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Schizophrenia - What Happens

Tips for avoiding relapse

  • Learn how to recognize the first signs of relapse, such as not wanting to do things with others, and have a plan to deal with it and get help right away.
  • If you need help deciding whether to see your doctor, read about some of the reasons people don't get help and how to overcome them.
  • Take your medicine, even if you're feeling better. This makes a relapse less likely.Learn some ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
  • If side effects are making your life hard, talk with your doctor to see whether you can try a different medicine.
  • Stay in counseling or therapy, and continue with your recovery plan.

Special concerns

Watch these areas for problems:

  • Thoughts of suicide or thoughts about harming yourself or others. If you think about these things, call your doctor or 911 right away. Tell family and friends how to recognize the warning signs of suicide, such as threatening to harm yourself and being preoccupied with death or suicide, and warning signs of violence toward others, such as thinking or talking about harming someone or becoming aggressive.
  • Social concerns, such as other people's attitudes. People who don't understand schizophrenia or other mental health problems may treat you differently. Find family and friends who want to support you and help you with relationships. Help them understand schizophrenia.
  • Smoking. Many people who have schizophrenia smoke cigarettes. This may be because smoking helps with some of the symptoms. But smoking makes other illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease, more likely.
  • Having a babyHaving a baby. If you have schizophrenia and want to have a baby, talk to your doctor. Medicines that you take for schizophrenia can cause birth defects, and not taking your medicine puts you at risk for a relapse. Your doctor can help you plan your pregnancy so there will be as little risk as possible to you and your baby.
  • Substance abuse. Many people who have schizophrenia abuse alcohol or drugs. When you have schizophrenia and a substance abuse problem, it's called a dual diagnosis. Talk with your doctor or another trusted person about getting help for substance abuse.
  • Other health problems. Obesity, substance abuse, type 2 diabetes, and heart and lung problems may occur along with schizophrenia.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 31, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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