Navigating how to help someone with schizoaffective disorder can be challenging because of the person’s symptoms. The symptoms can make loving someone with schizoaffective disorder difficult. Caring for someone with schizoaffective disorder requires collaboration with doctors, managing a treatment plan, being prepared for relapses and crises, and simply being there for the person as they steer life with their disorder. As a loved one, it is important to understand this disorder, support your loved one, encourage treatment, look for signs of relapse, and take care of yourself. This can be overwhelming. But no worries! We are sharing some tips on supporting someone with schizoaffective disorder.
Schizoaffective disorder is a condition where symptoms of both psychotic and mood disorders are both present during one episode (or within two weeks of each other.) The term itself schizoaffective has two parts: ‘schizo-‘ referring to psychotic symptoms, and ‘-affective’ referring to mood symptoms.
Schizophrenic symptoms of this disorder may include hallucinations, delusions, unusual behaviors, seeming emotionally flat, disordered thinking, and inappropriate emotional responses. Mood disorder symptoms of schizoaffective disorder include mania and depression, which ranges from high energy and euphoria to sadness, despair, and disinterest.
Living with schizoaffective disorder, no matter the symptoms, can be disruptive to your life and the lives of your loved ones. This is especially true of an individual with the disorder who has not received mental health treatment.
Struggling with symptoms of mania and depression can make it impossible to manage normal relationships, be successful in school and work, and can even lead to substance abuse or trouble with the law. Knowing how to help someone with schizoaffective disorder is not obvious. Rather, it requires education, dedication, and commitment.
If you are living with someone who has schizoaffective disorder, there are plenty of ways you can be there for them. From getting the initial diagnosis to managing relapses, you can make an enormous difference in your loved one’s life.
A major misconception about schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder is that people with these disorders are dangerous or scary, but this is not true. When managed and treated properly, individuals with schizoaffective disorder can live happy and fulfilling lives.
However, it is important to be aware of all the risks if you are living with someone who has a mental health disorder. While individuals with schizoaffective disorder are not typically dangerous, they can be a danger to themselves or others if their symptoms become severe enough or are not treated properly.
A mental health crisis refers to any situation in which a person’s behavior puts them at risk of hurting themselves and/or others or inhibits them from being able to care for themselves or function in everyday society. A mental health crisis can be considered anything from depression to trauma, or it can be triggered by a specific event or by a build-up of symptoms.
This is one of the many reasons why receiving professional support is crucial for individuals struggling with their mental health. A mental health crisis is preventable.
You can make an enormous impact on your loved ones and how they manage daily life with a mental illness. Below are some tips on how to support someone with schizoaffective disorder that can steer you in the right direction.
Get an Accurate Diagnosis
The first step in supporting and loving someone with schizoaffective disorder is to learn more about it and to ensure that an accurate diagnosis is made. While there is no specific test for this disorder, a psychiatrist or other mental health professional can perform a psychiatric evaluation to determine if the individual meets the diagnostic criteria of schizoaffective disorder.
Do Your Research
In addition to getting a correct diagnosis, it is also important to learn more about the person’s disorder. While you will never understand everything that a person goes through, learning more about their symptoms and how schizoaffective disorder impacts them can encourage you to be more compassionate, empathetic, and patient with them.
Remember that recovery is not a linear line, and mental health disorders do not magically disappear. While achieving stability and fulfillment with a mental illness is possible, it can take years for a person to get to a place where they feel good about themselves and how they manage their symptoms.
Be realistic about the person’s condition and any setbacks you might experience. Set small, reasonable goals, and expect to progress slowly.
Celebrate the Small and Big Things
While it may seem like an easy decision, it can be easy to focus so much on helping the person progress that we forget to acknowledge their progress! At the end of every day, pick one thing that might have been easier for that person to do, the week before or even the day before.
Whether that is doing the groceries on their own or any other small task, praise the person on their progress to keep them motivated to move forward. By doing so, you will also help them realize how far they have come.
It can be tempting to start doing everything for the person, but helping them recover their independence is crucial. Enabling them – doing things for them that they could do on their own – can cause them to digress rather than progress, which can place you and them in a horrible position.
Enabling also contributes to codependence, which is a circular relationship in which one person needs the other person, who in turn needs to be needed. This can create an unhealthy cycle that can lead to worsening symptoms, lack of independence and accountability, controlling behaviors, bitterness, and more.
Get Support for Yourself
Forgetting about yourself in the process of caring for someone with a mental illness can take a huge toll on your mental health. As you go through the steps of learning how to help someone with schizoaffective disorder, do not neglect yourself.
Several of our Banyan locations offer family support for the loved ones of individuals with mental health disorders and substance use disorders. Not only do we believe that building a support system for our clients is important, but we also do not want spouses, parents, children, or friends to feel exhausted and burnt out.
Do not get to the point where you feel like you have reached the end of your rope. Let our Banyan rehab locations help.
If you have not already, make sure your loved one receives the treatment they need to learn how to manage their symptoms and live a happy and fulfilling life. Banyan Treatment Centers offers mental health care in Florida for various disorders, including mood and anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders, thought disorders, and more.
[Text Wrapping Break]For more information about our mental health and addiction treatment centers, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763.