Loving Someone With Schizophrenia

February 4, 2014 Updated: April 24, 2016

Dear Kathy,

     My 19 year old nephew has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. How can I be supportive?

“Lou”

Dear Lou,

     Schizophrenia is a brain disorder which affects the way people think, feel and act. Although mental health practitioners don’t know why people develop schizophrenia, genetics and environmental factors affect this condition.

     Symptoms often begin in young adulthood (late teens or twenties). The symptoms are different for everyone and may include, but are not limited to: hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, unusual  speech patterns, movements, and/or behavior. Additional symptomology is too extensive to enumerate in this post.

     The best way to be a support person is to do some research on schizophrenia and schizophrenics. The more you know, the more you can be part of your nephew’s support system. Knowledge is power.  You can contact local mental health providers and/or visit the following websites: www.nami.org and www.mentalhealthamerica.net.  

     The good news is that medication and therapy can control symptoms and an active support system helps people with schizophrenia in their recovery efforts. Although relapses can occur, understanding that healing takes time as well as a calm, patient approach will help your nephew in his efforts to stabilize his symptoms.

All my best,

Kathy

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