Common Stages of Adjustment for Family Members

mother sitting on a bench with her head in her hand worried and tired

It is distressing to learn that someone close to you is experiencing psychosis. You may experience a variety of emotions, including shock, confusion, bewilderment, and guilt. There is no right or wrong way to feel, and you should not feel disloyal or uncaring for any of the thoughts or feelings you are having. It is common for families and friends to go through the following stages:

  • As you realize something serious is happening to your loved one, you may feel worried or frightened.
  • As the problem worsens, you may realize you can’t manage it yourself and seek help.
  • You’ll probably have lots of questions, all of which are normal: What caused this? How do you treat it? What can I do to help? What should we tell people? Should we have sought help sooner? Could it happen again?
  • As the person begins to recover, you will be relieved. You may understand the illness more and start to feel hopeful about the future.

Meeting your loved one’s needs for independence and care is a balancing act. As he or she starts to reintegrate back into daily life, you may find yourself nervously watching for signs of relapse, and you may be try to shield your loved one from anything that might cause a relapse.

With a return to normalcy, you may speak with your loved one about psychosis, how it affected everyone involved, and how to help each other in the future.

Families, partners and friends need time to understand and accept what has happened. Don’t keep things bottled up. Talking with family members, friends, or professionals is very helpful.

How Can I Assist with Recovery?

Family, partners, and friends are very important in the process of recovery. You can provide love, stability, and reassurance as well as help with practical issues. You may also need help yourself sort out your feelings and adjust to all that has happened. These support agencies can help: