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How do I handle a person with schizophrenia when they become agitated?

Mark Moronell, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
If your friend or loved one with schizophrenia becomes agitated, there are several steps you can take to help him calm down. Of course, if you feel that you are in danger of being harmed, or that the individual may self-harm, call 911 immediately. Many times, a person will calm down if the problem that caused the agitation is solved. If this does not happen, and the person is still wound up, try the following steps, recommended by the National Institutes of Health:

• Try reducing external noises and dimming the lighting
• Create a tranquil atmosphere
• Ask the agitated person if he has medications, like antipsychotic medicines, or a sedative, that might help him calm down
• Recommend that the person lie down, relax, and try to get some sleep

Whatever you do, do not force the person to do anything, and do not use any type of restraint. This could just make him more hostile, angry, or aggressive. If symptoms persist, call 911 or a medical professional.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.