Finding Love When You Have Schizophrenia: Dating Advice
Encounter can be difficult for anyone. A serious Mental Health state like schizophrenia adds even more challenges to the mix. Sometimes this can cause psychotic behaviors, such as hallucinations And delusional thought process. In severe cases, encounter is probably out of the question. Even if your condition is well treated, you may find it difficult to enjoy activities. It might also be difficult for you to show your emotions.
As a result, many people with schizophrenia find it difficult to start relationships and keep them. Others avoid it all together. But some are capable of having healthy relationships. If you have schizophrenia or are romantically involved with someone who does, here’s what you need to know.
It may not be good for you
You may never want or be able to pursue a romantic relationship – and that’s okay. “Your symptoms can prevent you from socializing or make you anxious,” says Lionel S. Wininger, PhD, a psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
If you are on treatment and your condition is well controlled, this might be something to try. Although many people with schizophrenia get worse, others get better and can have successful relationships.
It may take some time to find a treatment plan that works. You may have to wait weeks or even months for it to take full effect. Ask the doctor treating your schizophrenia if they think your plan is working and if you are ready. Besides medication, you’ll want to discuss lifestyle issues. “For example, if you are staying overnight at someone else’s house, do you have a plan to ensure that you are able to take your medication on time? says Alex Dimitriu, MD, psychiatrist and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine in California.
You also need to think about how the rest of your life is going. “Regularity is important if you have schizophrenia, and dating can disrupt that,” says Dimitriu. If you’re facing another big change, like a new job, location, or treatment plan, you might want to wait until you’re settled in to try dating.
How do you let them know?
There have been major advances in the treatment of this disease in recent decades.
But many people don’t fully understand mental illness, and there can be stigma or negative labels associated with it. For example, the person you see may have misconceptions about what it is. For example, they may think you have multiple personalities or that you hallucinate.
They may not know that most people who experience it are not violent and that treatment can relieve and even prevent psychosis.
That’s why you might want to wait until you’ve been out with someone a few times to tell them you have it. “Once the person gets to know you a bit, it may be easier for them to see that you don’t fit the stereotype of someone with schizophrenia,” Wininger says.
When you’re ready, tell them you’d like to discuss something personal. You might say something like, “I want to share something important with you. It’s hard to talk about, and I hope you’ll listen. Dimitriu says to stay honest and focus on the positive.
For example, you might say, “I have schizophrenia, but it’s been well managed and I haven’t had any symptoms for X months or years. Explain that this is a long-lasting mental disorder that can affect the way you think, feel, and behave. Also let them know that while he can cause serious symptoms, you can also treat it to avoid these problems in the future.
Your partner may have a negative reaction after finding out. Know that surprise and discomfort are normal. If the person cares about you and wants to continue seeing you, they will find a way to support you.
With schizophrenia, it can seem difficult to hone your social skills and build lasting relationships. But with effort and proper treatment, it can be done. One way to develop these skills is to join a support group where you can meet people who understand and help you through what you are going through. Building strong relationships can help you feel understood and supported to stay on track with your treatment.
Of course, support doesn’t have to come from romantic partners. But sometimes showing off – when you’re ready – can be rewarding.
Tips for improving dating
If your doctor gives you the green light and you feel ready:
Keep your expectations under control. Even if your condition is well managed and you feel well, keep in mind that it can cause social anxiety and other issues that may make it a challenge to date. You might have trouble concentrating or flat affect (when your voice and facial expressions don’t express your emotions). You may not talk as much as others, which can make communication difficult. It may be helpful to resolve some of these issues with a therapist. You will find ways to feel better about yourself and your condition.
Go slowly.Stress can make schizophrenia more difficult to manage. That’s why it makes sense to get into a relationship. You may want to choose low-key activities, such as meeting for coffee or a walk together, for your first dates. If it heats up, “it’s important to try to keep the rest of your life as regular as possible so you can stick to your treatment plan,” says Dimitriu.
Be aware that sexual side effects are common. Your medications may impact your interest in sex or your ability to be aroused or successful Orgasm. If you have any sexual side effects from the medications, talk to your doctor and your partner. It might help to switch medications.
Take a team approach. If you and your partner are getting serious, you might want to take them to doctor’s appointments or therapy sessions. “A committed partner probably knows you better than your health care supplier does,” says Wininger. “They can check in with you and help you pay attention to important signs [that you need to adjust your treatment], like feeling more depressed than usual. Support from a partner can be one more way to live better with schizophrenia.