How do I help my schizophrenic wife

Here's how you can help when a family member has psychosis

Thomas, 38 years old, has had paranoid schizophrenia for several years. Even at a young age, his friends noticed that he sometimes felt threatened and perceived connections that they did not see. Over time, his fears and ideas of persecution increase more and more. Thomas withdraws from friends and family, can no longer do his work in the city administration and finally hardly ever leaves his apartment.

His parents don't quite understand what's wrong with him and are very worried. Eventually they urge him to go to a clinic. However, Thomas refuses for a long time because he fears that the doctors only want to harm him. At a moment when he feels particularly threatened by “criminals on the Internet who want to attack him”, his mother finally manages to take him to a clinic.

After being released, Thomas moves back to his parents' house. The mother reports that in some phases he is anxious and listless and often withdraws to his room. Then again he is fine and he is “almost the same as before”.

However, Thomas repeatedly stops his medication, so that his symptoms come back and he ultimately has to be treated again in a clinic. The parents take care of Thomas carefully, but notice that they reach their limits with increasing age. Over time, they become desperate because they have tried so much and they still relapse again and again.

What difficulties can arise in the family when a loved one is affected by psychosis?

When a relative falls ill with psychosis, it is usually very unsettling and stressful for the family. People often have delusions or hallucinations. They then often say things that are bizarre or terrifying or they behave in a strange way and are difficult for others to understand. It can be that the sick person withdraws or behaves suspiciously or hostile towards people who are close to them.

Most relatives do not know what is going on at first and find it difficult to understand the behavior of the person concerned. Often they are unsure how to behave towards the sick person and how to help them.