WE LIVE WITH
I LIVE WITH

SCHIZOPHRENIA
and people don't realize how much courage it takes
and it takes strong support
from the people that care, too
Models are used for illustrative purposes only

We Live With Schizophrenia

For the estimated 2.4 million adults living with schizophrenia in the U.S., and the people who love and care for them, it takes courage, compassion, and a commitment to stand and face this serious condition together—always looking ahead with hope.

Whether you're living with this disease or caring for someone who is, we hope that our site can help provide some resources you need to face schizophrenia head on. Remember, we're in this together.

It takes strong support from the people that care, too.

THE INTERACTIVE CONVERSATION TOOL

Whether you live with schizophrenia or care for someone who does, our Interactive Conversation Tool may help you talk with your treatment team and loved ones about schizophrenia management, including treatment options.

Schizophrenia Is a Lifelong Condition

Most people out there don't understand what schizophrenia is. But the reality is, schizophrenia is a lifelong medical condition that affects 1 out of 100 adults in the U.S.

Because each person is unique, the symptoms of schizophrenia can be very different from one person to the next. And because schizophrenia is a lifelong condition, symptoms can also change, or come and go in phases.

Schizophrenia is nobody's fault.
Schizophrenia affects the brain. This can change how people think, feel, act, and live. It's important to remember that no one chooses to have schizophrenia or its symptoms.

Some commonly reported symptoms include:
  • Hallucinations: sensing things that others don't, like hearing or seeing things
  • Delusions: strongly believing something is true even when there's no evidence of it
  • Altered emotions: having feelings that don't seem to fit what's going on, or having no feelings at all
  • Withdrawal: no drive or desire to do the things you used to enjoy
  • Lack of motivation: difficulty staying focused and doing tasks
  • Disorganization: having disorganized thinking, speaking, or behavior
  • Cognitive: such as attention and memory problems

Accepting help or treatment
It's really important to know that a lot of people with schizophrenia may not see there's anything wrong, because of a clinical symptom called “lack of insight.” The symptom can make people think there's no need for treatment or medication, which may make it hard for them to accept help from family and caregivers.

Connect with us.

Register to receive information about schizophrenia management, including treatment options.

The Interactive Conversation Tool

Use the Interactive Conversation Tool — a personalized resource for talking about schizophrenia.

Get more information with our HelpSheets.

Our HelpSheets contain information and tips on schizophrenia topics that may be relevant to you. The first three are available to everyone. To access the fourth, please register, or confirm that you are already registered.

Connecting with Your Loved One

Receive tips on talking with your loved one.

For caregivers of people living with schizophrenia

View it now

Reaching for Maintenance

Learn more about how to reach a maintenance phase.

For people with schizophrenia and their caregivers

View it now

Working with the Treatment Team

Get suggestions for talking with the Treatment Team.

For people with schizophrenia and their caregivers

View it now

Caregivers and the Right to Help

Find out more on the role you can have in the treatment process.

For caregivers of people living with schizophrenia

Register to view

Schizophrenia treatment:
understanding your options

Psychosocial treatments, including one-on-one therapy, family therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and others, may help manage the symptoms of schizophrenia. Antipsychotic medication is also an important part of a treatment plan to help improve and maintain control of symptoms. Antipsychotic medicines include what are called “typicals” and “atypicals.” Pills and liquid are taken daily, while some injections are given twice a month and others given once monthly.*

The Maintenance Phase is following a treatment plan including taking your medication to help control symptoms and try to prevent acute episodes from coming back quickly. With appropriate medication and support, many people with schizophrenia can aim to lead productive lives. But even in a Maintenance Phase, there is a risk that acute episodes may come back. So, it’s especially important to remember to stay on treatment, even when symptoms improve—and to continue to work with the treatment team.

An Acute Phase of schizophrenia is when symptoms are typically severe and may lead to hospitalization. Acute episodes can keep happening, and for some may get worse over time.

Maintenance Treatment*
Daily
Oral Medication
Pills or liquid taken daily by the individual.
Orals are taken every day
Twice a Month
Long-Acting Medication
Injections given by healthcare professionals twice a month.
Medication is given twice a month.
Monthly
Long-Acting Medication
Once-monthly injection given by healthcare professionals.
Medication is given once a month.
*After Initial Dosing

Caregiving:
It Takes Working Together

Schizophrenia can be a lonely condition. The world outside often misunderstands schizophrenia, and doesn't know how much courage and compassion it takes to live with the condition. That's why it's so important for family, caregivers, and loved ones to stand together.

How family members can help:

  • They can use the Interactive Conversation Tool and receive personalized tips that may help them have a more meaningful conversation about the management of schizophrenia, including treatment options.
  • They can partner with their loved one and the rest of the Treatment Team to find an appropriate treatment plan.
  • They can remind their loved ones to take their medication, which may help prevent acute episodes from coming back quickly.
  • They can be the first to notice warning signs of an acute episode or side effects of medicine.
  • They can be “advocates,” and help loved ones work with the complicated healthcare system.
  • They can view our HelpSheets, which include useful information about schizophrenia.

Some things can make it hard for family and caregivers to offer help. Like when they feel “shut out” because doctor-patient confidentiality doesn't let them get information about their loved one's health. Even then, family and caregivers may still offer important information to the Treatment Team.

Reach out to any of the people on your Treatment Team for help and support.

A Treatment Team can be made up of one or more healthcare professionals—and is the best source of information about your loved one's condition. Here's a brief description of who might be on a Treatment Team.

  • Psychiatrists: The psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health, and prescribes and manages medication.
  • Psychologists, psychiatric social workers, or counselors: These are the professionals who help patients with what's called psychosocial treatments, such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) or family therapy.
  • Nurse practitioners and physician assistants: Many psychiatrists will rely on these healthcare professionals to help manage day-to-day treatment.
  • Nurses: Are in regular contact with patients, and often work closely with caregivers, case workers, and social workers to discuss a patient's treatment and needs.
  • Social workers: Many are trained as therapists and offer counseling and social skills training. Others can help arrange for various social services.
  • Case Managers: Can help find services and programs that help patients with daily living. They can also help apply for benefits and arrange for training.
  • Occupational therapists or employment counselors: Once a patient is sticking to treatment and in a Maintenance Phase, these professionals can help them find the skills needed for work or school.

View our HelpSheets

Our HelpSheets contain useful information about schizophrenia. They cover topics such as Connecting with Your Loved One, Working with the Treatment Team, Reaching for Maintenance, and Caregivers and the Right to Help.

Support Resources

Crisisi Management Resources

Additional Resources

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
The nation's largest grassroots mental health organization
1-800-950-6264

Mental Health America
Network of resources for living a mentally healthy life
1-800-969-6642

SAMHSA Mental Health Services
Resource for substance abuse and mental health

Bring Change 2 Mind
A national anti-stigma campaign aimed at removing misconceptions about mental illness

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Find out more and apply for disability benefits