Friends & family

Schizophrenia can dramatically change the lives of both patients and those who are close to them or involved in their care.

For those involved in the care of someone with schizophrenia, it may be hard to deal with the psychotic episodes and the positive and negative symptoms that the patient experiences. Caring for a close friend or relative who has schizophrenia can be a full-time job. This makes it very hard to combine their care with care for other family members and a career. Caregivers may also experience overwhelming feelings of loss and sadness that can disrupt their family, social or work activities.

Support

Family members are very important for people with schizophrenia because of the financial, emotional and social support they can provide. This can be in the form of practical help with domestic activities such as cleaning, cooking and personal hygiene, accompanying them to see the doctor or motivating them to continue with their medication as prescribed. By sticking to the medication and visiting the doctor on a regular basis, it is possible to control many of the psychotic symptoms and this may enable the patient to get on with their normal daily life.

Living in a family

Patients with schizophrenia who have family support often obtain better life skills (functioning) than those who are isolated. Even those who live by themselves will still need the support of family and friends. A stable environment can help patients maintain treatment and keep in close and continuous contact with their doctor and healthcare team.1