Once the treatment starts, the patient gets better, gradually starts to think precisely and the distorted beliefs will go slowly. About 1 in 4 people with schizophrenia have complete remission and stay well for long years.
Many take a longer time to respond to the treatment depending on their condition. Most will recover from acute illness and get back to normal, but still have chances to get relapses. The illness can be controlled with family’s support along with the treatment.
MANAGING THE ILLNESS BETTER
Unlike other physical illness, schizophrenia cannot be cured with just a few tablets. It requires an effective treatment along with family’s care and support. And it is a long process with different treatment methods, and the result progresses gradually with time.
Family members can understand the condition of the patient better. They need to learn the coping strategies to handle the patient’s behaviour, motivating them to get socialized, to take good care of them, boosting up their self-confidence and self-esteem. People with schizophrenia should not be felt ignored or isolated and that is completely in the hands of their caregivers and other family members.
The medicines help to restore the chemical imbalances in the brain and reduce the symptoms. It takes almost 2 weeks to notice the changes. Sometimes injections are also needed to take once in 2-4 weeks.
Few may feel that they are sleeping the whole day being drowsy and lazy to work due to medicines. In that case, you can consult with your community health worker or ask the doctor for any alternative. Ask them if they can reduce the dosage or try taking the medicines a little sooner before the bedtime to avoid waking up late in the morning.
People with schizophrenia do have memory disturbances and find it difficult to concentrate on their work. They find hard to gain attention on single task. To avoid this problem, they can focus on one thing at a time. For instance, if they are working on something, try avoiding the distraction and limit the background noises if possible. They can take breaks in between and relax that may help them to pay more attention.
They need to spend some time for themselves for hobbies like painting, reading, listening to music, or any game which they like the most. People with schizophrenia are not normal like other people and so they need some extra time to complete their work than usual. They should be encouraged to participate in activities. People who have a poor memory like forgetting to do a task, can keep reminders or write on sticky notes. If this becomes a habit, gradually they’ll learn to remember things better.
They should be taught about the daily routines like going to bed early and waking up soon, take bath on time and change their clothes daily. A schedule can be made and followed till they make it as their habit and they no longer need any assistance. Teach them exercise and yoga to keep their mind calm and fit.
People who consume alcohol are at a higher risk. Tobacco is another risk factor for the condition. There are so many health risk factors associated with tobacco and alcohol usage. People may start using it for relaxation in the beginning but later it becomes a habit. Tobacco has a high content of nicotine and it may develop heart disease, breathlessness, and can cause cancer too.
MANAGING DIET AND WEIGHT
During the time of treatment, while taking pills, people may gain some weight due to sleeping and less physical activity. This may bring some kind of stress to them. So they should maintain a balanced diet and follow some physical exercises. Regular exercise and proper diet will help a person to stay fit and healthy. Diet should contain whole grains and greens. Try to avoid junk food, deep fried food and food which are high in calories like desserts. Adding more fruits can be a good option. Eating limited food at regular intervals is considered healthy. Going for a walk early in the morning helps to maintain a healthy body weight.
People with psychotic disorders often have fluctuations in their illness. At times they may feel absolutely fine and other times they may show all the symptoms and go back to the sick stage. This is called “relapse”. This can last for a few weeks, few months or a few years, depending on the person’s environment, situations, or the people they mingle with.
During this time, the severity of problems may increase, they may be hospitalized for more days, and dosage of tablets can be increased. So extra care is needed at this time. By giving a moral and emotional support, friends and family members can help to prevent the relapses to an extent. They need to give attention to warning signs also.
The patient should be under the observation all the time. If any of the early signs are noted, attenders should immediately contact their health specialists and fix an appointment immediately.