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The Effects of Schizophrenia on the Family

Essay by   •  December 11, 2010  •  Essay  •  2,075 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,717 Views

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The Effects of Schizophrenia on the Family

First off I would like to tell you what exactly schizophrenia is. Schizophrenia is a brain disease, with concrete and specific symptoms due to physical and biochemical changes in the brain. This illness strikes young people in their prime age usually between 16 and 25. Schizophrenia is almost always treatable with medication. Contrary to what most think schizophrenia is not a "split personality", or caused by childhood trauma, bad parenting, or poverty, and not the result of any action or personal failure by the individual.(3)

Now with a little knowledge about this disease I would like to tell you about how this illness can affect a family that is exposed to it. Schizophrenia disturbs the way people think, feel and relate to others. During a lifetime, people with schizophrenia may become actively ill once or twice, or have many more episodes. For family members the first episode can be particularly upsetting if you do not know what is wrong or how to help. Knowing about this disease and acknowledging can be the first step towards feeling less isolated and freeing your energy for caring for both your relatives and yourself. It is also important to remember that schizophrenia is not cause from family pressure or parental errors. (1)

During the active stage of schizophrenia, the person may fell their mind is being bombarded from all directions by ideas, questions and commands. They may feel overwhelmed to sort out even minor problems. So during this time families need to be supportive, understanding, and try to speak in a calm, clear and straightforward manner. Using these types of methods to help the ill person can not only help calm them down but relieve them of stress. Other great things to help people with schizophrenia are listening to music, painting, watching television, and or just sitting quietly together. (1)

There are many don't also when dealing with a family member with schizophrenia, like never talk as if the ill person is not there. People with schizophrenia are usually aware of what is going on around them, even if they appear no to be listening. Usually by providing a lot of support and loving care you can help the person more than you realize. Just try to show by your attitude and behavior that there is a hope, that the disease can be managed and that life can be satisfying and productive will help in every little way.

You may also help the person with schizophrenia by starting and maintaining a record of information on such things as: symptoms that have appeared, medication taken and dosages, effects of various types of treatments. Not only will this type of thing help you learn and understand this disease more but it will help the ill person by helping them keep track of this and it shows your willingness to care for them.

Another great thing to do to help an ill family member with schizophrenia is to lean and recognize the signs of relapse. It helps to know that relapse signs often recur for individual and some of the most common are such as: increase withdrawal from activities, and deterioration of basic personal care. You should know that stress and tension makes some symptoms worse and that as the person gets older that the symptoms often diminish. So as you can tell there are many methods that family members can help out with a person that has schizophrenia and that there is always hope. (1)

As you can see there are many effects that schizophrenia has on a family. Just having knowledge that a family member has schizophrenia can take a toll on the family. The might be thoughts that this was cause by something you did as a parent or family member. Depression can set in on love ones thing that they played a part on giving this disease to the person and even guilt for it happening to some beside them.

A family goes from being a happy go lucky family to a family that has to constantly have to watch over a loved one. The family's lifestyle becomes more of a nursing lifestyle, and always on the watch for symptoms of a relapse. When this happened to a love one it doesn't just happen to that person but it in way happens to the whole family itself.

Doctor appointments are not just meant for the one with schizophrenia, but for the family has a whole. The entire family must intake in the appointment so that everyone is aware what is happening and what to expect next. Family members must learn about the medications and how to administrate them when the person is in the home. Knowing the dosage and times that the medication is to be taken not only help administrate it better but also helps the person who is ill by helping them keep it all organized.(2)

Family routines are changed greatly do the fact that person that affect by schizophrenia now need some type of structure now more than ever. Making a simple and stress less routine allows the person time to relax and have time alone each day. Family might have to have more low-key regular daily activities and less "big events" routines, the less the person has to stress over the better the person will be.(2)

By keep a house that is quiet and calm also helps the person with schizophrenia. Family members have to change talking habits and remember that chaos only make the only makes the ill person more likely to see a relapse. It generally helps to keep voices a low level and when specking with the ill person to remember to talk one person at a time and at a reasonable pace.

Family members also need to learn to be positive and supportive in everyway to the person with schizophrenia. People with schizophrenia need frequent encouragement, since self esteem is often very fragile. Be sure to express appreciation for a job even half done, because the illness undermines a person's confidence, initiative, patience, and memory. Those with schizophrenia also need this encouragement to regain some of their former skills and interests. They might want to try new things, but this should be worked up to gradually. Goals are great for those with schizophrenia, but family members must remember that nagging or complaints can result in stress and worsen symptoms. (2)

Being a role model is also a change a lot of family members have to become to the ill person. Family members and the person with schizophrenia have to anticipate the ups and downs of life and try to prepare accordingly. The ill person needs to learn to deal with stress in a socially acceptable manner and if they have someone show them how it helps out.

In the mist of all this care family members must also remember to take care of themselves. Self-care is very important to every individual and ultimately helps the entire family. You must let go of guilt and shame and remember

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