How to approach a paranoid schizophrenic

When approaching a paranoid schizophrenic, it's important to remember that you're dealing with a person who has little grounding in reality.

Even if this person is a beloved family member or friend, there are certain things to remember to help keep both you and the person with schizophrenia
safe. Knowing how to talk to the person, monitor your body language and maintain a calm presence are all important factors when approaching a paranoid schizophrenic.

Do not be aggressive

A paranoid schizophrenic often has delusions that people are "out to get him," so avoid approaching this person in an aggressive manner. Stay calm and rational, use an even, low voice, and avoid dramatic displays of emotion.

Do not support his delusions or fantasies

Part of treating schizophrenia is consistently reminding the patient that what he is experiencing as real is not indeed fact. You don't have to be argumentative, but you can tell this person that you don't agree or share his experiences if he is delusional or experiencing hallucinations.

Watch your body language

Maintain eye contact and avoid any jerky, sudden movements. Also, try not to crowd a paranoid schizophrenic by standing or sitting too close. This will only serve to agitate him.

Approach in a calm environment

Since a schizophrenic might be paranoid about being in public places, make sure to approach this person when you are in a calm environment, like the person's own home or living quarters. This can help him stay at ease while avoiding unnecessary stimulation.

Source: Schizophrenia.com

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