Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Any Medication Tips for Me, a Caregiver?

I have a psychiatrist appointment on 1/8 and I’m trying to figure out how to explain our situation and also how to ask for what I need. I’ve never been one to seek medication, I’ve always been more of an avoider. I’ve always believed in therapy as being a good tool for solving my issues. But currently I’m battling every day against an impossible inertia and fighting against stress, being overwhelmed, and almost paralyzing fear. I frequently feel like I’m fighting to slog against mud just to do the basics. I’m normally a high achieving individual but it’s all I can do to accomplish the minimum and the house is a wreck. I’m behind in everything, and about to go back to school. I can’t keep losing the motivation battle every day and succeed with everything.

In the past, I’ve tried Zoloft (SSRI) for depression, and for mild situational depression, it was okay. The unfortunate side effect was long-term use made me extremely suicidal and irrational. I tried Wellbutrin (aka buproprion) (Atypical) but that gave me daily headaches within 30 minutes of taking it for some reason as well as some sexual issues. So does anyone have any anti-anxiety/depression combos that have worked for them? I also have PTSD but that’s relatively managed currently.

One aspect of all of this is it leads to really scary bouts of insomnia where I sleep very little if at all. Currently, my average right now is about 4 hours a night of sleep, if I’m lucky. This week it’s been more along the lines of 3. I take Melatonin every night to help me fall asleep but end up waking within a few hours. I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in 3 weeks. In the past I’ve taken Ambien, which has worked well but I cannot rouse from it in an emergency (and if I do manage to, my husband says I’m a zombie and I don’t remember a thing). I’m afraid to take a sleeping pill since my husband is always gone and I’m here alone with the kids. I’m hoping resolving some of the anxiety/depression will help with sleeping more.

I’m not looking for medical advice, just some of your experiences and to get to know some of the medications that are out there now. I’m considering asking about Prozac (my daughter had good results on it until she had to go on Risperidone because of the psychosis symptoms) and I understand it can be used to treat both anxiety and depression. The less pills I have to take, the more likely I am to take them Ahem, I mean remember to. I’m also thinking that if Libby has anxiety that it’s highly likely I do too, regardless of the current situation. Does anyone else need to take medications to manage depression and anxiety as a result of their family member having SCZ or is it just me?

As always thanks all for sharing your experience, wisdom, and perspectives!

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I’m on meds that I like now. Long journey to find the right ones.

PM me if you want names. I don’t want to promote anything on the site and since everyone is so different, what works for my PTSD (originally dx’d as sz) and major depression, anxiety, could be the wrong medications for someone else.

I hope you find a good one.


A pharmaceutical option might be Buspar if you haven’t already tried it, I have read and heard from others it has the about the least of side effects. I personally don’t do very well with prescriptions. I tend to get every side effect listed plus some they’ve never heard of. In times of extreme stress for me I turned to some herbs called Adaptogens, specifically Ashwagandha and Holy Basil but there are others as well. I took Ashwagandha capsules and I drank Holy Basil tea (delicious) and I noticed a very mild calm and an easier time sleeping and no side effects other than I think I dreamed more or remembered more of my dreams with the herbs. There are many brands to choose from, but from my own research (and pocketbook) I liked the ones I posted below.
Here is some info if you would like to investigate further. I probably would not mix prescriptions and herbs though just to avoid any potential interactions. image image

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I used Ambien…and had the same issues of zombieness.
Husband’s Dr gave him Saphris. They also gave it to our son. Didn’t work for son, but works for husband. It’s expensive, even with insurance. I look for coupons, which are harder to get on line now, and make sure to ask Dr AND Pharmacy for coupons. Our copay is around $60 for it. He said it’s very, very important to let it disolve under the tongue and then: SPIT OUT THE SPITTLE THAT REMAINS.

Ask your Dr about this. His Dr said that they noticed several patients also had to spit out the remaining fluid. I forget what it does…but the meds will work if this component is added for some people. (This is from the Dr…but check on it none the less. Ask Pharmacist too, they often know more about the actual taking of meds.)

Husband is on Lexapro (among many others). He says there is no sexuality with it. (I’m pushing a boundary here, but it’s important enough information I think.) He reports that if he doesn’t take it on Fri/Sat we can have some “time” together. It helps…that time together really helps.

I was on Citalopram for a long time. Eventually I didn’t need it any more. I combined treatments…Talk therapy with medication, increase in exercise, quit smoking, etc…

Took years, but every day was brighter.
Same with husband.


Aside: I had a great therapist in MI who used to ask me in response to my dialog: “Is what you are feeling normal for someone in this situation? It is? Congratulations…you’re normal.” It helped. He also asked me to work on, and I did, being more kind to myself. Being as kind and patient with myself as I was with others. THAT was the hardest thing to change for me. I couldn’t see what he was talking about at first.

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Yes…and have learned that meds that “work” for a parent, often work better for kid. Or vice-verse.

Husband is on Clonozepam…that’s a huge issue for some Drs. After they meet him and conduct extensive interviews, they over and over again decide that he’s the sort of patient it was made for. He will need it for life. There are loads of extra test that must be taken, but it does make a difference. Buspar, Lexapro, Saphris, and …oh, acid reducer! (Whatever that one is called.) These make a huge difference for him.

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I haven’t tried meds and would not hesitate to do so but regular exercise like walking with a couple of friends was all it took to help me. I was having panic attacks day and night, not sleeping very emotional. We started in March 2016 and walk 4-5 days a week for an hour each day😊
I would suggest a fit bit to help motivate you. I wish you the very best. Keep us posted.


Walking regularly helps me a great deal too that is why this past month has been so hard sleep wise for me because I inadvertently got a stress fracture in my foot, nothing that wouldn’t heal but I hated not getting to walk daily, I am just now getting back to it again…love my walking. Great advice.


I used Zoloft and Zanax when my son became sick and I’m was having constant panic attacks, I did not like the Zoloft as I didn’t feel right on it, always kinda spacey. I still take the zanax as needed and they help me to relax after a bad day and I carry them with me in case I feel a panic attack coming on. I do exercise a lot which has always helped me.


I am finding acid reducer is a must now. When my stress skyrockets, so does my acid for some reason. Why my stomach decides to flood with acid during stress is beyond me. Zantac 150 is helping but I am a little concerned with the long term for that.


So the doctor surprised me and put me on Lamictal. Apparently not depressed enough for an anti-depressant or not long enough and hard to separate symptoms from the situation. So the Lamictal will help me sleep and stabilize my mood, then we will see what’s left and if a need to any anti-depressant. She discouraged me using an SSRI because of my reaction to Zoloft over time, said that’s something commonly seen in bi-polar patients. She definitely likes that both I and my daughter are treating as it could help explain things for both of us and provide clues for her. Our meds could help each other depending on what works. Knowing Libby’s history definitely helped with my own. I definitely felt like the doctor got me.

Thanks for all the help!


Awesome…it rocks when the communication actually works!

Sleep, wow, what a difference that will make alone.

I’m happy for you both!

How old is Libby again? I can’t remember.

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She’s 10, about to be 11 in February

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Wow…she’s young. I’m always so tickled when I hear of how she is doing in school. How very brave she is each day!

I mentioned to my son that I “met a nice lady who has a daughter about your age with the same dx”. That was all…but he did smile just a bit. For him, that’s means a lot.

Thanks! For him to know that he’s not the only kid, seems to help. He’s motivated again!!!