I think medicine can help with short term psychotic issues, but the underlying issues and depression side of things has been better dealt with through therapy and lifestyle changes.
Physical health checks
Medication (especially antipsychotics) can have an impact on your physical health so you should receive regular check-ups from your GP on your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol and heart function.
Smoking is also known to affect the type of side-effects you may get from medication, so support to stop smoking may be offered where appropriate.
Art, music, dance or drama therapies may help you to express how you are feeling, especially if it is difficult to talk about things.
They can also help you come to terms with traumatic events that you may have experienced in the past and which may be contributing to your psychotic experiences.
As with all treatments, different things work for different people at different times in their lives, and it's not easy to predict which type of therapy you might find useful or effective.
Some people tell us that they have been able to reach a place of balance or recovery through non-medication based approaches such as arts therapies, while other people find that ongoing medication is needed to help manage their symptoms - there is no one approach and different treatments and forms of support work for different people.
For further information see our pages on arts and creative therapies.
This is a form of treatment that aims to provide support for the whole household. It can help your family, or the people you live with, to understand:
- what you are going through
- how their responses may help or make matters worse for each other as well as for you
- what is helpful and unhelpful for you.
For example, if you are unwell and your family members are very worried about you, they may unintentionally focus too much attention on you, making you feel more distressed.
It can help you:
- understand how your experience and symptoms affect those living with you
- treat existing problems
- work on strategies to prevent problems from coming back.
For more information see the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust's information leaflet on family intervention in psychosis and ask your community mental health team or psychiatrist to refer you.
If you are a friend or family member of someone with schizoaffective disorder, see our page on how friends and family can help.
Therapeutic communities provide a supportive, live-in environment for people with mental health problems. They usually hold regular meetings with all residents.
You may benefit from the insights that others with similar problems can offer, and learn to live successfully in a group. The length of stay is usually limited to a set period of time.
If you are interested in being referred to a therapeutic community, talk to your community mental health team or psychiatrist.
Listen to Clarissa's story in this podcast about living in a therapeutic community.
I was part of the community for 18 months which was both unbelievably helpful, and incredibly hard work. The support I received from other patients was amazing and has provided me with wonderful friendships.
This information was published in May 2019. We will revise it in 2022.