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Explains what schizoaffective disorder is, including its symptoms and causes. Gives advice on how you can help yourself and what types of treatment and support are available, as well as guidance for friends and family.
Support provided by family and friends can play an important role in helping someone recover from an episode of schizoaffective disorder and reducing the likelihood of them having further episodes.
It can, however, be stressful to care for or support somebody and you may also want or need support yourself.
This page will offer some suggestions on how you can help others and yourself:
Most people want to feel cared about, to not feel alone, and want someone they can talk about their feelings and options with. Learning about and understanding the impact of schizoaffective disorder can help you:
If someone is experiencing psychotic symptoms, such as hearing voices, it can be very helpful if you:
Ask your friend or relative how you can be most helpful. Practical things you can do might include:
When your friend or relative is feeling well, it can be helpful to discuss with them how you can help if a crisis occurs or if they are at the start of another episode. You might:
This can help them to avoid crises or manage them differently in future where possible.
"My fiancée isn't afraid to talk to me if she thinks I am getting worse. This has helped me notice changes myself."
If you think your friend or family member may be at risk of hurting themselves or others, it may be necessary to consider a mental health assessment for them.
The nearest relative, as defined under the Mental Health Act, can request that the person at risk be given a mental health assessment by an approved mental health professional. This assessment involves considering treatment options and deciding whether or not the person should be admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act.
It can be very upsetting when someone you are close to experiences a psychotic episode with severe depression or mania.
You may find it helpful to get support in coping with your own feelings, either through talking therapy or peer support, where you can talk to other people who have similar experiences. This support may be available at a local Mind or other carers’ groups, such as Carers UK.
Carers are also entitled to have their own needs for practical and emotional support assessed by social services, as part of a carer’s assessment. A number of national and local voluntary organisations provide help and information for carers on these topics. Your mental health is important too, and looking after someone else could put a strain on your wellbeing.
This information was published in May 2019. We will revise it in 2022.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.