Thanks so much for your reply! He is not on a mood stablizer at present. I will ask his doctor about adding that. His dad takes lamitical (sp?). His dad is bipolar. He will be 18 next May. I will check with the county and see what they might offer. It is certainly a learning experience to navigate the maze of finding the right doctor, the right meds, not to mention how to deal with your child - what to say, what not to say, etc. Some days are easier than others of course.
If that med works good for your husband, there’s a great chance it will work for your son.
Mine took Trileptal, but is now taking Gabapentin because of the change in his anti-psychotic.
I think most of them work about the same, so hopefully that will help him.
Did you talk to him about why he acted that way? About a year ago, my son would be violent with his father only, but he was also very paranoid about his father. He would swear he saw him try to hit me, or actually hit me, when we weren’t even arguing. At one time, he made some homemade pepper spray, started a fight with his father, then sprayed him in the eyes with it. There was a lot of blind punching, my son’s nose was broken, my husband couldn’t see for awhile, I got hit in the face trying to separate it - it was an awful night that I never wan to repeat.
At that point, his meds had quit working, but he wasn’t talking to us about a symptom increase because he had lost his insight & thought he was just find. We’ve got him on better meds now hopefully, but his insight hasn’t came back fully. But, he is fairly happy right now most of the time & we’re not seeing a lot of anger - still a lot of anxiety, but that has never really went away.
He said he doesn’t remember anything that happened that night because he was so drunk. Said he wasn’t responsible for his actions because he was “trashed.” He lost two good friends because of the fight (although they were his older brother’s friends, they were also his friends). They think he’s crazy and want nothing to do with him. His brother moved out and won’t talk to him. This is devastating to him. On top of that, his girlfriend just broke up with him over the weekend, going back to her old boyfriend. He was sobbing to me Saturday night, saying he had nothing to live for. At the same time, he was telling me he was hallucinating badly. My husband has absolutely no empathy or understanding, which I find odd since he has a mental illness himself. It sounds like you have been in a bad place too with your son. This illness is so difficult to understand. This runs on my side of the family. My grandmother’s brother had it, as well as both of his daughters who were hospitalized most of their lives. The very saddest thing to me is my son is incredibly intelligent, can talk to you about world events, politics, etc. and you would think you’re speaking to a 30-year old. I fear he will never have a life that is full with a job, a family and the things that most people have.
You need to prevent him from drinking or doing any drugs if you can.
I can see an instant change in my son if he has enough to drink to get a buzz. Same with pot.
MI runs in both our families too. Our son had his first psychotic break at 15. He’ll be 28 in two weeks. My husband who has seen lots of mental illness just couldn’t accept it in his own son and found all kinds of excuses for what it was.
At first, it was kids find any way they can to get drugs from the doctor. Then, he must have been bullied or molested & we didn’t know. To, if he found a girlfriend, it would help. Just over the past year as things have gotten worse, does he get it. It takes most fathers a lot longer than the mothers to accept.
I would be really worried about the “nothing to live for” comment since he’s had previous suicide attempts. My son has felt suicidal, and like life wasn’t worth living, but he’s always said that suicide was too much work - I truly think my son is alive today just because he couldn’t be bothered to do anything about it.
I remind my son that alcohol is a depressant. That it might make him feel better for a little while, but it will make him feel worse before he’s done. It goes in one ear & out the other, but I keep saying it. Maybe one day it’ll sink in.
LIsaS, what did he do during those several hours? Does he threaten to hurt any of you? Has he ever had a violent episode when he wasn’t drunk? Is he aware he has a mental illness?
My 35 yr old is quite intelligent too, so many of our kids are, high intelligence seems to be a factor.
Our son is unmedicated and the rages are the scary parts for us. I
Alcohol does make things worse.
Hopefully you can get your son to the doctor ASAP and take your post from this thread with you so you remember to tell them all of this.
During those hours, he screamed, yelled, chased us around the house. Yes, he has threatened to hurt us. About a year ago, he held a knife to my throat. My husband and older son were not at home. He called my husband and let him know he had a knife to my throat. I knew in my heart he wouldn’t actually hurt me, as we have a very close relationship, but it was still terrifying. He had my cell phone and I couldn’t call the police. He has had violent episodes before when cold stone sober. He is fully aware he has a mental illness. He calls these times his “episodes.” Last October, he put his older brother in a chokehold to the point he almost lost conciousness. He was arrested that day, spent about a week in jail, then was under court supervision for 6 months. They required him to do community service, counseling, complete a life skills assessment and a drug assessment. Amazingly he passed both of those with flying colors. Again, he is highly intelligent, capable of doing anything he sets his mind to. He completed his court supervision in April and seemingly learned nothing from it and seems worse than ever. We’ve had the sheriff at our house more times than I can count. I am at a loss as what to do at this point since he has been hospitalized twice and all they do is over drug him and send him home in a week. I could do that myself! How is that helpful? Maybe that is standard protocol but once the drugs wear off, we’re back to Square One. I consider myself a strong person but I am beginning to feel hopeless. We have no life anymore.
What I am going to write is just my opinion okay?
