Learn to recognise your disorder
It is important to learn about your symptoms and to learn about ways of dealing with them. All young people who are diagnosed schizophrenics are offered education about the disorder.
Be aware of your warning signs
You can help prevent a relapse (another psychotic episode) yourself by being aware of the warning signs that occur. Your warning signs are personal – everybody’s warning signs are different. The warning signs could be that, in the run-up to a psychotic episode, you become more irritable, you isolate yourself more, you sleep less, become increasingly sad and have great difficulty concentrating. It can be overwhelming to have to think back to how you felt just before a psychotic episode occurred, but you and your therapist can fill in forms that describe symptoms. These forms may help you to realise what was happening before the psychotic episode. It is a good idea for you and your parents and close relatives to make a pact about who you should talk to if you become aware of warning signs of a relapse. It is also important for your parents and relatives to know what your personal warning signs are if you are in danger of having a relapse. Some young people do not want their parents to be informed, and they do not wish their parents to know their symptoms. If that is the case, it is important for there to be other people you can trust.
Make a note of what works well for you when you are in a bad way
You can write down the things you do that work well for you when you are in a bad way. For example, that might be spending time with other people, being alone, going for a walk, playing games/computer games, knitting, or watching a film. Use flash cards, your calendar, mobile phone or perhaps your tablet/iPad so you can always carry these notes around with you.
Comply with medication
It is important to comply with medication for as long as your therapist recommends it. If you have any doubts or reservations about your medication, it is a good idea to talk to your therapist.
Make sure you sleep well and eat healthy food
It is important that your circadian rhythm is as stable as possible, with regular sleep, and that you remember to take your meals. When you do not feel you can cope with very much, you might also find that you are more easily tempted to eat fast food, but it is important to have healthy eating habits.
Exercise and take part in other activities that interest you
This could help alleviate the sad thoughts and reduce the stress and unpleasantness.
Avoid excess alcohol
It can stop your treatment working and increase the risk of more symptoms. Consuming a lot of alcohol alongside medication will cause liver damage in the long term.
Include breaks and rest in your everyday routine
It is a great idea to organise your routine so that there is room for breaks or for leisure activities and other positive experiences too.