Schizophrenia and Therapy Options
I was asked to cover schizophrenia and therapy as I write a lot about therapies for depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety. As it is a condition I was unfamiliar with, I have carried out plenty of research from medical and psychological studies and other research papers about the condition.
I hope this article will help you discover new therapies for managing your condition and that the outlines given below can be incorporated into your care plan, either by yourself or via your support network.
As a new subject for me, I was surprised at my preconceptions and the fact that I did not know anything about the mental illness. The only things I had heard were from the news or TV series, and it saddens me to say the coverage is not great; it is also a condition similar in some degrees to bipolar disorder.
What is Schizophrenia?
When I was researching, I was unsure what to expect when I typed this into the search, and I’ll let an expert describe the condition:
Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder… When schizophrenia is active, symptoms can include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, trouble with thinking and lack of motivation. However, with treatment, most symptoms of schizophrenia will greatly improve and the likelihood of a recurrence can be diminished.Psychiatry.org
As you can see there are similarities with my condition of bipolar and this got me thinking, maybe some of the same techniques I use will also work well with schizophrenia. So I set on the trail of discovery. I wanted to make sure all the suggestions I give are thoroughly checked out with the current thought on medical websites, so it took me a little while to compile the information, but I learnt so much.
The symptoms of Schizophrenia can be found on the NHS website, and I won’t repeat them here as they are freely available to all. But I will quote this:
Schizophrenia does not cause someone to be violent and people with schizophrenia do not have a split personality.NHS
I think this is the most important point, and this is where many misconceptions come in. Some of those misconceptions I also fell under the spell of because I did not know enough, if anything, about the condition.
So, Let’s Get to Schizophrenia and Therapies
I love therapy as it helps so much with managing mental health conditions, but not everyone enjoys it, and I can understand why it can take a lot of effort, and you have to stick with it to gain the benefits. Therapy is individual what might work for one, might not work for another, so it is trial and error, but if you never try, you will never know if it could have improved your daily function.
Admittedly, I only love therapy after it has finished; I find it challenging to address certain thoughts and feelings. However, there are simpler therapies you can do from home, and they are for everyone, such as the hairbrush therapy I created.
Anyway, let’s crack on with the therapies. I will say that always speak to your community support worker if you have one when undertaking any new therapy to give you the go-ahead and use it in your management plan. If you don’t have a support worker, I have outlined the places you can get those therapies from.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
This is a standard treatment for many mental health issues and mental illnesses. I have written all about it before, and you can read the CBT article here. The theory behind this therapy helps you address your current issues; it is not interested in the past, really; it is about you now. You should get this treatment through your support network, but if not, then I suggest a CBT website called Online Therapy, and they are all about CBT.
Most people with chronic mental illness have to rely on family members for help; it takes the whole family to have therapy to help their loved ones. The therapy is designed to help you and your family cope with the condition, which is not easy for those just newly diagnosed. I want to say I have found an option to go online for this therapy, but I haven’t. This type of therapy will need to be organised through your medical practitioner.
I always make sure I have pencils, notepads and colouring pens to relax and try to focus on something for a short while. As someone with a chronic mental health condition, art therapy has proved a great help to me. These days you can buy numerous adult colouring books which have some fantastic pictures you can colour in. The very act of just concentrating on one thing really helps to still the mind, and it is one therapy you can do at home. However, try and get into a community art therapy session as it also opens you up to talking therapy such as CBT.
Since the pandemic began, I have not been able to attend my occupational therapy classes. I found them very useful for learning coping mechanisms and social skills. As someone who likes a group setting for therapy, then if you are like-minded, you will gain a lot of benefit from this. Occupational therapists run various courses, normally spanning one per week over eight to ten weeks, where you are coached through alternative ways of living your life and managing your wellbeing. It gives you greater awareness. Once again, this will usually be organised by your support worker; however, occupational therapy features a lot of mindfulness and living in the moment, which is something I truly believe in.
Often seen as traditional therapy and one which had been hijacked by life coaches and the such, it can, if provided by an authentic psychotherapist prove to be beneficial for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, for that matter. According to Sigmund Freud, who created the therapy, he hoped that with medical advancement, his theories of the subconscious mind would prove it to be useful for schizophrenia.
If you are going to undertake this therapy, make sure the therapist has been trained fully and currently sees other clients with schizophrenia. Some have not had any training with more chronic conditions.
For the UK, check out the professional body of psychotherapists here. And if you are in another country, type in psychotherapy professional bodies, and you should get a list of accredited therapists in your area.
I hope these suggestions will be of help to you and if you have been treated via an alternative therapy, please leave them in the comments below; it would be great for other visitors to know and for me.
Peace & Blessings