I believe that you know in your heart that your son would not actually hurt you. I don’t think your son would ever hurt you. My fear is that the mental illness might hurt you.
I try to remember when my son is raging that its the illness talking and I need to listen to what the illness says.
I have promised my husband that we will listen to the illness and protect ourselves from it. You need to get your life back. Can you bring yourself to not let him come home after the next hospitalization?
Hope - Perhaps I am uninformed or maybe it’s just that mental health services are that bad in our state (Oklahoma), but I don’t think there are places that a mentally ill person can stay indefinitely here. Each time he has been hospitalized, it was the ole “we’ll get stable then he will be coming home” regardless of what he did prior to arriving at that mental facility. His last hospitalization, he was upset with me because the day before I told two of his friends to leave our house because I had told them on previous occasions they weren’t welcome there (because they use drugs and drink at age 15). The next morning at 7 am, he comes into my bedroom, wakes me up and says “You’re going to die today, bitch!” “I’m going to light this mf (expletive) up. I’m going to get the gas out of the garage and light this mf house on fire with you in it.” I go into my closet in attempt to get out of my pj’s and get dressed, he follows me in there, calling me every name on earth, telling me I am going to die. I grab my cell, run out and get in my car, lock the doors and call the police. They come out and the ONLY thing they will do is follow us (they won’t transport him - is that normal?) to the nearest mental health facility. The facility takes him, while he is telling them I am suicidal so then I get to play 20 Questions with them to prove I am not suicidal, it’s a game with him. They kept him a week and sent him home. Yes, I certainly could bring myself to not let him come home if someone would keep him. I totally appreciate your input. I am still a little new to this whole thing since he was only diagnosed a little over a year ago.
@LisaS - whether or not he would actually hurt you, that’s a terrible way to live. I’d be very surprised if you don’t develop a case of PTSD yourself over this.
There are residential programs for minors and group homes for people after they turn 18. My friend just had a daughter who went to residential for a period after leaving the short-term psychiatric hospital.
She didn’t have anger issues, but most of the kids in there did. I can’t say how successful these places are, but right now your son can act out however he wants to with only minor consequences, and that’s not OK.
The fact that he has insight, takes his meds and still does this means that he needs better treatment - even if it’s not in Oklahoma - or he uses his illness as an excuse to act out when he wants to. Either way, it’s not OK.
Maybe, he’d even do better outside the home in a more controlled environment. From the way his friends sound, you have no idea what he’s getting into, and when I was his age, I had access to all kinds of drugs - I was just too scared to try most of them. I’m sure it hasn’t gotten any better.
I know the stress and heart-break you are experiencing first hand.
Pray, meditate, take good care of yourself.
Sadly, no matter what we do, we may never change them.
My son, 45 years old today is in the State mental health facility.
When my sz husband started acting aggressively, I sought advice from a counselor who told me to take every threat seriously.
I know you said he would never hurt you, I thought the same and he attacked me. My husband was never violent before, and we loved each other, but it happened and it was scary. Luckily, I got the police there before he could really hurt me.
He was in a rage, he couldn’t control himself. I am really worried the same could happen with your son. Your description of him waking you up and threatening you actually gets me quite mad.
He may be ill but he has no right to terrorize you!
What, if, God forbid he killed you!? Then he spends the rest of his life in prison. You are not doing him any favors by letting him act this way. He can’t live with you. I pray that you find a housing solution.
I don’t mean to sound harsh. Just be careful, please.
Have you contacted your local NAMI chapter? If you aren’t in a big city, have you contacted the nearest NAMI to you? How about your county judge? Resources are different for people who aren’t legal adults yet. I think you need to act quickly to find something while you have some say so over what he has to do.
Our county won’t transport to a hospital either.
You are in a very serious situation. If your state is as bad as mine, the only plan they will have for your son as an adult is prison. Can you get a large dog for your personal protection?
A couple from our Family to Family class was in a similar situation as yours. They didn’t take action and their son killed both of them. He sits in state prison/mental facility, they can’t get him stable enough for a trial. His illness had threatened to kill them many, many times.
Another friend’s daughter had threatened to kill her mother and her younger sister. My friend was saved by the family dog when her daughter was choking her with full intent to kill her. Their daughter had a better ending as she was sent to prison until she agreed to take medications. She finally agreed and lives in an apartment by herself with some sort of community support team . They will never let her live with them again. Her illness had threatened to kill them several times.
Sometimes when people in our situations live under a constant threat of violence it becomes almost normal, we lose perspective.
Your son (our MIL adult children) needs therapy. Talking to someone helps. Art therapy, music therapy might help. Meditation and DBT training is evidence based therapy that works. I think of the the term angry young man sometimes as this describes our young men often when they are unmedicated. I hope things improve for you and your family. It sounds like you are calling the police and setting limits. Sometimes that is the best thing we can do. You are not alone.
