As well as monitoring your mental health, your healthcare team and GP should monitor your physical health.
A healthy lifestyle,including having a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and takingregular exercise, is good for you and can reduce your risk of developing Cardiovascular disease or diabetes . You should also try to avoid too much stress and get a proper amount of sleep.
You should have a check-up with your GP at least once a year to monitor your risk of developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes. This will include recording your weight, checking your blood pressure, and having any appropriate blood tests.
Rates of smokingin people with schizophrenia are three times higher than in the general population. If you're a smoker, you're at a higher risk of developing cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Stopping smoking has clear physical health benefits, but it's also been shown to improve the mental health of people with schizophrenia.
Find out how stopping smoking can improve your mental health .
Research has shown you're up to four times more likely to quit smoking if you use NHS support as well as stop smoking medicines, such as patches, gum or inhalators.
Ask your GP about this orgo to the NHS Smokefree website to find out more.
If you take antipsychotic medicines and want to stop smoking, it's very importantto talk to your GP or psychiatrist before you stop.
The dosage of your prescription drugs may need to be monitored and the amount you have to take could be reduced.
While alcohol and drugs may provide short-term relief from your symptoms, they're likely to make your symptoms worse in the long run.
Alcohol can cause depression and psychosis, while illegal drugs may make your schizophrenia worse. Drugs and alcohol can also react badly with antipsychotic medicines.
If you're currently using drugs or alcohol andfinding it hard to stop, ask your care co-ordinator or GP for help.
In the course of your treatment for schizophrenia, you'll be involved with many different services. Some are accessed through referral from your GP, others through your local authority.
These services may include:
Avoid too much stress, including work-related stress. If you're employed, you may be able to work shorter hours or in a more flexible way.
Under the Equality Act 2010 , all employers must make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities, including people diagnosed with schizophrenia or other mental illnesses.
Severalorganisations provide support, training and advice for people with schizophrenia who wish to continue working.
Your community mental health team is a good first point of contact to find out what services and support are available for you.
Mental health charities such as Mind or Rethink Mental Illness are also an excellent source of information on training and employment.
If you're unable to work as a result of your mental illness, you're entitled to financial support, such as Incapacity Benefit.
Many people find it helpful to meet other people with the same experiences for mutual support and to share ideas. It's also an important reminder that you're not alone.
Charities and support groups allow individuals and families to share experiences and coping strategies, campaign for better services, and provide support.
Useful charities, support groups and associations include:
There are also other places that offer support to people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
Even if you don't have a job or are unable to work, it's still important to go out and do everyday things andgive a structure to your week.
Many people regularly go to a day hospital, day centre or community mental health centre. These offer a range of activities thatallow you to get active again and spend some time in the company of other people.
These provide training to help you develop your work skills and support you back into work. They often have contacts with local employers.
This could be a bedsit or flat where there's someone around who is trained to support you and help you deal with day-to-day problems.
You may be offeredthe chance tomeet regularlywith a trained peer support worker who has recovered from psychosis or schizophrenia themselves.
Friends, relatives and partners have a vital role in helping people with schizophrenia recover, and make a relapse less likely.
It's very important not to blame the person with schizophrenia or tell them to "pull themselves together", or blame other people.It's important to stay positive and supportive when dealing with a friend or loved one's mental illness.
As well as supporting the person with schizophrenia, you may want to get support to cope with your own feelings.Several voluntary organisations provide help and support for carers.
Friends and family should tryto understand what schizophrenia is, how it affects people, and how they can help.You can provide emotional and practical support, and encourage people to seek appropriate support and treatment.
As part of someone's treatment, you may be offered family therapy. This can provide information and support for the person with schizophrenia and their family.
Friends and family can play a major role by monitoring the person's mental state, watching out for any signs of relapse, and encouraging them to take their medication and attend medical appointments.
If you're the nearest relative of a person who has schizophrenia, you have certain rights that can be used to protect the patient's interests.
These include requesting that the local social services authority ask an approved mental health professional to consider whether the person with schizophrenia should be detained in hospital.
Many people with schizophrenia experience periods of depression . Don't ignore these symptoms.Ifdepression isn't treated,it can worsen and lead to suicidal thoughts.
Studies have shownpeople with schizophrenia have a higher chance of committing suicide .
If you've been feeling particularly down over the last month and no longer take pleasure in the things you used to enjoy, you may be depressed. See your GP for advice and treatment.
Immediately report any suicidal thoughts to your GP or care co-ordinator.
The warning signs that people with depression and schizophrenia may be considering suicide include:
If you see any of these warning signs:
If you feel there's an immediate danger of the person committing suicide, stay with them or have someone else stay with them. Remove allavailable means of suicide, such as sharp objects and medication.
Read about schizophrenia, a long-term mental health condition that causes a range of different psychological symptoms.
Read about symptoms of schizophrenia, including hallucinations, delusions, confused thoughts and changes in behaviour.
Read about the causes of schizophrenia. The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown, but research suggests a combination of factors are responsible.
Read about diagnosing schizophrenia. There's no single test and the condition is usually diagnosed after assessment by a mental health specialist.
Read about treating schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is usually treated with an individually tailored combination of therapy and medication.
Read about living with schizophrenia. Most people with schizophrenia make a recovery, although many experience the occasional return of symptoms (relapses).