time to grieve.
Since schizophrenia often develops during the late teen and young adult years,
it may mean the loss of dreams you had for your family member. If the symptoms
are severe, you may feel that you have lost your loved one. You may need to deal
with negative emotions such as anger, fear, and frustration. After you work
through your feelings, you will be better able to care for yourself and your
Manage your fears and concerns and those of
other family members. Sometimes parents try to protect their children from
knowing that someone in the family has a disease like schizophrenia. But it's
important to include children in the discussions of the needs of a family
member with this disease. If children aren't included, they may develop
unrealistic fears and concerns.
Seek counseling if needed. Consider family therapy. Family therapy might help prevent relapse and teach you and your loved one to work
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.