In reality, many people living with a severe mental illness, even while taking their medication(s), still experience ongoing or reoccurring psychiatric symptoms. So don’t panic. If you are aware of your persistent or reoccurring symptoms, you may be able to avoid a relapse. Relapse signs may or may not be different from your reoccurring symptoms. Relapse signs refer to those physical, behavioral, and emotional signals that indicate a return or increase in the active symptoms of an illness. For example, let’s say that even with the use of medication(s) and ongoing visits to your psychiatrist, you still hear low, muffled voices now and then. But over the last few weeks, you have noticed an increase in these voices. Well, if you stop to think about recent events that have recently occurred, you may find a link. You may find that the increase in your symptoms is directly related to a change or current stressor in your life. Through evaluation, you may be able to make some changes in your life before your symptoms become unmanageable.
Symptoms of a pending relapse can include:
- Increased psychotic symptoms.
- Increased isolation.
- Reoccurrence of negative feelings or thoughts.
- A decrease in the participation of healthy behaviors.
But each person is different and may have other signs. So you need to be aware of your signals and then be prepared to make changes before those relapse signs usher in a full-blown reoccurrence of your illness. Note: an increase in symptoms does not necessarily mean that you are headed for relapse or that you need to be hospitalized. However, increased symptoms signal a need for you to take a look at your life, talk to someone, and contact your doctor as soon as possible.
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