Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, Assistant Professor in neurosurgery at Emory University and Associate Chief of the neurosurgery service at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, recently published two articles in Everyday Health about schizophrenia.
In “Schizophrenia: Spotting a Relapse,” Dr. Gupta writes about the importance of recognizing triggers and early signs to help avoid a relapse or minimize its severity. “If the caregiver sees a change in the usual activities of the person with schizophrenia, that would be something to be concerned about,” says Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., President and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. He goes on to emphasize the importance of support systems for those who are ill: “Part of why it’s so important for people with schizophrenia to have good support systems is that their relatives may pick up on these symptoms before they do.” Dr. Borenstein, also a board-certified psychiatrist, goes on to suggest effective approaches for family members and/or caregivers who notice concerning behaviors or signs of potential relapse.
In the article “Schizophrenia: Caring for Someone at Home,” Dr. Gupta addresses the challenges for both patients and their caregivers after a hospitalization and upon returning home. Dr. Borenstein emphasizes how important it is that a patient receives medical care that “treats the whole person.” He recommends psychiatric treatment that includes medication; individual talk therapy, family therapy, or group therapy; and an overall regimen for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. To relieve stress, people with schizophrenia may benefit from relaxation techniques like deep-breathing, meditation, yoga, or tai chi. The article also suggests developing a crisis management plan that is documented and shared with everyone involved in caring for a person with schizophrenia.