Everyone who has schizophrenia will experience it differently. Presentation and severity of symptoms can vary, however they are likely to affect the personal life of the person with schizophrenia as well as their family and friends. For people with schizophrenia it is not always easy to maintain strong relationships. If someone close to you has schizophrenia there is information available for you to learn what you can do to help. Remember, support is very important for helping a person experiencing schizophrenia to stay well. Be prepared by learning more about how schizophrenia may impact someone’s personal life below.
People with schizophrenia may have a lot of trouble expressing their emotions and functioning in day to day situations.1 Facial expressions, speech and expressive gestures are all likely to decrease.2 Anxiety caused by hallucinations or delusions can cause a lot of distress and is likely to impact social interactions.2
People with schizophrenia can also be affected by feelings of shame or guilt, which can affect relationships with even their closest friends and family. If someone close to you has schizophrenia, remember that talking is important. One person whose brother had schizophrenia explained that she helped him feel more relaxed by talking in a calming manner in response to his worries and discussing normal daily activities.3
Schizophrenia symptoms can seem puzzling or frustrating to those around someone experiencing them. This means that many people with schizophrenia become socially withdrawn. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma around the diagnosis and this can seriously affect how people with schizophrenia integrate in social situations.
It can be distressing to see someone close to you experience schizophrenia and at times you may feel angry, critical and particularly emotional, also known as high emotional expressiveness.4 Remember that people with schizophrenia are particularly sensitive and aware of social cues. High emotional expressiveness can lead to a new psychotic crisis or hospitalisation.5
However, socialising is definitely on the cards. One person with schizophrenia explained that they would make socialising part of their routine, even if it was just to get out of the house and head to a coffee shop. There are online resources to help connect people with schizophrenia with others who may be able to relate.6
Lack of motivation
Negative symptoms cause many people with schizophrenia to lose interest in personal goals, work or school. You can expect a person with schizophrenia to have difficulty focussing on tasks and lack energy or motivation.1 They may find it difficult to function in a traditional job role and can become unable to work depending on how bad the symptoms are.
Difficulty completing tasks can cause people with schizophrenia to feel low self-worth and experience feelings of inadequacy. So, it is very important to focus on the positives. Try setting small, realistic goals and finding jobs or skills that are manageable and enjoyable.
One person with schizophrenia described how they found themselves able to handle freelance work, as the deadlines would keep them focussed, but they could choose to leave work if they were feeling unwell.6
If someone close to you has schizophrenia or if you have schizophrenia yourself, it is important to learn the facts about. Remember to read reliable resources and separate the myths from the truths. Find out more about signs and symptoms of schizophrenia to look out for and how you can help others who are experiencing schizophrenia.
- NHS, Symptoms, 2016. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/schizophrenia/symptoms/ [Accessed Jul 2019]
- NIMH, Schizophrenia, 2016. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml [Accessed Jul 2019]
- Mind, Schizophrenia, my brother and me, 2017. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/your-stories/schizophrenia-what-i-wish-someone-had-told-me/#.XULLm-hKhzo [Accessed Aug 2019]
- Amaresha A, Venkatasubramanian G. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012;34(1):12–20
- Mantovani LM, Ferretjans R, Marçal IM et al. Trends Psychiatry Psychother. 2016;38(2):97-9
- Mind, Schizophrenia: What I wish someone had told me, 2017. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/your-stories/schizophrenia-what-i-wish-someone-had-told-me/#.XULLm-hKhzo [Accessed Aug 2019]
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