Anyone in college with illness and not on medication?

Just wondering if any one knows of people in college and not on medication. My son has paranoid Schizophrenia and he is in college. The past semesters he was on medication while attending college. This semester will be different and I am looking for answers since We have already paid full fees. His Counselor in college knows about his illness and I have told him that my son has stopped medication. He has fixed delusions and hearing voices for the past 4 years. If anyone can help me out with this question that I have I would appreciate. I am worried and don’t know what can be done since he is an adult and chooses not to take any medications. The past semesters have been great and his GPA is good so far.Thanks in advance. Sending you all positive thoughts and warm hugs.

You know even in my most deep state of psychosis people still offered me a choice.

It was strange.

He needs help, just try and give it to him, it’s all that you can do.

Has he gone off meds before? Or is he new to that crossroad?

Thanks pansdisease for your reply. No this is his first time off medication . He has been sick for 4 years , first 2 years he didn’t take medication. We brought him home and told him he can stay here as long as he takes medication . He took it for over 2 years and stopped 2 months ago. College starts tomorrow and my worry is while he is in college how to watch him? I left my job so I am home all the time, Thanks again. I will update every now and then.

Thats all that you can do is give him some detailed advice, good in depth and educational advice.

You may be able to find some horror stories about just such a thing online.

He came to the crossroads, there are alot of those here, we go the wrong way just about every time in my opinion(not just schizophrenics).

He needs to understand what can happen if he doesn’t take them, not that it’s fun to take them or anything, gotta let him know that you know how hard it is to take them and that he needs them.

I was diagnosed with psychosis NOS, offered medication and I refused it for my first year of college. I made a 3.6 cumulative that year, in the honors program taking honors classes. I then had suffered so much hell that I just went to the psychiatrist and asked for medication. I got on it, went back to school in the fall and made a 4.0 both semesters last year, no B’s. College starts again for me tomorrow as well. I will be a junior. Freshman year was complete hell. I have trouble with motivation and staying awake on medication, antipsychotics block dopamine and make people sedated, so I drink lots of caffeine. That is normal for a medicated schizophrenic. I know some who drink more caffeine than I do.

I strongly advise against it. I say this because I did well in school without medication but it made me want to die and I attempted suicide, became a binge drinker and chain smoker.

What really should be addressed is WHY he stopped his medication- side effects can be fixed with more medications or caffeine. I have akathisia, basically leg tremors due to my meds and I am on another medication for that. I get sleepy without caffeine every few hours, like a lot of caffeine.

Thanks for your excellent reply Dear Mortimermouse. The medication made my son like a Zombie. He couldn’t do anything besides being on the couch while awake. I am against him not being on medication but there is nothing I can do to make him take it. He also has no insight which is why he believes that he has no mental illness. But he did say if Symptoms re appear he will take medication. He has addiction issues too. For the most part We are able to monitor him except for the medication issue. You look like a bright student and hope and pray that you will be able to complete college . I wish you the best and Hope you succeed in what ever you do. Take care.

I recommend you look into advanced directives for in case he relapses:

Its best to have a plan in place because you are right - college is stressful and the risk of relapse is, I believe, quite high.

Thanks SZAdmin. Excellent idea. We will talk to our lawyer who did our trust funds and other things necessary ,now that our son is ill. This Lawyer knows a lot about mental illness and would be able to tell us what needs to be done. Thanks again.

I couldn’t imagine even beginning to be able to function without my meds. Have you tried talking to the school about getting the money back? If they know about it already hopefully they will be understanding. College is hard enough as it is.

Everyone is different. We are not going to give up , We will let him take classes. He has been OK for 2 months now and the psychiatrist sees him every 4 weeks. If symptoms return he is willing to take medication again. What works for one, may not work for the other. Never give up hopes. His college knows his diagnosis. And he has been in college through few semesters. Thanks for your suggestion, I appreciate it.

Thank you- I am on one of the least sedating medications, by the way- on average, Geodon (Ziprasidone) is not as sedating as most other antipsychotics. Now that doesn’t apply to everyone- it makes me require caffeine to function, but I am also on a hefty extended release dose of a beta blocker which is also sedating.

The first day on Geodon I called my doctor slurring my words and mumbling about being tired and feeling drunk. The brain gets used to it after a while. I wake up pretty zombified and just make a coffee and have to sit down and drink it, then wait for it to kick in to get back up. My parents have noticed this pattern, as I have been doing this for over a year now.

I was like your son, I used to have zero insight and was a binge drinker and chain smoker. Now I am sober and quit smoking a month ago. I am also in my third year in the honors psychology program at my university, so I know plenty about schizophrenia.

Just to show you that there is hope for him. Go look at my recent post in recovery, I am also a bodybuilder. I look pretty healthy and people would never guess that I am mentally ill.

I am also very lucky with meds- I am on three, and as long as I take all of them as prescribed, I am pretty stable and have a bad morning like once a month and just deal with it. I have panicked and thought it I was relapsing before and been a little delusional some mornings. It has happened three times since the beginning of May. I just take a nap and then wake up sane again. One happened recently and I thought I had HIV, for example. I laugh about it when most of the time but when it happens it is not really funny, more like scary.

He can get better. I was pretty messed up and am now pretty successful in what I chose to do. I was a competitive powerlifter for a while, theres a video of me lifting 505lbs six times somewhere on this site.

But for now be ready for the worst, college didnt scare me when I was psychotic. I was afraid of the people watching me shooting my head off with a sniper rifle though. It sounds funny now but it was not funny at all while I was suffering from it.

Thanks for all your replies. Taking one day at a time is the only thing I can do for now. The college starts for him tomorrow. He quit his part time job after being there for a year and he had his reasons. We support him as much as We can when he makes decisions. Stress is not good for him right now as he is without medication, Thanks again.

Good luck to you and your son~~

Thanks bridgecomet. College starts today in few hours.

Has he tried different meds? The meds work different for everyone. I was a zombie at work. My co workers told me that. I tried to stop but got worse. Then I switched to Abilify. I started working properly in my head. Just voices left. Little anxiety. No paranoia. It doesn’t make me sedated.

Wow I am glad things are working for you, Good luck. Hope things get better and better every day. My son has tried 4 different medications and he took them for 27 months. Last 2 months he has not been taking them. He had no motivation and slept on the sofa during the day (awake) and he just couldn’t do anything. Now he doesn’t lay down during the day. Sleeps 8 to 10 hours, He sees his Psychiatrist every month and I go to appointments with him. He is 29 and lets me talk to the Doctor. He has also stopped seeing his therapist. I just hope he doesn’t get stressed out as college starts today. Thanks Comatose for your concern and hope for the best.

Very lucky that he lets you in with him to talk to his doctor!