Mindfulness, a friend to people struggling with schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a complicated disorder to treat, largely because of the varying symptoms. Pharmaceutical companies continue to research and develop treatment options that effectively manage symptoms. To compliment treatment, healthcare professionals are exploring the benefits of mindfulness-based interventions.1
Some of the benefits of mindfulness techniques include,2
- Healthier sleep due to the mind and body receiving better rest.
- Decreases the frequency of depression and anxiety, which is a contributing factor to increased symptoms of schizophrenia.
- -Improvement of a person’s brain functions that include learning and memory processes, emotional regulation, self-referential processing and perspective taking.
- A better coping process toward situations that induce stress, fear and anxiety.
Types of mindfulness-based interventions
The following techniques can be used to positively impact the lives of people living with schizophrenia,
Scientists have found meditation improves psychosocial functions and leads to positive emotions as a person feels at ease after a session of meditation. Meditation gives a person living with schizophrenia a deeper insight and acceptance of their symptoms, including hallucinations and delusional behaviour.1
Yoga has demonstrated success in improving cognitive function, decreasing the possibility of obesity and improving the ability to focus better. Additionally, specific yoga sequences have been created for people living with schizophrenia. These include asanas and pranayama/breathing exercises that effectively manage symptoms such as,4
– Delusional behaviour by limiting stressors on the mind.
– Hallucinations by regulating the autonomic nervous system.
As research into mindfulness-based intervention continues, it’s important to remember that schizophrenia must be diagnosed by a healthcare professional and treated with medication. Either a daily, oral medication or a monthly injectable will be prescribed. The injectable effectively manages symptoms of schizophrenia for longer periods and reduces the burden on a person living with the disorder.5 Engaging in mindfulness techniques will work in conjunction with prescribed medication and adds to the long-term improvement of symptoms, resulting in a better quality of life.
If you’re a caregiver or a person diagnosed with schizophrenia, it’s crucial to learn all there is to know about the disorder. Information is power and will prepare you for anything the disorder might throw at you. Visit schizophrenia24x7.co.za or the online Facebook community, Our Mental Health for resources and information, and to be part of a caring and informed community.