How does it feel to receive a schizophrenia diagnosis? For some, it’s a relief to know that now a treatment plan can begin to take shape. Others may wonder how they can maintain a desirable quality of life while living with a mental health condition.
It’s possible to live well with schizophrenia. With support from mental health professionals, medication, and adherence to a treatment plan, a person with this condition can maintain the lifestyle they desire.
What Is Schizophrenia?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, schizophrenia:
- Is a chronic disorder affecting the brain
- Occurs in less than one percent of the US population
- Includes key symptoms of delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and difficulty with reasoning and motivation
There are misconceptions about schizophrenia. Some people wrongly think that the condition causes multiple personalities or frequently violent and dangerous behavior.
In reality, the majority of people living with schizophrenia have normal lives. However, a lack of treatment and resources can impact a person’s ability to thrive while managing schizophrenia symptoms.
Living Well With Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia treatment typically involves a variety of methods that bolster all dimensions of a person’s well-being.
Following a medical diagnosis of schizophrenia, recommended therapies may include:
- Group therapies, such as support groups, family therapy, and group psychotherapy
- Individual therapies, such as rehabilitation treatment, psychoeducation, talk therapy, and behavioral therapy
Medication can reduce or eliminate some schizophrenia symptoms. Commonly-used medications include antipsychotic and anti-tremor prescriptions.
Adjusting to a “New Normal” With Schizophrenia
Your life will change after you receive a mental health diagnosis—hopefully, for the better.
These strategies are proven keys to success for individuals living with schizophrenia.
Honor Your Treatment Plan
Ongoing commitment to your treatment plan is critical. Always do the following:
- Attend all of your scheduled appointments with doctors and therapists
- Stick to your doctor’s prescribed medication schedule
- Share your treatment schedule with a friend or family member and ask them to help you stay accountable
Avoid Mind-Altering Substances
Mind-altering substances, such as marijuana, can exacerbate some symptoms of schizophrenia. Hallucinations and delusions may grow stronger, and the ability to think clearly may become more impaired.
Eat a Healthy Diet and Exercise
Eat healthy meals and take care of your physical body through exercise. You’ll feel the benefits to your physical as well as mental health.
The following lifestyle choices should be included in your treatment goals:
- Create a fitness plan that involves working out several times each week
- Stick to a healthy diet that includes recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables
- Get around eight hours of sleep every night
Continue to Engage Socially
Sometimes, mental illness symptoms result in social isolation. Perhaps feelings of paranoia or other challenges make it harder to be around people.
While staying socially active may take some effort, life is better when it’s full of positive human interactions. Continue to engage with friends, family, and social activities to prevent isolation from worsening your symptoms.
Practice Mindfulness and Coping Techniques
Stress can trigger schizophrenia symptoms. Practice mindfulness and stress reduction techniques during difficult moments. Therapists and other treatment professionals can teach you helpful techniques.
Ask Someone You Trust to Check in With You
Ask a trusted and reliable friend or family member to check in with you on a regular basis to see how you’re feeling.
Sometimes, you may not realize that symptoms are setting in, but your check-in partner might notice changes more quickly. If an emergency intervention is necessary, your trusted loved one can help you manage the decisions and steps.
Disclosing Your Diagnosis to Your Employer
If you’re able to work, you don’t have to disclose your schizophrenia diagnosis to your employer. It’s completely your decision.
If you’re not sure what to tell your employer, you might appreciate input from your doctor, therapist, and loved ones to help you decide what information you want to disclose or keep private.
Get Help and Live Well With Schizophrenia
Compassion Behavioral Health is a mental health and substance abuse treatment center. We’re located in the City of Hollywood in South Florida, where we serve a national client base.
Receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia or another mental health condition isn’t easy. We can help.
For more information, call us at (844)-999-0874. We take calls 24 hours/day, seven days/week and all calls are 100% confidential.