The focus this year on World Mental Health Day is on Living with Schizophrenia. An illness like Schizophrenia can be extremely debilitating, impacting and affecting various aspects of individual’s life and functionality in various domains like work, relationships, self-care, to name a few. A difficult illness to understand and cope with, Schizophrenia can cause an individual to struggle with numerous challenges, which get exacerbated specially when there is a lack of social support. In the face of an illness like this there are some things which need to be emphasized and made a focus of in order to ensure that productivity is restored and the person is able to continue with life in as normal a manner as possible.
Treatment is the Key:
Like any other problem, treatment forms the cornerstone and building block for restoring functionality for the affected person. Living with an illness like Schizophrenia can be potentially dangerous for the self and at times also for other around. In order to combat this aspect it is imperative that there be a push and drive towards treatment and help-seeking, which should be a continuous process as per the advice of the treating Psychiatrist.
Rehabilitation is a Must:
What is important is to ensure that besides taking care of the medical aspect, a focus and drive should be directed at rehabilitation. Based on the severity of the condition and symptoms and their relative impact, the type and extent of rehabilitation will vary. However, unless the symptoms are not responding to the medical treatment, it is a must to direct focus onto rehabilitation and vocational training in order to ensure that there is a connect established with the community and the affected individual is able to take care of their needs to the greatest extent possible.
Interpersonal Relatedness can Act as a Mediator:
The challenges of the illness can most certainly disrupt the interpersonal relationships of the past. The fact that the illness is difficult to understand, make sense of and work with, can also put others in one’s social milieu at a back foot. However, it helps significantly if relationships are not lost and are restored as the individual recovers from the illness and associated problems. These relationships and social support help mediate the negative impact of the illness and take away from the effects of the disruption caused by the illness in the affected person’s daily life and lifestyle.
Post Active Symptoms Shift to Rebuilding Life:
Frequently, post recovery from Schizophrenia, there can be a setting in of feelings of dejection, disappointment, helplessness and hopelessness as so much gets impacted and affected, that the focus from building something gets completely derailed. It can not be emphasised more that there needs to be a significant impetus on rebuilding life, from the smaller things like getting into a routine, to taking care of home and going onto determining what needs to be done professionally if possible or vocationally to create a sense of productivity and a feeling of doing something with one’s life.
Be Prompt in Seeking Help with the Smallest Aberration in Thoughts or Behaviors:
A challenge posited by the illness is its recurrence which tends to affect and be detrimental to the progress one may make during the intervening period between episodes of the illness. The key here is to proactively monitor and be receptive to the feedback of others who may be able to see changes sooner. Ignoring even a singular instance of irrationality or concerning behavior pattern can lead to a significantly bigger problem. It is crucial to seek help even with the smallest instance of a problem. Schizophrenia is a challenging problem to live with. However, treatment and rehabilitation can most certainly go a long way in taking care of the debilitating effects of the illness. Proactive family support, presence of friends and a supportive network of people, as well as a focus on rebuilding life can help ensure that quality of life can be enhance and functionality restored to some levels.