Because relapse is more likely when antipsychotic medications are discontinued or taken irregularly, it is very important that people with schizophrenia agree with their doctors and family upon a treatment and relapse prevention plan that suits them.
It is essential then to find support so that the individual can stick to the agreed plan. If taking oral medication, this involves taking the prescribed medicine at the correct dose and proper times each day, attending clinic appointments and carefully following other treatment procedures. If taking a long-acting injectable it is essential to attend appointments so that the medication is taken at the correct time.
While this can be difficult, there are strategies and therapies that can greatly improve the outcome and often lead to a better quality of life. During a relapse people can become withdrawn, have heightened senses and find that those around them are incapable of understanding what is going on. The person’s ability to distinguish between their idea of reality and other people’s might also be reduced. Quite often, people know when they are becoming ill again—but are not always able to do anything about it. Friends and relatives can often help in spotting warning signs of relapse early on. Some examples of these signs might be sleeping less, eating less, being more nervous, anxious or more 'alert', not getting up or not being able to concentrate as well as usual. If these symptoms can be dealt with early it is quite likely that the person will improve more quickly and be able to get on with their life.