Dealing with crisis situations
Despite your best efforts to prevent relapse, there may be times when your family member’s condition deteriorates rapidly and drastically. During a schizophrenia crisis, you must get help for your family member as soon as possible. Hospitalization may be required to keep your loved one safe.
It’s important for the family members of people with schizophrenia to prepare for such crisis situations. Having an emergency plan ready for an acute psychotic episode will help you handle the crisis safely and quickly. A good emergency plan for a family member with schizophrenia includes:
- A list of emergency contact information for your loved one’s doctor, therapists and the police.
- The address and phone number of the hospital you will go to in case of emergency for psychiatric admission.
- Friends or relatives who will take care of other children or dependents while you deal with the crisis.
It’s also wise to go over the emergency plan with your family member. The crisis situation may be less frightening and upsetting to your loved one If he or she knows what to expect during an emergency.
10 Tips for Handling a Schizophrenia Crisis
- Remember that you cannot reason with acute psychosis
- Remember that the person may be terrified by his or her own feelings of loss of control
- Do not express irritation or anger
- Do not shout
- Do not use sarcasm as a weapon
- Decrease distractions (turn off the TV, radio, fluorescent lights that hum, etc.)
- Ask any casual visitors to leave—the fewer people the better
- Avoid direct continuous eye contact
- Avoid touching the person
- Sit down and ask the person to sit down also
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