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How to Help a Spouse with Schizophrenia

Learn how to help a spouse with schizophrenia from psychiatrist Jeanie Tse in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Hi. I'm Jeanie Tse, and I'm here to answer the question, "How do you support your spouse with schizophrenia?"

Because schizophrenia starts to set in around the ages of 25 to 35, many people get married before they discover that they have schizophrenia, or they discover their spouse has schizophrenia. And so, it can really change the relationship and the dynamic in many ways. I've identified four Ls that people should think about when they're trying to support their spouse with schizophrenia.

The first one is to learn about the disorder, to learn that it's a brain disorder, take away the blame, and to understand what are the triggers for relapse for your partner are really important. Learning about to help them self-manage their illness is important as well. Learning.

The second is listening. So, people with schizophrenia can sometimes feel very alone. Sometimes they're paranoid and feel like nobody understands them. So, just stepping back and listening, and we talk about reflect listening, where all you do is repeat what the person is saying to you so that you show that you're understanding and not judging. That's one way of regaining the trust that may have been being broken down in your relationship.

So, learning, listening, linking up. You need support to. On the plane they tell you, "Put on your own oxygen mask first, before helping somebody else." And so, gaining support, which is available through organizations like the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. They have lots of groups for families. It's NAMI.org, if you want to look it up online. That's really important. So, having friends and family around you for support is important.

So, the fourth L is love, though. To constantly try to remember the things that brought you together, what makes that person so special to you, and what your hopes and dreams are together, because there is a chance at full recovery for people with schizophrenia. So, you and your partner can still lead a healthy and productive life together. Those are really important things to remember.

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