DEVELOPING A PLAN OF CARE

Managing schizophrenia

Managing schizophrenia is a team effort. The relationship between you and your doctor may even be referred to as a “therapeutic alliance.” Take a look at the ideas on this page and think about what may help you.

STRATEGIES FOR LIVING

Taking your medication as prescribed is key
Managing schizophrenia begins by partnering with your doctor to find the medication (or combination of medications) that works best for you. Because no single medication works for everyone, you and your doctor may have to try several medicines. Find out why some doctors prescribe LATUDA for their patients with schizophrenia.

Of course, even the best medication won’t work if it isn’t taken as prescribed. That’s why it’s critical to take your medication on time, every time, exactly as your doctor has told you.

Remembering to take medicine every day can be a challenge. This is especially true for people taking multiple medications. If remembering medication is a challenge for you, try one or more of these ideas:

  • Use a journal, calendar, or checklist
  • Put up reminder signs around your home
  • Take your medicine at the same time every day
  • Take your medicine at the same time as something you do every day without fail
  • Have a friend or family member remind you
  • Keep your medication in a place that helps you remember to take it

Talk to your doctor—promptly—about side effects
Sometimes people with schizophrenia stop taking their medication because they don’t like its side effects. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that is bothersome or doesn’t go away. A change in dose or medication may be needed.

Psychosocial treatment
Managing your schizophrenia is about more than taking medication. Psychosocial treatments are also important and may help you cope with some aspects of your illness. Examples of psychosocial treatment include cognitive behavioral therapy and social skills training.

Diet and exercise
Diet and exercise can play a big role in managing your health and should be discussed with your doctor. Atypical antipsychotics like LATUDA may make you more sensitive to heat. You may have trouble cooling off. Be careful when exercising or when doing things likely to cause dehydration or make you warm. Try to keep cool and drink plenty of water.

Treatment for substance abuse
Some people with schizophrenia also have problems with substance abuse (smoking, alcohol, or other drugs), which can make their health worse. When people have both schizophrenia and a substance abuse disorder, their best chance for recovery is a treatment program that includes both schizophrenia and substance abuse treatment.

BUILDING YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK

Rely on your team
You and your doctor should work together to develop your plan of care. After this plan is in place, review it from time to time and make any adjustments needed so it continues to work for you. Reach out to your team whenever you need support to remain on track with treatment.

Finding support
Being able to reach out to ask for help is important. Your support system may come from several sources, including your family, a residential or day program provider, friends or roommates, case managers, churches and synagogues, and others. In addition, getting involved with established support groups can be a great way to share experiences with, and get advice from others who are going through the same things.

IDEAS FOR STAYING POSITIVE AND PROACTIVE

Make it your business to know
Learning all you can about the basic facts of schizophrenia and its treatment can help you:

  • Make more informed decisions about your care
  • Recognize the early warning signs that your symptoms are worsening
  • Develop coping skills to deal with persistent symptoms

Do the things you enjoy
Find activities that you really enjoy, like walking, painting, or spending time with friends.

Talk to your doctor about side effects
Let your doctor know if you're experiencing side effects or worsening of symptoms. (If you’re not sure about the difference, ask.) Share any changes you've noticed since your last visit or call.

Consider your treatment goals
An important part of your care plan is, of course, finding and taking the medication that works best for you. In addition, here are a few thoughts to keep in mind as you move forward with your treatment:

  • Keep your goals achievable—Think about realistic life goals you want to achieve. Good examples might include taking on more responsibility at work, signing up for a class or improving a thorny relationship
  • Celebrate the “small stuff”—Maybe you're not finding full-time employment as quickly as you would like, but maybe you are involved with your church or keeping a regular exercise routine. Every achievement, however “small,” is an important part of your progress
  • Work with your doctor to create a comprehensive plan of care
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