Most of you might not know of John Forbes Nash Jr., the most iconic mathematician who suffered from schizophrenia. The genius and his struggles with schizophrenia inspired a few to share his story through books and films. Nash believed that the only thing greater than the power of the mind is the courage of the heart. After all, that is what made it possible for him to face his troubles and successfully tackle the mental illness that almost cost him his career and life. Schizophrenia treatment is not all about medication, it has more to do with the patient’s attitude toward it and willingness to self-help.
When we talk about treating schizophrenia, the most important aspect is the awareness of the illness. The patient needs to be aware of their disorder as it is required for their cooperation. Along with self-help, family support is vital as the patient will need a morale boost throughout the treatment.
An important factor to know about schizophrenia is that it cannot be fully cured, but the treatment measures certainly treat the symptoms and keep the illness in control. Treatment and support for curbing schizophrenia symptoms should begin as soon as the illness is diagnosed. For early diagnosis, one must know the symptoms to identify them.
Symptoms of schizophrenia
People with schizophrenia isolate themselves and spend most of their time alone. They also showcase aggressive, hostile, and compulsive behavior.
They tend to see things and hear sounds that don’t really exist. In other words, they tend to hallucinate often. Other cognitive symptoms include mental confusion, slowness, memory loss, and even false belief of superiority.
They often face extreme mood swings like apathy, anxiety, elevated mood, or inappropriate emotional response.
There are plenty of other symptoms of this illness that one can read about on the web to help someone they might know who is suffering from it.
Moving on to treatments, schizophrenia treatments are lifelong even when the symptoms have reduced. It is an illness that cannot be treated fully. However, as mentioned earlier, the best result of schizophrenia treatment is possible when it is coupled with self-care and family support.
Treatments for schizophrenia
Getting involved in the treatment and helping oneself is the most effective way to approach schizophrenia treatment. Self-care or self-help is all about accepting oneself with the illness and not taking it negatively. Family members can make their loved one who is suffering from the illness understand that it is neither a crime nor their fault and can be treated with the right approach.
Once the patient accepts the illness in a positive manner, they can start taking self-care actions that involve joining support groups, changing diet and moving to a rather healthier lifestyle.
This is an essential part of self-care as well. Staying active has several physical and mental benefits and regular exercising is one of the best ways to manage symptoms of schizophrenia. As sleepless nights is one of the symptoms of schizophrenia, daily physical activities can help the patients sleep better.
Understand that being active doesn’t require the patient to be a fitness junkie, instead, all they need to do is go for a walk or a run daily, cycle, or practice guided yoga every single day.
Seek therapy and psychosocial treatments
Along with medication, psychotherapy and psychosocial treatments provide significant improvement in the patient. Psychotherapy includes cognitive behavioral therapy, supportive psychotherapy, and cognitive enhancement therapy. These therapies help develop coping abilities and strategies in people facing schizophrenia. They also help the patient to recollect any possible childhood traumatic experiences that could have invoked the illness.
The psychosocial treatments are great for improving mental stability and compensate for barriers that are caused by schizophrenia symptoms.
One-on-one therapy or support groups where the patient meets others who are going through the same and share their coping stories can be inspiring and motivating. People facing schizophrenia tend to get stressed out about their illness and feel lonely and scared, but meeting other people who are going through the same can make them feel less alone.
Dealing with schizophrenic symptoms on a daily basis can be draining for the patients, which can increase stress. This raises the importance of taking actions to handle stress well because increased stress can lead to excess production of cortisol hormone, which can trigger psychotic episodes.
Exercising every day is helpful and a great way to decrease stress levels. Patients should also know their limits and not take too much load at work or school to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Trying several relaxation techniques like mindfulness, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation can help with reducing stress and striking the state of balanced mind and body.
Understanding the role and importance of medication
Medication is just one component of schizophrenia and not the only form of treatment. Medication is a vital component and should, therefore, be taken sincerely as it treats some symptoms of the illness. Most medication is antipsychotic and reduces hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking, and paranoia.