Relapse of Schizophrenia
A relapse can happen when you have schizophrenia. In a relapse, your symptoms return and may be so severe that they cause a psychotic episode. This means you can't tell the difference between what is real and what isn't real. A relapse or a psychotic episode can be very intense and scary.
Preventing a relapse
You can do some things to help prevent a relapse:
- Take your medicines as your doctor suggests. Not taking medicine is the main cause of relapse.
- Reduce stress in your life. This may result in fewer relapses. For more information on reducing stress, see the topic Stress Management.
- Don't drink alcohol or use illegal drugs.
- Go to your counseling sessions and classes even when you don't feel like it or when you think they are not helping you.
- If your doctor recommends family therapy, be sure to have all family members attend each session.
- Join a self-help or support group. Self-help and support groups are usually run by the members of the group, not health professionals.
- Learn the first signs of relapse, and seek help early. Common signs of relapse include:
- Staying away from or not being interested in other people.
- Forgetting things.
- Having problems concentrating.
- Not paying attention to what is going on.
Relapse action plan
An action plan says in writing what you can do to help prevent a relapse and what you need to do if you have signs of a relapse. You will need the help of others to get through a relapse.
An action plan lists the general signs of a relapse and those that may be special to you.
- Write down the general signs above.
- Work with your doctor to find out if you have any special relapse signs.
An action plan lists things that need to be taken care of during a relapse. Think about:
- Who will take care of your children if you have any.
- Who will manage your money and finances.
- Which hospital or other facility you'd like to go to.
- Who to tell if you have a relapse.
Action plans also can include legal documents. Write these when you have few or no symptoms, and ask your doctor and lawyer to help you.
- An advance directive tells your wishes for treatment during a relapse. An advance directive can be very useful if you have severe symptoms of fear or suspicion of others during a relapse.
- A durable power of attorney says who will be in charge of making decisions when you can't decide things yourself. This document is very helpful if you refuse treatment during a relapse when you would otherwise accept it.
- A power of attorney lets you choose someone to help you deal with money during a relapse. Find someone you trust to co-sign financial documents, such as credit card applications or mortgages, to protect yourself financially while you are having a relapse.