10 Things to Know About Paranoid Schizophrenia
Affecting over 1 percent of the population, schizophrenia is a mental disorder that can cause stress and anxiety for everyone involved. Whether you’re suffering from it yourself, or your loved one is dealing with the disease, it’s important to know a few things when treating schizophrenia. Creating a support system with doctors and therapists can allow you or your loved one to live a happy life.
What You Should Know about Paranoid Schizophrenia
1. Understand it's Not Their Fault
It’s important to remember that your elder is having an even harder time dealing with their Paranoid Schizophrenia than you are. Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that distorts the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, relates to others and perceives reality. In other words, they have no control over the disease unless it is medicated. Unfortunately, it’s not something they can just choose not to do. Understanding their struggle and learning how to become a good support system is essential.
2. Understand it's Not Your Fault
It’s also important to know that it’s not your fault either. Dealing with a family member with Paranoid Schizophrenia can become exhausting. Know that supporting your loved one means the world to them, even if they aren’t able to express that. Show empathy and compassion towards them and understand that they depend on you. Don't buy into the myth that they can’t get better. With proper support and treatment, many dealing with the disorder live a relatively normal life.
3. It Comes in Waves
Paranoid Schizophrenia is not always something that will appear constant. Your loved one might seem withdrawn or anti-social. However, when at its height, it can lead to paranoia, delusions, and catatonia. It’s important to be prepared when your loved one’s schizophrenia reaches its height.
4. Plan Ahead
Preparation is key when dealing with Paranoid Schizophrenia. Having a plan in place when dealing with an outburst or relapse can create a safer environment for both you and your loved one. Make sure to have emergency contact numbers for your preferred hospital and therapist. A particularly intense outburst could put both you and your loved one in danger, so it may be necessary to admit them to a psychiatric hospital. It’s also important to have a family member or neighbor on hand to take care of children if a hospital stay is necessary.
5. Schizophrenia is More Common Than You Think
Many assume that schizophrenia is a rare disease that only occurs once in a blue moon. Actually, 1 in about every 100 people deals with the mental disorder, so it’s important to know that you and your loved one are not alone. It can also develop at any point in life. Oftentimes, symptoms will begin to emerge later in life, so it’s important to be aware of changes in your senior.
6. Medication is Important
Once schizophrenia is diagnosed, it’s important to implement a regimented medication routine. Antipsychotic medications like Haldol and Loxapine will help relieve symptoms like hallucinations and delusions. Some side effects will occur like sluggishness and a “hazy” feeling. Your doctor may alter the dosage of the medication based on its success after a month or two. It’s important to take side effects seriously; many patients will stop taking their medication because of the side effects. It’s also important not to mix any dangerous concoctions, like alcohol or hard amphetamines.
7. Medication is Not Everything
While medication plays a vital role in treating Paranoid Schizophrenia, it’s important to incorporate therapy as well. One way a therapist will help is to allow your loved one to discover coping mechanisms when they feel like an episode is about to occur. Breathing techniques, as well as critical thinking, are just a few tactics you or your loved one will learn during therapy. Another side of therapy will be teaching your loved one how to be independent. This will not only boost their confidence, but it will ease the burden of having to tend to their every need. It’s important for you, your loved one, and his or her therapist to work together to create a strong support system.
8. Violence Usually isn't an Issue
Many associate schizophrenia with wild outbursts of delusional rage. However, they often become withdrawn and antisocial. It’s important to be aware that some cases of schizophrenia do in fact cause violent outbursts. This is why it’s important to have a crisis emergency plan in place to better handle the situation.
9. Beware of Substance Abuse
About 50% of those suffering from schizophrenia also will have a problem with substance or medication abuse. Some will opt for drugs or alcohol, thinking they can treat the symptoms of schizophrenia that way. Others will actually turn to substance abuse to combat the side effects that occur from their medication. Either way, it’s important to be on the lookout for changes in behavior or a dependency on drugs or alcohol.
10. Seek Support Groups
It’s important to know that you’re not alone when fighting this battle. There are a variety of both online and offline support groups for those with a loved one that has schizophrenia. These groups can be therapeutic and can ease the burden by discovering that you’re not alone.