You and your family can help.
As people begin to get better, it is important to prevent a relapse (recurrence of a psychotic episode). Since a relapse can be demoralizing for everyone.
To help maintain the recovery process:
Identify reasonable goals that are obtainable in the near future. Setting expectations too high sets everyone up for stress and failure. Encourage and recognize progress, even if it is less than what was hoped for. Goals for some people may be taking a course at school or part-time volunteer work; for others, getting out of bed or coming to the dinner table in an accomplishment.
- Learn to reduce stress. The sorts of stress that most people handle everyday may have much more impact on someone who is ill. Stress can make people with mental illness vulnerable to relapse.
- Talk to each other and to the healthcare team. Communication is important of you're all going to work together.
- Be encouraging and supportive. A critical, overinvolved, or overprotective attitude may be threatening to people who are ill and may undermine their confidence.
- Learn problem-solving techniques. It's important that people be able to solve their own problems. However, you can all work together to identify problems and possible solutions.
- Be sensitive. Avoid comparisons to friends colleagues, or family members. Other people's success at work, school, or in their social lives may only emphasize how far behind people are who are ill.
- Encourage compliance in taking medication. Families should encourage loved ones to follow the clinician's instructions regarding their medication. Without nagging or criticism, you can help them remember to take their medication by pointing out how much they have accomplished.
- Avoid relapse by knowing the early signs. If you notice your loved one losing interest in things, becoming increasingly depressed, having difficulty concentrating, with drawing socially, having difficulty making decisions, having sleep problems, feeling overcommitted or overexpansive, or if you notice other feelings or actions unique to you loved one, call the clinician immediately. Getting professional help early enough may prevent a relapse.