Five Tips for Living with Mental Illness

Mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or bipolar disorder are some of the most frequent in our population. Their detection has an impact on the mental health of the patient and his or her family. Psychiatrist Dr. Zafra gives some advice on how to cope with this situation.

The detection of a disease is an emotional impact for the patient. From that moment the family will be a fundamental support for its stability, to contribute in its calmness you can follow the following advice:

1. The family is an indispensable support for the patient and must be integrated in the therapeutic approach from the beginning of the treatment. If the family is aware of the disease, they will be actively involved in the treatment and the patient will have a better prognosis.

2. Illness in a family member is a change for everyone. The family must make use of the tools acquired during the therapies, assuming part of the responsibility that implies making the proposed modifications that help in the recovery process.

3. The family and the patient need to be linked to the professionals to strengthen the accompaniment and support in the development of recovery. It is essential to reach a consensus and strengthen the changes acquired by forming a single team with common objectives.

4. The family must learn to recognize the warning signs and symptoms that warn of relapses of the disease. They have the duty to communicate this to the professional as early as possible, who will propose therapeutic changes, either ambulatory or hospitalized, to avoid serious clinical situations.

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5. Family and social support should facilitate the destigmatization, individualization and maximum autonomy of the patient. The ultimate goal being the active involvement of the patient in productive, satisfying, socially accepted and rewarding activities.