Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness and there is no cure until now. Like other chronic problems, such as diabetes or hypertension, schizophrenia can only be controlled but not completely cured. Therefore, treatment is usually aimed at preventing recurrent episodes of schizophrenia. So, how to prevent schizophrenia relapse?
Symptoms of schizophrenia can recur at any time
According to data published in the journal BMC Psychiatry in 2013, of the many people with schizophrenia there are only about 10-20 percent of them who do not experience a recurrence of symptoms. In other words, most cases of schizophrenia will usually relapse repeatedly.
Added by Sophia Frangou, MD, PhD, a lecturer in psychiatry from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, that the symptoms of schizophrenia rarely go away completely. Most people will experience a gradual reduction in symptoms.
However, the symptoms of schizophrenia are not the same for everyone, says Michael T. Compton, MD, MPH, chair of psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. There are those who experience insomnia or difficulty sleeping, some are even easily carried away by emotions when they hear bad news.
That’s why it’s important to recognize the symptoms if you want to prevent a relapse of schizophrenia. The sooner the signs and symptoms are noticed, the more likely they are to be controlled.
How to prevent schizophrenia relapse?
Dr. Compton explains that it’s actually hard to prevent schizophrenia from relapse, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Before it really reoccurs, understanding the following steps can at least help reduce the chances of a relapse of schizophrenia:
1. Take medicine according to doctor’s advice
It’s important to regularly take your schizophrenia medication as prescribed, even if you feel like you’re in top shape. The reason is, “episodes” of schizophrenia will easily recur when you stop taking the drug or don’t take it regularly as scheduled.
If you have any complaints about the medicines that you should take, don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek the best advice from your doctor. You can also talk to your doctor about other treatment methods that might help control your symptoms and prevent schizophrenia from relapse.
2. Manage stress
Sometimes, your doctor will advise you on psychosocial therapy to relieve your symptoms and prevent a relapse of schizophrenia. Not only good for the physical, routinely undergoing this therapy will also have a positive impact on your mental health. Especially to manage stress well.
Because it is not impossible, stress that continues to surround you can trigger symptoms of schizophrenia recurrence. By regularly doing psychosocial therapy and managing stress, you will increase your awareness of this mental illness. Finally, the condition of the relapse of schizophrenia will decrease little by little.
3. Apply a healthy lifestyle
It sounds cliché, but a healthy lifestyle can actually help reduce the risk of schizophrenia relapse. The easiest way you can start by eating healthy foods and drinks that are rich in a variety of important nutrients, then continue with regular exercise.
Don’t forget, make sure you sleep and rest well every day. Instead, avoid smoking, alcohol, and illegal drugs. All of these things will actually worsen the symptoms of schizophrenia that you experience.
4. Recognize and realize the symptoms of schizophrenia relapse
Of all the steps you can take to prevent a relapse of schizophrenia, one that you shouldn’t miss is understanding what symptoms appear as your condition worsens.
Watch for the following signs when your schizophrenia “episode” relapses:
- Decreased appetite
- Difficult to concentrate
- Easily restless, angry, erratic mood
- Have a strange idea or thought
- Poor personal hygiene
- Hearing intangible voices
- Hallucinations and paranoia
- Having suicidal thoughts
Make sure the people around you also fully understand the symptoms of a relapse of schizophrenia, so that they can immediately provide help at any time. The goal is that treatment can be given more quickly while preventing the worsening of the condition of schizophrenia