Finding strategies to help cope with schizophrenia can make living with the condition less challenging.
Living with schizophrenia can be overwhelming.
The stigmas and misconceptions surrounding the condition can make living with the condition even more difficult. But difficult doesn’t mean impossible.
There are many ways to help make living with this condition more manageable.
Figuring out the right treatment for your schizophrenia symptoms can be the key to managing the condition.
Because symptoms and responses to treatment vary from person to person, it can take trial and error to find the path that works for you.
Successful treatment of schizophrenia often involves prescription medication, according to a
Atypical antipsychotics such as clozapine (Clozaril) or aripiprazole (Abilify) are common medications used.
A psychiatrist usually prescribes these medications, so having a relationship with a professional you trust and can be candid with is important.
If you’re not feeling supported by your current doctor, it’s OK to consult with a different mental health professional.
Even if you begin feeling better, taking your medication as prescribed can help avoid a recurrence of symptoms or stop symptoms from getting worse.
If you’re thinking about stopping or reducing your medication, figuring out a plan with a doctor or mental health professional can prevent any withdrawal symptoms or other challenges.
Schizophrenia symptoms vary from person to person and can change over time. You can measure your mental health and progress by keeping a symptom log.
You can use a notebook, notes app on your phone, or whatever is most convenient.
Whenever you experience symptoms, try to note them in your log. This record will help you and your doctor recognize patterns and allow you to be proactive about addressing new or worsening symptoms.
A healthcare or mental health professional can help you manage your symptoms and make sense of your emotions.
Common types of psychotherapy used for schizophrenia include the following:
- cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- acceptance and commitment therapy
- cognitive enhancement therapy
- family or group therapy
Like many challenges in life, living with schizophrenia is easier when you have a supportive community on your side. This could be your family, friends, a support group, or online communities.
The best type of support system is the one that works for you.
Friends and loved ones
Do you have people close to you who are supportive and nonjudgmental about your diagnosis?
Having just one person to talk with who you trust can be a huge relief. If you don’t already have someone, think about the people closest to you. Whom are you comfortable talking with about this?
If you can’t think of anyone, there are other options.
Either online or in person, support groups offer a great way to meet others who share similar experiences.
Groups such as Schizophrenia Anonymous can be a great place to find support and connect with others.
Ask a healthcare or mental health professional whether they know of any support groups in your area for people with schizophrenia or similar conditions. You can also call your insurance company and ask about group therapy or other support resources.
If you can’t find support this way, you can widen your search to your local community. You can also use search engines or social media to find support groups nearby.
If you’re not comfortable attending face-to-face support groups, there are also online options that might be best for you. You can also find support through online forums and message boards.
The term “self-care” gets thrown around a lot these days, often in social media posts about bubble baths and shopping sprees.
But at its core, self-care simply means taking care of your physical and mental health. This is especially important when you have schizophrenia.
Here are some strategies you can try.
Eating a balanced diet
Schizophrenia is associated with several co-occurring medical conditions, including heart and liver diseases and diabetes.
Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats can help keep you physically healthy.
Eating well can also help treat or prevent common antipsychotic side effects such as weight gain, dehydration, and constipation.
Try to limit your alcohol consumption and abstain from using illegal substances. These can distort your thinking and perceptions, making your schizophrenia symptoms worse.
According to the
Here are a few tricks for making each glass go down easier.
- set water reminders on your phone.
- fill up enough reusable water bottles each night to last you through the next day
- add flavor enhancers or electrolyte powders to enhance the flavor
- drink caffeine-free herbal tea
- eating more fruits and veggies
When it comes to exercise, something is better than nothing.
You don’t need to run marathons or lift weights to get enough exercise. Any movement counts, including walking, dancing, or even working up a sweat by cleaning your living space.
Regular exercise can help you sleep better and reduce your chance of heart disease and high blood pressure.
You can check out the
Having recreation time for yourself can be helpful for your mental well-being. What makes you feel good? Does taking bubble baths or spending a day pampering yourself bring you joy?
Perhaps simply watching your favorite movie — again — can help boost your mood or relax you.
Regular breaks from stressful stuff such as work, school, and treatment plans can help you find balance and stability.
Try to carve out time that’s just for you and your pleasure and not about managing your schizophrenia symptoms.
Being patient with yourself
It might take awhile to find the right balance of treatments that enables you to live your best life. What works for you today might not work for you next year.
Remind yourself that managing your symptoms is a journey — not a destination.
Even when a treatment hasn’t worked as well as you’d hoped, you’ve gained valuable new information and insight into how your body and mind work.
You’re doing the work, and it will pay off!
Managing schizophrenia takes dedication and hard work.
It’s understandable to sometimes have feelings of hopelessness, especially when things are at their hardest.
Try to remind yourself that schizophrenia is just one part of what makes you you — it does not define you.
You’re not alone, and you can have a positive, fulfilling life while managing this condition.