Munson Health
 
Lifestyle Changes to Manage Schizophrenia

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by Scholten A
 
A number of changes can take place in the life of an individual and his family who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. It is important that a person with schizophrenia has a support system to help manage the necessary lifestyle changes. A healthy support system is an essential component to any successful treatment plan. The support system may come from a variety of sources, including family, doctors, residential supervisors, day program providers, friends, roommates, clergy, other religious affiliations, among others. It is vital that whoever is providing the primary support seek and utilize as many additional resources as possible.
Here are some tips on helping a person with schizophrenia make some adjustments and necessary lifestyle changes:
 

Recognize the Need for Help

People with schizophrenia may need help from people in their family or community in many situations. Often, a person with schizophrenia will resist psychiatric treatment, believing that the symptoms experienced (such as psychotic delusions or hallucinations) are real. At times, family or friends may need to take an active role in having the person seen and evaluated by a professional, although this can often be a difficult and frustrating experience
Balancing an individual’s need for treatment against his will, without violating his civil rights, can create difficult ethical dilemmas for family, friends, and doctors. The laws concerning involuntary commitment vary widely from state to state. In general, when people are considered dangerous to themselves or others as the result of a mental disorder, the police can assist in obtaining an emergency psychiatric evaluation and, if necessary, in-patient psychiatric hospitalization. In some places, staff from a local community mental health center can evaluate a person's illness at home if he will not voluntarily go in for treatment.
Sometimes only the family or others close to the person with schizophrenia will be aware of strange behavior or other symptoms. People with schizophrenia often do not fully disclose such information during an examination. Family members or friends should ask to speak with the person evaluating the patient so that all relevant information can be considered when deciding on a treatment plan.
 

References


Moore DP, Jefferson JW. Handbook of Medical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2004.


National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov.


Schizophrenia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated August 4, 2010. Accessed September 6, 2010.


Stern TA, et al. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2008.


Weickert TW, Goldberg TE. First- and second-generation antipsychotic medication and cognitive processing in schizophrenia. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2005;7:304-310.


Wolf DH. Anhedonia in schizophrenia. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2006;8:322-328.

 

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