An expert answers questions about schizophrenia
Mental health is more important than ever. Stress, anxiety and depression can be caused by anything and can leave people feeling paralyzed.
While mindfulness, therapy and counseling can help, what about more serious mental health diseases like schizophrenia?
Like other serious mental health diseases, schizophrenia affects every aspect of a person’s life. It can have a crushing effect on those who have it, as well as their family members and caregivers.
Dr. Russell Temme, chief medical officer of Aurora Psychiatric Hospital, shares the signs of schizophrenia and tips for those battling it together.
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness where people may feel like they have lost touch with reality. Of course, this makes a major impact on themselves, their family and their friends. Sufferers may hallucinate and become delusional, making everyday tasks difficult to impossible to perform.
What causes schizophrenia?
The causes of schizophrenia are complex and are not fully understood. Researchers believe that a combination of genetics, brain chemistry and environment contribute to development of the disorder.
Is schizophrenia hereditary?
One important fact is that developing schizophrenia does not have to be hereditary. Some people who develop the disorder have no history of it in their family. Environment plays a huge factor as well that can influence the genes. Schizophrenia sometimes runs in families. But, just because someone in a family has schizophrenia, it does not mean that other members of the family will have it as well.
How is schizophrenia treated?
Effective treatments are available that can help affected individuals to engage in school or work, achieve independence, and enjoy personal relationships. Encourage them to schedule regular doctor appointments, remind them to take their medications, get good sleep, maintain a healthy diet, watch their weight, help them avoid alcohol and illicit drugs, and help them maintain their social skills.
How can family, friends and support teams approach the disorder in a healthy way?
Keep reminding those suffering from schizophrenia that they have a role as a member in the family and community. Also, you need to prevent caregiver burnout by having as many family members, extended family and friends sharing the load and giving each other a break. The family should get involved in a psychoeducation program to learn as much as possible about the illness and how to be a good support system to their loved ones. The family can find a support group for friends and family members of loved ones with schizophrenia and care for their mental health needs as well.
Learn more about the behavioral health resources and programs Advocate Aurora Health offers here.
About the Author
Matt Queen, health enews contributor, is a communication coordinator at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. He is a former TV sports anchor and journalist with extensive public relations experience across the health care spectrum. Outside of work, Matt enjoys watching sports (of course), cooking, gardening, golfing and spending time with his wife and two young children.