He has gone to therapy numerous times over the years. We started going when he was pretty young because his dad is bipolar and both of my sons were having a hard time relating to their dad and understanding his mood swings. The therapist helped them understand that their dad was ill and it wasn’t their fault or something they were doing. The last attempt at therapy I personally found pretty useless. My son sat there like a bump on a log and didn’t really participate. The therapist seemed thrilled to have sz teen patient and seemed to want to dissect him for lack of a better description. We went because it was court ordered (he attacked his older brother), but I was glad when it was over. Some therapists are better than others as I’m sure all of us on here know too well. What is DBT training? Not familiar. He is compliant with his meds and I dole them out faithfully every morning and night. He sees a big difference when he misses a dose so he has become very good about that. One plus.
Hope - I haven’t contacted our local NAMI chapter, but thanks so much for that suggestion. I was looking online last night. We are in a suburb of Oklahoma City (so definitely a large city). That is absolutely terrifying what you’re telling me. My older son moved out because he believes his brother is dangerous (and was attacked by him last fall). He keeps telling me that his brother is going to hurt one of us (my husband or me). I am trying to find the resources for him at present and everyone on here has been so incredibly helpful. I am so glad I found this site! In regards to what you said, a young man with sz in his late 20’s, living independently of his parents, killed his father (the county commissioner here) with a knife in the parking lot when they met him for dinner. It happened so fast that bystanders couldn’t act quickly enough. Now he sits in jail and his mother and siblings are left behind. Terrible situation. He thought his dad was in cahoots with some kind of organization out to kill him.
NAMI usually has a local resource book to let you know what kinds of help are available in your area - so glad you are in a large city.
How terrible for the county commissioner -not having them live with you, certainly doesn’t solve the problem or remove the danger if we are their focus. Not even being able to meet for dinner is a sad reality of this illness. Public officials in high places don’t have any better chances than all of us. A State Senator for Virginia, Creigh Deeds was attacked by his son with mi. The Senator had been trying to get his son into a psych bed, was turned away, took him home (court order expired?) and was attacked the next morning. The Senator lived, but his son Gus committed suicide shortly after the attack. The Senator went very public with his story trying to help people understand there is a major problem in our country and that our children should not be defined by their illnesses. They are all so much more than society sees them.
The mom who was killed from our FtF class had spoken frequently in class about her son’s threats to kill them. We never did find out why the dad didn’t come to the classes. I don’t think it would have mattered if he had. She said he was reading all the information she was bringing home. She also spoke about the great love they had for their son, he was an only child and obviously the joy of their lives. Her eyes would shine with pride when she said his name.
She was a musician, he was an engineer. The officer who answered the October call said he first thought their bodies were Halloween decorations laying on the ground. They had both been beaten to death by a sledgehammer.
Some of us from the class attended their funeral.
I have read a lot about violence and scz. What happened to them has left my husband horribly frightened of our son. One mom, whose son was in prison, said that as the violence increased in her home, she felt like she and her husband were suspended over a chasm, unable to help themselves or him. I know I have felt that sort of numbness when our son is raging.
I have a call in to what is called here “the county mental health officer”. We just have the one. Our son hasn’t threatened us, and he hasn’t threatened to hurt himself. He is texting me ordering us to stop abusing him, and yelling at our house wanting us to stop the abuse. He is in great distress. Then he stops and is quiet for hours. This has been going on for weeks.
Its a small percentage of the sufferers of scz who are violent, but if you have one of those in the small percentages, the percentages just don’t mean much.
My son does go to a therapist for CBT - cognitive behavior therapy. His therapist has helped him be able to grocery shop, he hadn’t grocery shopped in years. The therapist works on what he wants to work on without confronting him about his illness or trying to get him to take meds. My son is unmedicated which raises the chance for violence percentages according to Dr E Fuller Torrey.
My son has no insight, he believes everything he hears from the voices is real.
Actually, I think it is a small percentage of the mentally ill, in general, that are violent. I’m not sure how that applies to schizophrenia. I hate to say it, but I bet the percentage of sz who are violent is higher.
That’s so awful about the parents who were killed by their son. It’s a tragedy on so many levels.
Hope - That is very sobering about the couple who attended your class. My husband is having a very hard time with this. He keeps asking what we did wrong. I keep telling him we didn’t do anything “wrong.” He was born with this. My son actually started hearing voices around age 7. The p-doc he was seeing at the time for his ADHD didn’t want to slap a label on him such as sz, but she added anti-pscyh meds to his regimen back then. He called the voices “the man in my head.” He said the man said bad words. The “man” used to come at night and I would sit up with him and soothe him. Rarely got more than 4 hours of sleep (I worked about 60 hours a week back then, still work full-time now). It was troubling to me since I have history of sz on my side of the family. A couple of years went by and he said the man in his head had gone away. I guess it was a little over a year ago, he admitted the man in his head had never gone away but he was afraid that we wouldn’t love him if he told us he was still there so he just kept quiet about it. That made me so sad. I told him I needed to take him to see a p-doc again and he said he didn’t want to get back on the pscyh meds again that made him feel like a zombie when he was little, so he refused. Then a few months later, he said the voices were so bad, he would go. So we went and that is when he got the official diagnosis. He said the Abilify dulls the voices but they never really go away. Is it possible to get them to go away completely?