What should I do when the patient lacks motivation?
To most people, liveliness and interest in life come naturally; therefore we may not pay special attention to our work, study, daily life and social interactions as they are part of our everyday lives. However, the negative symptoms of psychosis may cause patients to lack the motivation to handle these seemingly usual aspects in life; other people may perceive these behaviours as laziness or attempt to escape from responsibilities. If family members are feeling helpless, the below suggestions could be considered:
• Don’t blame or force the patient to do what they are not willing to do (i.e. work or study)
• Listen to the patient’s explanations and feelings; try to understand if they refuse to work, study, or interact with people due to their symptoms, side effects of medication, lack of confidence, discrimination against mental health issues etc.
• If the problem is caused by symptoms or side effects of medication, please inform the professionals.
• If they lack confidence, working or social skills, professionals can refer them to activities like social group, vocational training etc.
• Compliment the patient’s good qualities and improved behaviours
• Let the patient understand the importance of self-care and having a healthy social life
• Establish reasonable and practical goals with the patient (i.e. the number of times they groom themselves each day, shop for new clothes together, greet at least 2 people a day, help with housework, participate in different courses, talk about their interests or childhood memories with other people etc.), appropriate compliments could be given during the process.