Schizophrenia is a challenging disorder that makes it problematic to manage emotions, differentiate between what is real and unreal, think clearly, relate to others, and function normally.

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects the way a person acts, thinks and see in the world. Individuals with schizophrenia have an altered perception of reality and therefore may see or hear things that do not exist, speak in strange or confusing ways, believe that others are trying to harm them, or feel like they're being constantly watched. With such confusion between the real and the imaginary, schizophrenia makes it difficult to participate in the activities of daily life. Therefore individuals with schizophrenia may withdraw from the outside world or acting in confusing manner.

When the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are ignored or improperly treated, the effects can be devastating both to the individual with the disorder and those around them. Some of the possible effects of schizophrenia are:

Relationship problems - relationships suffer because people with schizophrenia often withdraw and isolate themselves. Paranoia can also cause a person with schizophrenia to be suspicious of friends and family.

Disruption to normal daily activities - Schizophrenia can have a negative impact on daily functioning. This can be due to social difficulties, lack of motivation and feelings of helplessness. A schizophrenic person's symptoms such as; delusions, hallucinations, and disorganised thoughts may prevent them from participating in daily activities such as bathing, eating or running errands.

Our Occupational Therapists can support individuals in the development of self-management strategies. We are dedicated to empowering individuals and enabling them to live their life to the fullest.

Problems associated with schizophrenia

Schizophrenia presentsvery differently between each and every individual diagnosed. This condition can therefore impact greatly on an individual's abilities to complete any of the following day to day activities:

  • Washing
  • Dressing
  • Driving
  • Work activities
  • Sleeping
  • Leisure activities
  • Social activities
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning

Our Occupational Therapists can help people with schizophrenia regain hope and confidence by teaching them coping strategies to deal with negative feelings. This may include mindfulness or relaxation techniques to help people to explore and accept their difficult feelings. Our Occupational Therapists can also help people develop their interpersonal and communication skills to express their feelings more appropriately.

How can these difficulties impact on function?

Schizophrenia is a long term mental disorder which requires on-going treatment to reduce the loss of productivity. Below is a summary of how schizophrenia can affect the different aspects of an individual's life:


  • Difficulties sleeping
  • Difficulties washing and dressing independently
  • Difficulties cleaning
  • Difficulties cooking
  • Difficulties getting up in the mornings


  • Stigma
  • Completing social activities
  • Participating in leisure activities
  • Feelings of depression and stress


  • Reduced motivation
  • Feelings of stress
  • Work pressures

What exactly is schizophrenia?

The cause of schizophrenia is not yet fully known. However links have been made between interactions with genetic and environmental factors.

There is a strong hereditary component to schizophrenia suggesting that individuals with a close relative, who has schizophrenia, have an increasing chance of developing the disorder. Although evidence suggests a higher likeness of schizophrenia to be in families approximately 60% of individuals with schizophrenia have no family with the disorder.

Taking into account the environmental factors, more evidence and research is relating to stress. Suggesting that high levels of stress at either stage of development can increase the body's production of cortisol (hormone) and this is thought to trigger schizophrenia.

Environmental factors that may be consideredare:

  • Prenatal exposure to viral infection
  • Low oxygen levels during birth
  • Exposure to virus during infancy
  • Early parental loss or separation
  • Physical or sexual abuse in childhood

In addition to the above factors, abnormalities in brain structure and abnormal brain chemistry, may also lead to the development of schizophrenia.

Occupational Therapy assessments suitable for schizophrenia

When working with someone with a mental health condition, our Occupational Therapists employ a variety of assessments. Once the necessary information has been obtained, our therapists will create a personalised occupational profile, this profile is used for goal - setting and treatment planning.

Assessments suitable for those with Schizophrenia include the following:

  • Cognitive assessments
  • Functional assessment
  • Activities of daily living assessments
  • Aids and adaptations assessment
  • Risk assessment
  • Workplace assessment

These assessments may include standardised evaluation tools, individual interview and observation to determined ability to function and live alone safely, and identify important roles and occupations. This information is then used to determine the skills, support and environmental modifications the person may need to live as independently as possible.

Occupational therapy treatment available

Our Occupational Therapy treatments aim to maintain, regain or improve independence by using different techniques, changing the environment and using new equipment. Our Occupational Therapy is client-centred and places a premium on the progress of individual's. Our treatments for individuals with Schizophrenia aim to improve individuals:

  • Functional independence
  • Social interaction
  • Safety
  • Self-care
  • Money management skills
  • Mood management abilities
  • Behaviour management

Our Occupational Therapists can help those affected by schizophrenia to find the right balance of work, rest and play, which is essential to people's health and well-being. Our Occupational Therapists will work with individuals to help them find ways of managing the everyday activities that they need or want to do.


Living with a long term mental health condition such as schizophrenia can be very challenging for both the individual and their family members. Our Occupational Therapists are have the knowledge and skills to work with both individuals and families to create an effective treatment plan and boost the lives of those with the disorder.

How to arrange to see an occupational therapist?

Do you feel you or a family member would benefit from one of our Occupational Therapy assessments then please do not hesitate to contact us at or Call us on 02033 937 332



London OT offer and provide a range of Occupational Therapy services for individuals with a variety of conditions.

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