Relapse of Schizophrenia

Overview

Preventing a relapse

When you have schizophrenia, your symptoms can sometimes come back. This is called a relapse. There are things you can do to help prevent a relapse.

  • Be active in your own recovery.

    Work with your doctor and take care of yourself.

  • Take your medicine, even if you're feeling better.

    Not taking medicine is the main cause of relapse.

  • Talk to your doctor about your medicines.

    If side effects are making your life hard, talk with your doctor to see whether you can try a different medicine. Your doctor may be able to change the medicine or how much you take.

  • Stay in counseling or therapy.

    Go to your sessions, and continue with your recovery plan.

  • Get support from family.

    If your doctor recommends family therapy, be sure to have all family members attend each session.

  • Join a self-help or support group.

    Self-help and support groups are usually run by the members of the group, not health professionals.

  • Find ways to reduce stress in your life.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs.
  • Learn how to recognize the first signs of relapse.

    Have a plan for what you'll do when you notice signs, and get help right away. Common signs of relapse include:

    • Staying away from or not being interested in other people.
    • Forgetting things.
    • Having problems concentrating.
    • Daydreaming.
    • Not paying attention to what is going on.

Relapse action plan

An action plan says in writing what you can do to help prevent a relapse of schizophrenia and what you need to do if you have signs of a relapse. You will need the help of others to get through a relapse.

An action plan also lists the general signs of a relapse and those that may be special to you.

  • Write down the common signs of a relapse. They include:
    • Staying away from or not being interested in other people.
    • Forgetting things.
    • Having problems concentrating.
    • Daydreaming.
    • Not paying attention to what is going on.
  • Work with your doctor to find out if you have any special relapse signs.

An action plan lists things that need to be taken care of during a relapse. Think about:

  • Who will take care of your children if you have any.
  • Who will manage your money and finances.
  • Which hospital or other facility you'd like to go to.
  • Who to tell if you have a relapse.

Action plans also can include legal documents. Write these when you have few or no symptoms, and ask your doctor and lawyer to help you.

  • An advance directive tells your wishes for treatment during a relapse. It can be very useful if you have severe symptoms of fear or suspicion of others during a relapse.
  • A durable power of attorney says who will be in charge of making decisions when you can't decide things yourself. This document is very helpful if you refuse treatment during a relapse when you would otherwise accept it.
  • A power of attorney lets you choose someone to help you deal with money during a relapse. Find someone you trust to co-sign financial documents, such as credit card applications or mortgages, to protect yourself financially while you are having a relapse.

Credits

Current as of: February 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health