When you have schizophrenia, you need more than medicines and counseling to move forward with your life. You need to partner with your health care team to find and meet your personal goals. This life-long partnering is known as recovery.
Recovery isn't the same as being cured, and it doesn't mean that you will be symptom-free. It is being able to live a full life and enjoy favorite activities with as little trouble as possible from your symptoms. Recovery may help you manage your symptoms so that you can be an active member of your community.
Education, support, and training in social and job skills all are important parts of your treatment and recovery. For example:
- Learning about schizophrenia can improve the quality of your life and the lives of those who care about you.
- Reference Job training may help you find a job that interests you and that you can be successful in. This can help with finances and self-esteem.
- Reference Social skills training can help you develop life skills such as learning to communicate, managing frustration, and coping. It may include Reference cognitive enhancement therapy Opens New Window, which may help you improve how well you understand and deal with other people.
- Reference Case management and assertive community treatment can help you organize the many different parts of treatment and recovery. You receive this kind of help at your home. You don't have to go anywhere special to get it.
- Reference Support groups give you the chance to talk with people who are going through the same things you are.
There are 10 principles of recovery (What is a Reference PDF Opens New Window document?) that can guide you as you work toward your goals and learn new things to help yourself. They help you gain self-confidence and respect for yourself. They make it clear that you make your own decisions with the help of your doctor, counselor, and family. And they encourage you to be as independent as possible while living with schizophrenia.
It may be hard to understand and accept that you have an illness, and it's easy to become discouraged. You can help yourself by focusing on your recovery goals and learning to see schizophrenia as one part of your life, not your entire life. Make managing schizophrenia well one of the many successes in your life.
You have schizophrenia, but like other people, you have wishes and goals for your life. You most likely want healthy relationships with your partner, family, and friends. You may want a job that gives you a sense of self-worth.
Your family and community can support you and help you meet your goals.
- Your family can help you get the right treatment, deal with your symptoms, and get along in your community. Reference Family therapy Opens New Window is an important part of this.
- Reference Social support and support groups give you the chance to talk with people who are going through the same things you are.
- Reference Case management and assertive community treatment can help you deal with the many different parts of treatment and recovery. If you feel overwhelmed, ask your doctor or therapist about these programs.
- Your local or state health department may have programs to help you. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides contact information for support organizations nationwide. For more information, go to www.nami.org.
If your symptoms come back, it's called a Reference relapse. Anyone with schizophrenia can have a relapse, but it may happen much more often when you don't take your medicine.
You can help prevent a relapse by taking your medicine, going to your counseling sessions, being active in your own recovery, and not drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs.
If you are having trouble taking your medicine or feel that you don't need to, talk to your doctor or another trusted person. Your doctor may be able to change the medicine or how much you take. A partner or spouse may help you find Reference ways to remember to take the medicine.
A healthy lifestyle
The symptoms of schizophrenia can make it easy to forget some of the basics of good health. But it's important to try to have a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some things to do:
- Don't abuse drugs or alcohol. Having a substance abuse problem makes treating schizophrenia harder. If you have a substance abuse problem, you need to Reference treat both problems to help your recovery.
- Reference Exercise and be active. Exercise can help relieve anxiety, depression, and stress. Exercise and activity also make other diseases, such as heart disease or diabetes, less likely.
- Reference Relieve stress. Reducing stress may mean fewer relapses.
- Reference Get enough sleep. This is very important. Sleep can help your mood and make you feel less stressed.
- Reference Eat a balanced diet. This helps your body deal with tension and stress.
- Stop smoking, if you smoke. Smoking increases the risk for other diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. For information on how to stop smoking, see the topic Reference Quitting Smoking.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference August 31, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry