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Schizophrenia is a mental illness that has devastated hundreds of lives since the first diagnosis of it. For those whose families have been touched by schizophrenia, leading a normal life is often terribly hard to do. Victims of this illness are often medicated and locked up in an institution until progress has been made with the medication. There are other ways to treat schizophrenia, however, that don't require such medications. And there are people who, despite the odds, have overcome schizophrenia without medication. John Nash, the man on which the movie "A Beautiful Mind" is based, stopped taking medications for his schizophrenia and recovered from it over the course of a couple of decades.
Find hope. Studies show that schizophrenics are much more likely to recover without medications if they truly believe there is hope for recovery from this illness. Try finding examples of extremely schizophrenic people who have recovered from it and gone on to live their lives.
Create a healthy home and lifestyle. Even those who have no wife/husband and kids need to feel the stability of a home, income, and day to day rituals. Contacting your Social Security office might help you with this step because they might be able to assign you a case worker and help you find a home and job.
Help build supportive relationships. This step is important to the recovering schizophrenics of the world. Some people with this mental illness are institutionalized and kept hidden from the world. This can be accomplished through friends of family, support groups for the mentally ill or through work.
Being included in a community or wider group of people, besides family, is important. Getting and maintaining a job is a step toward this goal, though it may be difficult to overcome prejudice against a mentally ill person. There will be setbacks and trials, and it's important to help the person realize that this is part of a normal life.
Build problem solving and coping strategies. Being able to deal with the bills, provide for someone or something (even a cat or dog), and finding their own help with their problems is an important part of recovery. Let the person help make her own decisions, including how much to spend on groceries, which therapist to visit, and whether to pay the electric or gas bill first.
Continue therapy. Use the empowerment method of recovery is an excellent alternative to medicines, but there can be no help for a mental illness without the help and support of a therapist, an expert who can guide the ill person through the above steps and help him deal with the setbacks.
Do not refer to the person as ill or sick. Studies show that being labeled as ill or sick can be a hindrance on the person, who feels as though he has to recover from the illness itself and the label.
This is in no way to fill in as the advice of a licensed professional. Talk with doctors and therapists before beginning any treatment program.