Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Helping a friend through an episode?

I have this friend who suffers from tactile and visual hallucinations and I want to know if you guys have any suggestions on how I could help. From what I understand he sees like a scary shadowy figure who can touch him sometimes. I talked to him until he couldn’t see/sense it anymore but at best my suggestions were to take deep breaths, focus on me, and telling him.I wouldn’t let anything hurt him. Is there anything more I should be doing? Treatment isn’t really an option for him under the circumstances he’s in, so I’m mainly hoping for tips on how I can help him through hard times rather than offering long term treatments.

Hi @Because_Velleity, welcome to this forum. Everyone here understands. Honestly, it sounds like you had a great success. Your suggestions were spot on, you obviously used a calm, kind demeanor (which is most important), your friend trusted you to help and you were able to offer workable help. You did much better than I did when I first had to deal with my daughter’s episodes. I didn’t understand at all back then.

Kindness and being a good listener can defuse things. It is so valuable that you want to help your friend and were not afraid to talk to him. Being a friend who doesn’t judge, who will listen to hallucinations/delusions, well, that’s probably the best you can do besides trying to make sure he eats and sleeps enough. I wish treatment were an option for him, but getting anyone onto the right meds and keeping them there is a long, long journey usually.


You don’t have to have all the right words.
Sometimes, “That sounds crappy.” Or, “I can’t imagine. That must be difficult.” Is enough.
Being calm and displaying an even temperment is really important. Hallucinations are often imposing, demanding and mean. They can even be morbid and traumatic. Helping a person who is experiencing hallucinations is all about providing comfortable, safe, and reassuring distraction.

All that said, if the person becomes violent, threatening, or says or does something to imply sefl-harm; get them to the emergency room, or call the police. Those are warning signs of a very dangerous situation unfolding and should be taken very seriously.