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    Schizophrenia and the Caregiver - Topic Overview

    As a family member or close friend, you may help take care of your loved one who has schizophrenia. You can help your loved one stay in treatment, take his or her medicines, and prevent symptoms from coming back (relapse).

    Along the way, be sure to take care of yourself too. It can be hard to watch a family member-who in the past was happily planning for the future-develop symptoms of confusion and paranoia. Family members may need to seek support or treatment to help them cope with the demands of the illness and the loss they may feel.

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    Pros and Cons of Long-Lasting Schizophrenia Drugs

    If you or someone you love has schizophrenia, you know that keeping up with medicine makes all the difference. It curbs symptoms like seeing and hearing things that aren't there. Along with psychiatric therapy, a pill you take every day can put you on the path to a stable, successful life. But there's a catch: A lot of folks quit their meds. Sometimes they just forget to take them. Or they may think they're now well enough that they don't need them anymore. That's where long-lasting drugs can help...

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    Tips for family members and friends

    • Accept that schizophrenia is a long-term problem. People who do this usually adjust better to helping their loved ones. Keep in touch with your loved one's doctor, therapist, or counselor about how things are going.
    • Keep your emotions in check. Too much emotion can make recovery harder, because it can be very stressful to your loved one. Try not to be critical, over-involved, or mean. Don't blame your loved one for his or her behavior.
    • Be calm and soothing when your loved one has severe symptoms. Call the person quietly by name, or ask the person to tell you what he or she is experiencing. Don't argue or tell him or her that the voices aren't real. Call for help if you think the situation could become dangerous.
    • Work cooperatively with your family member's health care team and teachers and with other members of your community when needed.
    • Make a plan with all family members about how to take care of your loved one during times of relapse.
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