Schizophrenia is complex. A person living with
the disease is easily overwhelmed by their
surrounding environment. Their speech and behavior
may be disorganized and delusional. Concentration is
limited and appropriate emotional responses minimal.
Communications with caregivers and medical providers
are part of this chaotic dynamic. The best thing a
caregiver can do before embarking on any important
conversation is to make sure they are prepared. They
must know when to communicate, what to communicate
and how. A skillful communicator will be able to
resolve issues and make daily living for their loved
one with schizophrenia a much more pleasant
A caregiver cannot force a loved one with
schizophrenia into a conversation, especially if
they are agitated or excited. Trying to calm them is
a way many people may attempt to proceed, but only
if the caregiver knows they can. Otherwise, let them
settle on their own.
Schizophrenia causes hallucinations, which become
a barrier to rational conversation. If these are
present, itís best a caregiver wait to have a
serious talk. The loved one is not in the right
frame of mind, or mentally able to move forward.
The caregiverís attitude at the time is just as
important and has a big effect on the conversationís
outcome. The first thing to remember is to not take
insults and verbal outbursts personally. A
caregiver cannot change delusions, nor should they
challenge them. A caregiver's logical thoughts will
only further confirm that a loved one's
schizophrenic delusions are real.
It's also not a good idea to speak with a loved
one during a time of personal distress. A caregiver
should not expect a person with schizophrenia to
deeply care about their problems. This is almost
certainly a result of the disease, which may cause
frustration and sadness for a caregiver. The reality
of schizophrenia is often brought to life at the
expense of the caregiverís emotions. This is why
itís important a caregiver really make an educated
decision whether the time is right to have a
conversation with a schizophrenic loved one.
Preparation is vital to success for both parties,
and eliminating undue conflict.
From family to physicians, a caregiver for
someone with schizophrenia spends much time in
medical appointments. The talk is usually of
treatments, diagnosis, future concerns, etc. At
some point, a caregiver must re-enter the world of
their loved one and explain the details in laymen's
terms. Discussing several issues at once will be
overwhelming for a loved one, so professionals
suggest a caregiver choose one area that is really
important. Itís helpful to focus on a specific
behavioral problem that needs addressing before
transitioning to the next.