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Schizophrenia and Recovery

© Copyright 2012 Kurt Snyder

Most people with schizophrenia are never completely 'cured', including me. However, people with schizophrenia can realize major improvement in their ability to manage their daily lives, have productive jobs, have rewarding relationships, and reduce the stress caused by their symptoms. You can do this for yourself if you take an active, self-motivated role in managing the illness. The same applies to most illnesses.

There have been long periods of time since I was first diagnosed with schizophrenia, when I didn't have significant symptoms. But, over the last 5 years, I have had periods where significant symptoms returned. My success in dealing with the symptoms and not letting them take total control of my life has resulted from a few strategies that have worked very well for me. My tips for dealing with the symptoms of schizophrenia are outlined below.

1) Communicate regularly with your psychiatrist or counselor about your outlook on life, your personal goals, everyday stresses, and your personal relationships, whatever they may be. This is about more than simply discussing your illness with your doctor. It is important because schizophrenia patients may not realize when their symptoms are returning, but discussing their life in general will help the doctor to recognize the warning signs of returning problems.

2) Read about schizophrenia and its symptoms. Understand them. Recognize past behaviors and thought processes associated with schizophrenia, and watch for these behaviors and thought processes in yourself. If you have paranoid schizophrenia, you need to be aware of the types of paranoid thoughts that are symptoms. For example: believing that someone is following you, thinking that someone is trying to trick you, thinking that people are watching you, thinking that your food or drink is poisoned, thinking that your phone is bugged, etc. You need to remember that these are symptoms, and whenever you have these types of thoughts, you must also tell yourself that it is the disease doing the thinking for you, and these things probably are not real. The basic strategy I advise is to understand the thoughts and behaviors you have had in the past when you were significantly ill, and to actively assess your current thoughts and behaviors to see if they are being repeated. If they are, you need to alert your doctor to this fact. This applies to all symptoms of schizophrenia.

3) If you are having significant symptoms, ask your doctor what you should do to reduce any influences that may be causing the symptoms to get worse. For example, when I am paranoid, I avoid going to places like banks where they have a lot of security cameras, unless I absolutely have to go there. This is because security cameras make me feel like I am being watched. When I am feeing less paranoid, I go to the bank like anyone else would. You may need to temporarily alter your routine until your symptoms subside.

4) If you are prescribed medication, take it as prescribed and don't stop taking it when you are feeling and thinking better -- because it is the medication that makes you feel better and think better!

5) If you have supportive and understanding friends and family, talk to them about your symptoms when you are having them. Keeping your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors hidden from others enables them to grow out of control.

6) Accept your mental illness. It is an illness that is just like most other illnesses -- it is not your fault and it is not a character flaw.

7) Get and try to keep a low stress job.

8) Find things that you enjoy doing that don't harm anyone else, and do them on a regular basis. Things that give us pleasure are what make life worth living. Make occasional plans to just have fun.

9) Try to help other people, in the order that they are most important to you. Being needed makes ourselves feel important too. Don't keep a mental list of the number of times you've helped someone. Most people will be there to return the help later when you need them.

10) Talk to your doctor if you are having ANY problems. You might be surprised how the doctor can help, with advice.

11) If you don't like your psychiatrist, change to another psychiatrist.

12) Find out what free mental health services (if any) are available through your state, county and city government. Use them.

Kurt Snyder

Email me: kurt@kurtsnyder.net. Please use the subject line ’SchizoWorld Special Help’ in your email.

 

Accepting Schizophrenia      Home Page      Table of Contents      Paranoia - Its many forms

 

© Copyright 2012 Kurt Snyder