3. Supporting your family member’s recovery

Relapse

A relapse occurs when a person in recovery re-experiences problems or symptoms. The chance of a relapse is highest in the first year after the initial episode. Relapses are most likely when people experience increased stress. Symptoms of psychosis tend to vary from mild, moderate or strong. Some relapses can be managed at home, but other relapses may require hospitalization.

A relapse into psychosis rarely happens without warning. Relapses usually occur when a person is triggered by emotions, social pressures or interpersonal problems. If you get to know your relative’s behaviour patterns, you can identify the warning signs. Seeking prompt attention can reduce the likelihood of a severe relapse and may prevent a hospital admission. Your relative should be encouraged to identify their warning signs and tell you and their health care team. If you notice the warning signs, promptly notify the team or encourage your relative to do so.

Common early warning signs include:

    feeling more tense, nervous or irritable than usual
    feeling less able to concentrate or pay attention
    needing more time alone and withdrawing from people they normally feel comfortable around
    increased sensitivity to light or sounds
    poor sleep (increased or decreased)
    increased symptoms of psychosis.