How Should I behave around the Person who is Ill?

It’s natural to feel frightened or bewildered around someone who is in a psychotic state. Remember that they are still your son, daughter, brother, sister, wife, husband, partner or friend, and that they will get better.

Guidelines for how to behave around someone in a psychotic state:

  • Be yourself.
  • Gain information about the illness and understand that the person may behaving and talking differently due to the psychotic symptoms.
  • Know that the situation is stressful and that your feelings of shock, fear, sadness, anger, frustration and despair are normal and will pass.
  • Talk to other people to help you to deal with these feelings.
  • Be patient. Have faith that the person will recover, even if progress seems slow.
  • A person experiencing an acute episode may seem childlike. They may need to be in a safe, comforting environment and may need others to help with decisions.
  • Try not to take it personally if the person says hurtful things.
  • The person may seem fixed in their beliefs and ideas. Resist getting drawn into long disagreements. Listen with interest to gain an understanding of their current reality—to show empathy and for future reference. You can discuss these topics in the future when the person is better.
  • It’s important to also take care of yourself so you do not get rundown.