A Nightmare that I can’t wake up from

Hello everyone. I am new to this platform and I’m really in need of some help. My son is 21 and he has been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. He was on risperidone then abilify. He hates me now because he says I gave him the drugs that gave him brain damage. He no longer takes any of the medication or does therapy. He says risperidone is a neurotoxin and has damaged his brain. He has found so many things online about it and obsesses over it daily. I feel like this started when he read about the issues the medications can cause. He reports no sexual desire, apathy, feeling dead, no motivation, and changes to his body movements. He says the medications lowered his dopamine levels and this is why he is this way now. He refuses to believe his levels can return to normal and says it’s permanent. He is completely socially withdrawn and very suicidal. Stays locked in the room all day. I don’t know what to do and I’m so confused because some of these side effects he reports are also negative symptoms of schizophrenia. The effects started long after he stop taking the medications. Has any one experienced this with their love ones? I did some reading on chronic brain impairment from antipsychotics. I just don’t know what it is cause the symptoms are so similar to negative symptoms. His psychiatric doctor when I asked him questions about brain injury from antipsychotics denied it even exist. Because he says the medications cause brain damage he is refusing to take them and needs them really badly. Please help.

Problem is, there is information about APs causing damage. Robert Whitaker is one author.

In my son’s case quetiapine and olanzapine did much good and he is no longer delusional.

It would be a lot of work but you could try to find articles that show the drugs are safe.

I went through the same thing early on with my son, about the drugs being dangerous. Whitacker’s book is scary. I wonder if anyone has written a pro-drugs book that refutes Whitacker.

Not sure your son is going to be argued out of the drugs being bad without having some information that counters it and says the drugs are safe.

Another possible resource is NIMH. They research the heck out of drugs and their effect on the brain. If there is any authoritative source it might be them.

Being afraid to take the drugs has to be a common problem. I think you have to use the approach advocated in this Book (Listen, Empathize, Agree, and Partner).

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Thank you for replying and thank you so much for the information. I’ve been trying to emphasize. I’ve been trying to find things to counter the dangers of the medications. Your right its very hard. Going to look at the resources you sent. Still trying to hang on to some hope.

Hi sakahi1, I’m a schizophrenic and I can relate to your son, because I too thought the medication was terrible and caused horrible side effects.

I’ve had three main hospitalizations for schizophrenia. All of them due to stopping my medicine, but my last hospitalization was because I stopped meds from reading Anti-Psychiatry articles from Robert Whitaker and Peter Breggin among others.

The main problem for schizophrenic’s is lack of insight, which you didn’t mention if that’s a problem for your son. But with or without insight, most people that take Antipsychotics know that they don’t feel exactly themselves because of the side effects of the meds (although not everyone). I’m currently on a low dose of the long lasting injectable Invega Sustenna (78 mg), and I get some of the same side effects your son gets. Low sexual desire, lack of motivation, occasional tremors (drug induced Parkinson’s), muscle spasms, and sleep problems.

Antipsychotics are not a perfect drug, but the are the best thing schizophrenics have to keep themselves sane. It was when I realized that losing my mind was worse than the side effects of the drugs, I decided to take antipsychotics for the rest of my life. I started looking back and picturing how terrible my psychosis instead of obsessing over the meds.

I will tell you that the one thing that helped me feel more comfortable with the medication was getting on the lowest dose possible for me. My doctor worked with me to lower my dose gradually while making sure I wouldn’t relapse. I even have an emergency supply of Antipsychotics I can use if I’m not feeling right.

I wish you and your son the best.


Thank you so much for replying and sharing your experience. I’m very glad to hear you are doing so well. Your reply helps me understand and gives me perspective. I can’t even imagine how the side effects make people feel. It saddens me the side effects exist. My son also reads material from Peter Breggin. This has made it so much harder. My son does have issues with insight. I don’t know how his mind will change to take the medications. He feels that there is something wrong him but it’s the medications that messed him up and not due to having schizophrenia. I’m really praying for a breakthrough and someday he can have some insight. He abuses substances which is adding more fuel to the fire. All I have is prayer. I feel so helpless. You story and how you made it through gives me hope he can too.

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