Reactions related to the symptoms

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People close to the patient with schizophrenia are often uncertain on how best to react to the patient’s unusual or clearly erroneous statements.

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Stock photo. Posed by model.

The bizarre beliefs and hallucinations are real enough for schizophrenia patients. These are not figments of their imagination. Instead of “going along” with the patient’s delusions, family members or friends can tell the patient that they don’t see it in the same way or that they disagree with the patient’s statements, though they should acknowledge the legitimacy of the disagreement.

Caregivers have to be careful not to contradict the patient’s beliefs; however, they should not go along or agree with the patient’s delusions. This can undermine the patient’s self-esteem and his or her coping strategy, which can lead to relapse.

It might be useful if the acquaintances of the patient with schizophrenia keep a record of the symptoms, medications taken (and doses administered) and the effects of the different treatments with the consent of the patient. Observing earlier symptoms can help family members in recognizing the signs of a relapse.

Family members may be able to spot early warning signs of a possible relapse such as increased withdrawal or changes in the sleeping pattern. Thus, recurrent psychosis can be detected in early stages and the entire relapse can be prevented with the proper treatment.

If family members know which medications have worked earlier and which ones had adverse effects, they can greatly help the treating physician in rapidly finding the best possible treatment.

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