Schizophrenia: Spotting a Relapse
Medication and therapy can control symptoms of schizophrenia, but a relapse is possible even if someone has been managing their condition well. Recognizing triggers and early signs can help avoid a relapse or minimize its severity.
The most common cause of relapse is a failure to take medication as prescribed. “If somebody is on a regimen of medication that’s working for them, stopping the medicine could result in a relapse,” said psychiatrist Jeffrey Borenstein, MD, president and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.
According to Dr. Borenstein, people sometimes stop taking their medicine because they experience side effects. Talk to their doctor about changing drugs or dosages to reduce adverse effects and maintain compliance.
Even if a patient is committed to their treatment, a life stressor could bring about a relapse or exacerbate symptoms. As Borenstein points out, “sometimes it can just happen even without some external event.”
Early warning signs often emerge before a full-fledged psychotic episode. “If the caregiver sees a change in the usual activities of the person with schizophrenia, that would be something to be concerned about,” said Borenstein.
Common signs of relapse to watch for include:
- Increased anxiety
- Difficulty sleeping
“Part of why it’s so important for people with schizophrenia to have good support systems is that their relatives may pick up on these symptoms before they do,” said Borenstein.
The good news is that early intervention can make a huge difference. “It may be that the person needs an adjustment in their medication or they may need to go to therapy more often,” said Borenstein. “If there is some external stress going on, there may be ways to help alleviate that stress.”
If you suspect that a loved one is showing signs of a potential relapse, Borenstein advises sharing your concern with them in a caring way. He suggests starting with a phrase like, “I’m noticing lately that you seem a little more anxious or a bit more irritable” or “You, yourself, have told me that you’re not sleeping as well as usual, and I’m concerned. Have you spoken to your psychiatrist about this?”
It can be very helpful if a patient’s family is already involved in their care and has a relationship with the psychiatrist and other members of their treatment team. “If a family member is seeing that things aren’t going well, he or she should reach out to the psychiatrist,” said Borenstein.
If a patient hasn’t granted permission, there may be a confidentiality issue that prohibits a psychiatrist from talking to loved ones. Borenstein recommends that a concerned caregiver reach out to the psychiatrist anyway, even if they are not at liberty to respond directly.
“Psychiatrists can certainly hear what a person has to say,” said Borenstein. “If it’s regarding a potential relapse, you do want the psychiatrist to know about it.” By sharing concerns and observations, a caregiver can give the psychiatrist a better sense of the patient’s condition.
Video: Eminem and D12 - Blow my Buzz
How to Clean Birkenstocks
How to Write Rules for an Organization
There Are No Better Anti-Ageing Serums on the High Street Than These Ones
How to Field Dress an Elk
39 Cute Christmas Outfit Ideas
Gorgeous DIY Hairstyle With DG Inspired Headband
Reformation Holiday 2014 Collection
Donna Karan Launches DKNY My NY Fragrance
How to Make Carrot Soup
I Asked a Bunch of Dumb Questions About Bras and Bra Fittings So You Dont Have To
The Best High Street Beauty Bargains
This Mom Doing Yoga and Breastfeeding at the Same Time Is Goals