Road to Recovery After a Schizophrenia Diagnosis

A schizophrenia diagnosis can be traumatic. In order to start healing you need to grapple with the truth and accept that you have the condition. Years of denial will lead to lost opportunities, damaged physical and mental health. Denial is the norm. Often patients don't accept the diagnosis easily or willingly. The sooner you accept that you have schizophrenia, the easier your road to recovery will be.

Woman waking up in the morning and stretching arms.

The only real failure is the failure to try

With schizophrenia, know that some days getting out of bed will be a challenge. Trying can be as simple as waking up and facing the day. There is no rule book on how to live life with schizophrenia. You get to decide how you want to live your life.

Woman taking time to reflect.

Spend time reflecting

Give yourself time when it comes to dealing with your schizophrenia. Create a retreat at home or find one in your community, where you can leave stress and practice coping techniques. Self-reflection is key in the recovery process. Mindful cocooning is a helpful tool. You need to rest and recharge your batteries and conserve your energy to deal with the aftershock of your diagnosis.

Man about to take a pill with water.

Take your medication as prescribed

To see the best results you must take your schizophrenia medication daily. Along with regular therapy, the drugs will help you function. Talk to your psychiatrist as soon as you experience side effects, residual or breakthrough symptoms, or increase stress levels. Work with your medical professionals to adjust the dose or change medication as necessary.

Man counseling a woman.

Develop a relapse prevention plan

Attend the NAMI peer-to-peer nine-week education course to create your plan and you mental health care advance directive. Your directive will legally assign another person to speak up on your behalf about your wishes for treatment when you are incapacitated. Call NAMI at (800) 950-NAMI (6264) for details about this program.

Group of friends hugging and being supportive.

Create your own support network

Seek support from your psychiatrist, therapist, family, friends, and peers. Join a weekly, NAMI support group with other people who are living with schizophrenia. Sharing and engaging will help your recovery.

The grass is greener on the other side.

Don't compare yourself to others

Don't compare yourself and your abilities to someone else. The grass isn't greener over there. You are to be praised for choosing recovery. It isn't quick and easy, but it'll be some of the most rewarding work you will do. You'll have to work hard. No one else can do this for you. You have to take action every day.

Young sad man with hand on his forehead.

Failure is the cost of winning

In the beginning, you'll take one step back for every two steps forward. Give yourself as much time as you need to figure out what works for you and what doesn't. With time, those two steps forward will come easier to you and the steps backwards will not be as frequent.

Hand reaching for the stars.

Hold on to your dreams

Don't let schizophrenia stop you from achieving your dreams. Everyone has limitations, but we all have strengths and talents. You have everything necessary to succeed inside of you.

Woman painting in an art class.

Embrace your struggle

The only way through your pain is through it. You might be tempted to numb your pain from schizophrenia with food or alcohol. Stop. Find healthy ways to deal. Take up a hobby like drawing or painting. Volunteer. Helping others will boost your own spirits.

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The HealthCentral Editorial Team

HealthCentral's team of editors based in New York City and Arlington, VA, collaborates with patient advocates, medical professionals, and health journalists worldwide to bring you medically vetted information and personal stories from people living with chronic conditions to help you navigate the best path forward with your health—no matter your starting point.