Helping Your Friend or Family Member through a Psychotic Episode

Watching a loved one go through psychosis is a heart-breaking process, especially for parents. Not knowing what to do compounds the problem and causes more stress, both for the sufferer and the family member alike.

Knowledge is power and there are many things that family and friends can do to help.

1. Find out as much about psychosis as you can. Knowing the typical behavior patterns of a person going through a psychotic episode will assist you to recognize the early signs of the condition, seek earlier intervention, and develop your own set of coping skills to better deal with each episode as it arises. This will also have the effect of lowering your own stress levels as you learn to cope with the inevitable ebbs and flows of the condition. Being in a better state of health yourself enables you to be a better support to your loved one.

2. Be aware that psychosis is a medical condition and requires medical intervention. Just as you cannot heal a broken leg without medical help, so you will require assistance in dealing with psychosis.

3. Be patient with your loved one. Be patient with yourself. A person who finds themselves experiencing psychosis usually takes a long time to fully accept the condition and the ongoing treatment and life changes that are required. You, too, may need to be patient as you come to the realization that your son or daughter or friend needs to make adjustments to their lives now that this condition has made an appearance.

4. Speak to others in a similar position to you. Not only will they provide much needed support, but they will be able to make you aware of the various pitfalls of the mental health system. This way you will be prepared for the inevitable obstacles you will encounter and be better able to assert yourself on behalf of your loved one.

5. Look after your own health. Do not allow yourself to become rundown and fragile. Ask for help from friends and community sources. Your loved one depends on you to be their guide through dark times and you need to be in peak condition to do this. Delegate everything that you possibly can. Do not fall into the belief that you are indispensable. The world will go on if you die, but your loved ones would prefer it not to be that way.

Contact Beth McHugh for further assistance regarding this issue.

Related articles:

Understanding Psychosis

Schizophrenia: Diagnostic symptoms

Symptoms of schizophrenia

The minefield of schizophrenia (1)

The minefield of schizophrenia (2)

Childhood schizophrenia

Schizophrenia and VCFS

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