Has anyone had this diagnosis, or heard of it?
I posted here several times back in August. My son was showing signs of schizophrenia (hearing voices, refusing to respond to any form of contact, eventually hospitalized for two days after I called in a wellness check) starting last spring and into the summer, but he was 850 miles away from home at college. I went to see him in August and through a combination of bribes and threats, got him to come home (the school had already said he could not come back until he met specific conditions, including a psychiatric evaluation).
I got him into a First Episode of Psychosis program right here in town. I really loved this group - they worked as a team. He saw a therapist regularly, a psychiatrist a few times, and he and I had family therapy with the director a few times as well. They told me that he did not present like their normal patients, and this rang true to me. He was (and still is) hearing voices, but he’s aware that they’re not real. He doesn’t seem to have any strange delusions. He’s had some (self-directed) progress in walling off his brain from the voices and figuring out how to stop paying attention to them. With the doctor’s approval, he is unmedicated.
Her final tentative diagnosis was “Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome”, which she described as a footnote in the DSM. I believe it’s kind of controversial, with the concern being that they will over-diagnose it and stigmatize kids who are not in psychosis yet. For my son, it seems like a more positive thing, as it’s not quite full-blown schizophrenia (yet - it can certainly go that way). I’ve begun to sort of think of schizophrenia as a spectrum, and for right now he’s more in the Asperger range (coincidentally, or not, we’ve always felt he had Aspergers as well).
With the approval of the FEP program, he has been cleared to go back to school, which was a huge hurdle. They had conditions for his re-admittance that I think will be good for him (must see a therapist once a week, can only take 4 classes). I was so happy for him - and yet as of yesterday at least, he still wasn’t enrolled in classes. At least he usually answers the phone when I call, but he sounds listless and a little hopeless. Also angry at the restrictions on him. I know he just wants to pretend like none of this ever happened, and I’m sure that he’s worried about being able to hack it, but it’s very frustrating.
Having my son at home over the fall was good and bad. In some ways, he seemed like himself, which was just wonderful, and so much more than I could have hoped for. Over Christmas he and his sister had a nice time, and we also traveled to see other relatives. He acts pretty normal most of the time.
But in other ways, I could see that (a) he’s been “off” for quite awhile (his sleep habits are horrendous) and (b) he just seemed to lose all drive or motivation. When I came to pick him up from the house he was living in, I was surprised to find it was reasonably tidy and that he’d been cooking for himself. He seemed to be nesting. At my home, he just ate whatever I cooked, and literally went 6 weeks without doing laundry (he did have a LOT of old underwear in his dresser). I know some of that is probably due to negative symptoms, but I’m just saying he seemed to be doing better on his own. I think he was depressed about being here and not in school. So it’s frustrating that he has a chance to finish his degree, and may be about to throw it away.