How Can Family Members Benefit From Family Therapy for Schizophrenia?

Family members of those with schizophrenia often lack awareness about the condition. This lack of knowledge can make it difficult for individuals to understand their loved one’s circumstances. Due to this, families may experience a great deal of confusion and frustration. Whether the person is receiving treatment or not, loved ones still may have the wrong perception of their loved one’s behaviors. This can cause the home environment to be stressful and tense. Family members may blame themselves, present anger towards their loved one, or avoid the situation completely.

Participating in family therapy with 12 South Recovery can educate family members about the background of their loved one’s mental health condition. Family therapy may help family members better understand the condition and how they can provide support. This type of therapy can also help improve communication and resolve conflicts in the home. Seeking the right mental health treatment can promote a healthy living environment for everyone.

What Is Schizophrenia?

As stated by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), schizophrenia is a mental health condition that is defined as having disrupted thought perceptions, processes, social interactions, and emotional responsiveness. Although every case is different, this mental health condition is known to be ongoing, disabling, and severe in most cases. Symptoms may include:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Unusual ways of thinking
  • Reduced expressions
  • Lack of motivation
  • Strained social relationships
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Motor impairment

The onset of this condition is often in early childhood. Symptoms may persist throughout one’s lifetime and increase with age. Environmental factors such as early life stress may play a major role. Unfortunately, an individual with schizophrenia may experience disrupted brain development. Although schizophrenia is often severely disabling when left untreated, seeking early treatment may positively affect the recovery outcome.

How a Lack of Understanding Can Affect Family Members

As stated in the South African Journal of Psychiatry, a majority of family members who live with a loved one diagnosed with schizophrenia have stated they are misinformed about their relative’s mental illness. This lack of awareness is typically regarding the probability of a relapse, the medication’s effects, and how to respond to aggression and violent behaviors.

Caring for family members who have a schizophrenia diagnosis can also cause feelings of burnout. This can negatively affect the caregiver’s mental health, often leading to anxiety and or depression if their mental health is not addressed. A relative may experience stress due to difficulty handling stressful situations, intense episodes, or abrupt life changes.

Many families are unaware of how to support their loved ones during their mental health journey. Some families tend to be too critical or overbearing. Oftentimes family members also express hostility. This can make a loved one’s condition worse. The journal article states that when family members are calm, positive, empathetic, and respectful toward the loved one with schizophrenia, this provides their loved one with a safe environment.

Family Therapy With 12 South Recovery Helps Family Members

Living with or monitoring a relative with schizophrenia can feel overwhelming and chaotic without professional direction and support. Family therapy with 12 South Recovery can help guide family members during what may seem like a tragic phase for everyone.

Not everyone understands how to respond to certain behaviors, keep themselves or their loved one safe during a violent episode, or report problems. Family therapy can assist family members in finding the right resources. These therapy sessions can also help them make positive changes in their behaviors to better support their loved ones. Therapy can also teach each family member how to better cope with their loved one’s condition.

When certain changes are made, everyone involved can heal from past trauma and move forward with mutual emotional support. Family therapy can significantly improve communication and resolve conflicts in the home, leading to healthier family dynamics.

Practicing New Strategies and Reaching Out for Help

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), participating in just a few new daily habits outside of family therapy can greatly improve one’s outcome. Although therapy and medications can help, practicing new strategies is also important for one’s path toward recovery. An individual’s strategies may consist of the following:

  • Staying focused on the goals developed in their treatment plan
  • Showing dedication to treatment even when everything is going well
  • Learning to recognize warning signs
  • Remembering to practice self-care
  • Incorporating relaxation and meditation to relieve stress
  • Joining a support group outside of individual or family therapy for additional support
  • Staying educated about schizophrenia

It can also be helpful to reach out to the community or social services for economic support. Community agencies can provide help for individuals who are facing challenges with employment, affordable housing, transportation, and other areas of their lives.

A lack of understanding can place a heavy burden on family members who have a loved one with schizophrenia. Family therapy with 12 South Recovery can help family members understand schizophrenia better and create a more positive and healing environment. Granted, schizophrenia is a challenging illness for any family to manage. At 12 South Recovery, our team understands that family therapy is essential in helping each family member heal and move forward toward healing. If you or a loved one are facing challenges with a relative’s mental health condition, call 12 South Recovery at (888) 830-8374 to learn more about family therapy. Mental illnesses are difficult, but our family therapy program can help your family achieve greater peace and well-being.

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