4 ways a schizophrenic can affect a family

Whether you've just had a schizophrenia diagnosis in the family or you've been caring for an ill family member for years, it can be incredibly challenging to cope. The effects of schizophrenia on a family can be long-term and damaging.

Many family members don't know what to do or how to manage their own feelings about the schizophrenic family member. Since understanding is a key component of dealing with this type of disease, it's important to recognize how the ill person's condition affects those around him.

1. Taking on the role of caretaker.

The family members of a schizophrenic person end up stepping into caretaker roles, which often requires them to change their daily routines or activities. A person with schizophrenic tendencies often needs reminders and assistance when it comes to basic things like eating and bathing.

2. Confusion about how to interact.

Family members of a schizophrenic, unless they have received medical advice from a professional, often don't know how to react to the bizarre things a schizophrenic will say or how to deal with a schizophrenic episode. Sometimes they might make things worse by playing along with a schizophrenic's delusions, when most professionals advise family members to be a voice of dissent and reason.

3. Not seeking treatment.

Family members--especially those in denial--might avoid getting a schizophrenic the treatment he needs because they don't know what to do or where to go. They also might be concerned about the availability of money or resources.

4. Strained relationships with others.

One of the most difficult effects of schizophrenia on a family is that members often suffer from strained relationships with other family members or friends. The difficulty of caring for the ill person can be too consuming for them to have healthy and functional relationships with others.

Source: Psych Central

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