Though mental health is a topic not often addressed, African-Americans are 1.5 times more likely of being schizophrenic than whites. Worse still is that a majority of the time it goes untreated.
Schizophrenia can be a debilitating mental disorder that sometimes makes it hard to live a normal life if it is not treated. Those who have schizophrenia may hear voices that other people don't, or think other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting against them. Schizophrenics might not make sense when they talk or they might sit for hours without talking or moving. Others still might seem fine until they tell what they are really thinking.
Though it’s not the cause, emotional stress, even from a family member trying to be helpful, can make it worse. For a schizophrenic’s family, coping can be really hard. Here are a few ways to cope with schizophrenia:
Learn every thing you can about schizophrenia. Education shows the person with the disease how important it is to stick to the treatment plan. It can also help friends and family understand the condition and be more patient with the person who has it.
Find a support group. While support groups for schizophrenics can help them meet others that understand what they’re going through, support groups can also be helpful for friends and family looking for ways to cope.
Set goals. Recovery from schizophrenics can be a long and constant road. It’s helpful to set small obtainable goals to help the person with schizophrenia stay motivated. Encourage them to take responsibility for their treatment and the goals you set together.
Find relaxation and stress management tools that work for the individual. Try meditation, yoga, or even tai chi to relax and relieve stress regularly to help manage outbursts.
For more information on schizophrenia visit the National Institute of Mental Health.
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