Personal Schizoprenia Prevention and Risk Reduction Actions
Don't use street drugs, and moderate any use of alcohol. Street drugs have chemicals in them that are harmful to the teen brain. Significant alcohol consumption has also been shown to cause brain damage and potentially increased risk of psychosis and likely also schizophrenia. Moreover, a significant amount of research indicates that drugs and alcohol are even more risky (more likely to cause serious brain damage) for people who have a history of mental illness in their family. It is also notable that alcohol abuse is a stronger predictor of psychotic
symptoms than regular cannabis use (by a factor of four)(source).
Unfortunately, many people who have mental health problems never get formally evaluated by a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist, and sometimes parents don't know about, or don't tell their children about mental illness that may be in their family (for example, they might just not talk about an uncle or cousin that was always a little strange or eccentric - when in fact the person was mentally ill) so just because you haven't heard of any mental illness in your family - doesn't mean that there wasn't any.
Make an ongoing effort to develop your social skills as much as you can and maintain at least a few close friendships that you can discuss issues with freely. If you have any tendencies towards shyness - make an extra effort to learn about social skills as is covered in the books listed below. Social skills are like any other skills; something that we all must learn about and practice to improve. Some parents are not very good at teaching social skills and so frequently children and young adults must make their own efforts to learn them. The area of "emotional intelligence" is a closely related area that researchers suggested is an important to enhance our knowledge and skills in. Following are some good resources and books that are designed to help you improve these skills:
Avoid social isolation - don't spend too much time alone - try to get out and enjoy time with your friends every day or two, at least. If you go to college, live with roommates that you get along well with, don’t get too isolated.
Make an ongoing effort to maintain friendships with adults who you trust and respect and who are compassionate helpful with any challenges you face. Many people grow up in families where children feel they are unable to talk with their parents. In these cases children may benefit by seeking out other adults and relatives that they feel that they can trust, and who are interested in helping, who they can seek help and advice from. These other adults may be good teachers, school counselors, or family relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.).
Make an extra effort to learn positive perspectives on the world and situations you encounter. Make sure you understand that setbacks or problems you encounter in life are opportunities for growth and merely part of a normal life and a valuable learning experience. Problems or difficulties are not a statement or judgement about you personally - but simply an indication that you hadn't learned how to solve that given problem yet. With time and effort most problems can be understood and resolved.
Listen to this good interview with Dr. Carol Dweck that explains why its important to avoid a "fixed mindset" and to instead to develop a "growth mindset" - so that you understand that setbacks and challenges in life are normal and merely learning experiences that prepare you for greater success in the future.
(Watch Video Below).
Make extra effort to learn how to deal with stress and anxiety / fear (and moderate exposure to such stresses) and get regular exercise. When you do feel stress, depression or sadness, fear or anxiety (high levels of worry, fear, or perfectionism) – discuss the issues with close friends or family members, and read the books listed below to learn the skills that will allow you to reduce the worries, fear and anxiety so as to have a positive outlook on life. Also, be sure to get regular excercise (30 minutes of vigorous excercise three to five times a week).
Seek Help from Qualified Psychologists and Psychistrists if you have problems coping.
Seek out a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist if you are having difficulty dealing with any stress, anxiety and worry, sadness or depression or have any odd thoughts that you don’t understand. Its always better to get help from the psychologist sooner rather than later. If you have a family history of mental illness, be sure to tell the psychologist or psychiatrist because that will help them plan the most effective therapies for you.
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