Most of the time, the family members of Schizophrenic patients do not provide the needed support for the person. But it is really very essential to build a solid support network within the family, healthcare providers and other people concerned with the affected person. Friends and family members can play a vital role in reconstructing the lost world for the patient. They can aid in setting realistic goals and boosting the ability of the patients in the normal world.
The support for people affected with any mental disorder is especially needed from
• Family members
• Shelter operators
• Healthcare providers
• Professional case managers
• All those in the community related to the person
People affected with schizophrenia needs constant help to get on their daily activities. The schizophrenic patients may even resist the treatment with the belief that their hallucinations and delusions are in fact real and hence do not seek professional help. But in the case of a crisis, it is the family members and friends who need to take the correct action in order to safeguard their loved one.
There are some issues arising from civil rights to prevent the treatment. There are certain strict laws which protect the patients from involuntary commitment and hence aiding a person who is mentally sick is a frustrating job. These laws differ depending on the states.
In case that the affected person turns out to be violent to himself or his family members owing to his illness and also refuses to get treated. Sometimes his well-wishers are free to report to the police for the transport of the affected person to the emergency ward or the hospital when he is unwilling to do so. Later a professional healthcare provider reviews the condition of the person and determines if he requires voluntary or involuntary admission.
Some affected people attempt to hide their illness in fear for the treatment. So it is essential for the family and friends to explain the situation to the professional before examining the patient and the happenings at home must be detailed in specific. This will help the doctor in inquiring the patient regarding the situations at home and understand the patient better. The healthcare professionals should witness the unusual behavior and clearly listen to the delusional thoughts of the patient personally before they can prescribe any medications legally.
The professional must also make sure that the patient is under treatment in the correct manner even after his exit from the hospital. This is an important step since the psychotic symptoms tend to reappear when the medications are stopped or quitted by the patient without professional advice. In the worst cases, the affected person can
• Lose the ability to look after him even the basic needs.
• Ignore personal hygiene.
• Result being violent to all people ending up in the streets or the jail.
Family and friends hence need to be very careful in dealing with such people, so that the worst symptoms do not occur. They need to help the patient to recover step by step until the person is able to lead a normal life like others. They must create the supportive feeling that the patient desires or crave for. They must guide and encourage the person constantly to progress in life.
When the patient reports of hallucinations and delusions, the support member must respond calmly that things are seen by various individuals in a different manner and each one has their own right to see their way. Hence the members must be supportive, respectful, patient, and kind and respond calmly to the person in order to avoid any violent behavior of the affected individual.
Research on Schizophrenic Patients
Schizophrenia is often found to be associated with many other effects like substance and drug abuse, smoking, suicide, violence, etc. Schizophrenic people tend to shift towards substance and drug abuse frequently than the normal population.
Again people abusing drugs show very similar symptoms like schizophrenic people. People consuming high doses of drugs are often misdiagnosed to develop schizophrenia. Substance abuse can lower the effect of the treatment for schizophrenia. Drugs like amphetamines or cocaine, marijuana, and PCP can worsen the schizophrenic symptoms. Besides substance abuse forces the patients to stop the treatment plan and resort to drug abuse alone.
The most common type of substance abuse in schizophrenic people is a craving for nicotine. Studies have proved that schizophrenic patients addict to nicotine 3 times more likely than the normal population (75-90% in schizophrenic patients as compared to 25-30% normal people). Research has made it clear that nicotine is found to interfere with the mechanism of action of antipsychotic drugs and hence people who abuse nicotine must take higher doses of medication than normal.
Smoking has also been found to be connected to schizophrenia but the actual relationship seems to be complex to be determined. Schizophrenic people are driven to smoking as per studies and scientists are yet to investigate if there exists a biological basis. It is extremely difficult for schizophrenic people to quit smoking because the withdrawal of nicotine can lead to the worsening of psychotic symptoms temporarily.
There are some strategies including nicotine replacement methods to quit smoking for better tolerance. The doctors treating schizophrenic patients must take care and monitor the patient’s reaction to antipsychotic drugs especially when the patient decides to stop smoking.
Schizophrenic patients sometimes resort to suicide owing to their unusual thought processes. The number of suicides attempted can occur very frequently in schizophrenic patients than normal people. Nearly 10% of the attempted people succeed. It is really tough to foretell which schizophrenic patient may attempt suicide and when he does. Hence it is extremely important to obtain professional help immediately when schizophrenic people seem to talk something related to suicide.
All schizophrenic people are not prone to violence. In fact, they prefer to stay alone most of the times. Research suggests that people with no criminal record of violence prior to the development of schizophrenia will never resort to substance abuse and very unlikely to commit any crimes even after the development of the disorder.
The most brutal crimes are not committed by schizophrenic people. But substance or drug abuse can increase the violent behavior of the patient irrespective of the development of the schizophrenic disorder. When a person affected by paranoid schizophrenia turns out violent, this violence is frequently directed towards his/her family members at home.