Welcome! This site is designed to provide anyone affected by schizophrenia with helpful resources, information and interactive tools.

Machine Brain:
A Journey Through

The idea of watching a loved one with schizophrenia experience a relapse can be overwhelming and scary.

To learn more about relapse and how you may be able to help prevent it from happening, watch this short video and scroll down for more information.

Impact of Relapse

For someone living with schizophrenia, relapse is defined as a return or worsening of symptoms following a period of remission. This type of change can be intense and scary for both a patient and their caregivers.26

Relapse can be debilitating for all involved. Patients may suffer loss of self-esteem, as well as a disruption of work, school and social life. Families and caregivers can be further burdened, emotionally, psychologically, and financially, and healthcare resources may be further taxed.1

After each relapse:28, 32

  • Recovery may be slower and less complete
  • Regaining previous level of functioning may be more difficult
  • Illness may become more resistant to treatment
  • There may be more frequent and prolonged hospitalization
  • There may be progressive structural brain changes (neurodegeneration)
  • There may be an increased risk of suicide

Reducing the risk of relapse and recognizing the early warning signs is crucial as each relapse may result in the increase of continuing symptoms.27

If someone close to you has schizophrenia and you are concerned they are becoming unwell your action could help prevent a full-blown relapse.

The following information has been put together to help you better understand schizophrenia relapse.1

Causes of Relapse

The most common contributor to relapse is not taking medication as prescribed (known as partial or non-adherence).22

Because of the nature of schizophrenia, some people may not recognize that they need medication and may stop taking the drugs they have been prescribed.1 Other reasons why people relapse:26

  • Increased stress such as the occurrence of crisis or adverse life experiences
  • Lack of rest or sleep
  • Drinking alcohol or using street drugs

You and Your Medication Questionnaire

Take this short questionnaire to help you and your doctor (or your loved one’s doctor) understand how you (or your loved one) feels about medication.

Complete questionnaire

Warning Signs

If someone close to you has schizophrenia, you can make a difference by recognizing and responding to the early signs and symptoms of a relapse. Your understanding and action could help prevent a full-blown relapse.

Learn more about what to look for

Watch a short film about Mark,

a young man with schizophrenia, who stops taking his medication without first discussing it with his doctor.

Watch now

Looking for Answers?

If you’re worried that a family member or friend is unwell, use our short interactive decision tree to get tailored advice.

Click here to begin

Treatment Plans

Antipsychotic medications can reduce the risk of relapse and hospital visits in patients who have recovered from an acute episode of schizophrenia.22

Medication options can include a daily pill (oral) or a once every two week or monthly long-acting injectable. No matter what treatment plan is decided on, it is extremely important that the medication is taken as prescribed by the doctor.1

If the person you care for has stopped taking their medication:

Try to find out why – they may be experiencing side-effects, they may feel that they no longer need it or they may just be finding it difficult to remember when to take it

Encourage them to discuss any problems with their medication with their doctor

Remind them when they are supposed to be taking their medications

Talk to them about some of the problems they experienced before they were
on treatment

Ask their doctor about options that may make it easier for them to take their medication on schedule/as prescribed1

Talking with your loved one’s doctor about treatment choices

There are different choices for different individuals when it comes to the treatment of schizophrenia. The potential benefits of each choice have been outlined to help you and your loved one make the right decision with their doctor to help them continue their medication as prescribed.

To learn more about all treatment options, including those that may be new to you, follow the links below.

Reducing the Risk of Relapse

Patients should agree upon a treatment and relapse prevention plan that suits them together with their doctor and family.1

You can help your loved one reduce their risk of relapse by doing the following:2

Establish a support system for the individual so that they can stick to the agreed treatment plan

Ensure they take the prescribed daily pill or receive the monthly or once every 2 week injection at the proper time (known as adherence to medication)

Make sure they attend clinic appointments, and carefully follow other parts of their treatment plan

If a family member or friend has recently had a relapse they may be feeling confused and disillusioned with their treatment. Your support can be vital to helping to ensure that they continue to receive appropriate care. Here are a few resources to help.