Psychosocial interventions can help you overcome a lack of motivation to participate in everyday life often associated with schizophrenia, and help you regain a normal social life.4 It can bring great pleasure for you and your family to see you interacting as you did before your symptoms began and enjoying everyday activities again. For this to happen, your symptoms need to be controlled and you should take your medication as recommended by your healthcare team.
When experiencing mental health difficulties, it can be hard to focus on looking after yourself. Everybody, whether they have schizophrenia or not, should be encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle and take regular exercise. Exercise is beneficial for your heart and lungs, helps build muscle and strengthens your bones. Being overweight is a health risk and exercise is a good way to lose weight and/or minimise weight gain. With schizophrenia, this can be particularly important as weight gain is a possible side-effect of some antipsychotic medication.
In addition to the physical benefits, it has been shown that exercise can lead to improved mood and concentration; it can reduce anxiety and stress; and it can help raise self-esteem and motivation.
Exercising in a group, such as an aerobics class or a game of football, enables you to meet new people and improve your social skills. Exercise should be manageable and fun and you should start slowly and gently. It is important that you consult your healthcare team before starting a new exercise programme.
Positive employment goals
Schizophrenia often develops between the ages of 18 and 35, which are critical years for education and making career choices. The degree to which your thinking skills (sometimes referred to as ‘cognitive functions,’ for example, concentration, memory, thoughts, planning skills and ability to solve problems), may be impaired can affect your chances of continuing your education or being able to stay working.
With the help of antipsychotic medications and psychotherapy and psychosocial interventions your symptoms may be managed to a level that enables you to continue with, or return to education or employment. There are many people who have accomplished a great deal in spite of their schizophrenia and who have gone on to have happy, fulfilled lives.