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How To Be Independent With Schizophrenia

Jul 26, 2008
When people suffer from schizophrenia mean the condition where a person may find it difficult to differentiate what is real and what is not. It is a mental disorder that causes the patient to suffer from auditory hallucinations (i.e. hearing voices), paranoid or bizarre delusions, and disorganized speech and thinking. Most of the time, a person who suffer from schizophrenia is likely to suffer from clinical depression and anxiety disorders as well, that can result in social withdrawal.

However, schizophrenia can be cured. There are cases where people recover from their illnesses and got back to living a normal life. As long as there is self-motivation, support from family and friends, and help from professionals, then curing schizophrenia is not impossible. During the first stages of schizophrenia where the patient is not aware of his problems or does not have the capacity to help himself, support from his loved ones is perhaps the most important thing to help him get back on his feet. However, after a while, he should try and seek independence so that he can recover and return to his normal life. After all, although it is their responsibility to take care of an ill family member, his relatives do have their own lives.

There are a few things that people who suffer from schizophrenia can do to be independent. Below is a list of things that should be kept in mind if one desires to help himself cope with the disorder.

1. Self-education
If one wishes to cope with schizophrenia, first he has to learn about the disorder. He should know what the disorder is, what causes it, what its symptoms are and how to cope with it. The more he knows about schizophrenia, the better his chances are to deal with it as he could make better decisions should he be faced with problems.

2. Self-awareness
Once he has learnt all there is to know about schizophrenia, then the next thing he should do is to be aware. He should recognize early signs such as:
* Not bothering to look after himself (i.e. not eating, not cleaning or cooking, not changing clothes)
* Feeling anxious and not sleeping
* Feeling fearful and a bit suspicious, worrying of other people's motives
* Having difficulties concentrating
* Hearing voices quietly or occasionally

Recognizing the signs early mean that there is more time do something about them, thus lessening the chance for schizophrenia to strike again.

3. Self-control
Aside from self-awareness, one should always be able to control himself. He should avoid things that could make his illness worse --things like drinking too much alcohol, taking drugs, and getting into stressful situations such as spending too much time with people. He should also always look after his body; he should eat well, sleep well, exercise regularly, and take his medications so that he stays at the top of his game.

Finding things to busy himself with is also a good idea to control voices. He should find the things he loves to do or spend some time with friends and family. Drowning out voices can be done by watching TV or listening to the radio. Joining a self-help group of people with similar experiences is also a good option as it can help reduce stress and overcome the difficulties and symptoms of schizophrenia.

Getting help from friends and family members is also important as sometimes one may not always be at his best to help himself. One should tell them about the signs of schizophrenia and ask them to remind him if he starts to display them.
About the Author
Ronen David is the chairman of "Malam" (an Israeli organization supporting and representing those dealing with mental disabilities). He is the author of the "How to Cope With Psychosis & Schizophrenia Self Help Handbook".
Visit his web site and learn Dealing With Schizophrenia
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