It’s understandable to be apprehensive about dating or forming friendships after being diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Even people who are close to their families may keep their distance because they’re not sure how to maintain their relationships.
Either way, it’s essential to learn how these disorders affect you and how to balance a relationship after hearing the news of your diagnosis. Those close to you will understand and be happy to learn about what they can do to help you move forward.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized primarily by forms of schizophrenia, such as delusions, hallucinations, and symptoms of a mood disorder, such as depression and mania. Those who struggle with the condition are commonly misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia because schizoaffective disorder is less studied.
All relationships have their ups and downs, but when it comes to schizoaffective disorder, it’s possible for stable relationships to break under strain. The condition makes it challenging for someone to form a close bond. Individuals diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder most commonly learn of their diagnosis after being married, while single people tend to stay single.
Caring for Your Partner with Schizoaffective Disorder
If you recently have been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, the first step your partner should take is to show compassion. Their initial response must include kindness and love, and they should tell you how much they love you and that the diagnosis doesn’t change how they feel. We know it’s terrifying to learn of this condition, but your partner must be caring and understanding.
Caring for someone with this serious condition can be tiring and frustrating all at once, but remember: no one is alone. Therapists are available and ready to guide your relationship and assist you and your partner with the effects of schizoaffective disorder.
- The caregiver must set up their own support system. If your partner was recently diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, then they cannot meet your emotional needs like they once did. Caregivers to those with schizoaffective disorder will experience high levels of stress, and it’s crucial to have access to mental health support. This includes a therapist or counselor, as mentioned above. Friends and family should also offer support.
- Someone with schizoaffective disorder must accept treatment. Without treatment, the condition may cause you to act erratically and leave your partner subject to emotional neglect, verbal abuse, or delusional accusations. A healthy relationship cannot sustain this behavior.
- Both partners must communicate. Clear and open communication will help someone with schizoaffective disorder to find the support they need. In addition to speaking out, they will understand what’s expected of them in a relationship. Couples therapy will help both partners cope with the effects of the disorder on the relationship.
Schizoaffective and Relationships: Challenges and Solutions
It’s normal in relationships to juggle everyday tasks like balancing the finances or household chores. Unfortunately, those with schizoaffective disorder require additional help to manage these responsibilities. These include:
- Household duties
- Family interactions
Speak with your therapist to determine your course of action and how you can manage these activities delicately.