Boyfriend has schizophrenia I believe, but will not seek help


#1

Hello there!

So my boyfriend of 5 years started to dramatically change about a year ago. He constantly thinks everyone is working together to make his live hell. Sometime he even thinks we’re all working together to bring a change that we want within him. He thinks I’m fake a lot of the time. There’s tons more too. It kills me! I don’t know what to do. He won’t get help for it because he trusts no one. What do I do? Help!!!


#2

It sounds like it could be a disorder, but only a doctor with the appropriate credentials can make that diagnosis.
You have some choices to make for yourself.
You can try to help him see a doctor and get a diagnosis / treatment. But if he refuses your help, you won’t have any positive impact.
You could choose to part ways. There is nothing morally wrong with leaving a boyfriend who doesn’t treat you the way you feel you deserve to be treated.
You could try to get his family up to speed and engaged in seeking diagnosis and treatment. It’s up to them if they want to do all that, and you can’t force them to take action.
You could wait it out and hope the changes to stop or reverse. But from a relationship perspective, that almost never happens. Even if it isn’t a real psychological disorder.


#3

I go along with what @wreklus said. You may need to make some changes in your own life, as hard as that can be, but learning more about serious mental illness (even if there is not yet a diagnosis) can be helpful and certainly empowering. You might read some of the material on the NAMI.org website.


#4

If it is schizophrenia and he isn’t willing to see a doctor or take meds, you are in for a horrible long term emotional roller coaster ride. You may have to choose yourself and your own sanity over trying and failing to help him. As @wreklus said, you can choose to part ways. The more you learn about this illness, the more you will see what a curse it is for everyone involved.


#5

As someone with sza (schizoaffective bipolar) I am grateful for my husband sticking with me through this ride.

However, if I refused treatment I would (during my non-ill times) understand why he left of he would.

If your boyfriend refuses treatment, no matter how much you love him, you should come first to YOU. You cannot help an Unmedicated schizophrenic. You would end up going crazy trying to figure out the why’s of everything.


#6

Thank you all. Yes, it is a crazy coaster ride. He said he will at least see a Dr, although he still thinks there’s nothing wrong with him. I will try to keep you all posted. I pray he gets on medicine!


#7

That’s a good start.
It seems pretty common for someone with a disorder to ignore all the signs and symptoms and irrational behavior. Truely, a lot of people with any disorder, but especially Sz / SzA suffer from a symptom that causes a lack of rational insight into their actions and the real world cause and effect. Sequence of events, logical conclusions and rational decision making can be honestly challenging (particularly in the midst of psychological distress from hallucinations or delusions).
He may internally question whether there is anything wrong with his reasoning and behavior, or even emphatically deny it.
If you are determined to be there for him and help him, being emotionally consistent, providing even-tempered reason and logic and having the patience to endure some very upsetting lack of impulse control and good decision making are probably going to be key. Hopefully not forever, but probably for a while.

Keep insisting that he deserves peace of mind and some genuine contentment. Keep respectfully disagreeing with irrational logic. Keep recommending habits that promote good quality of life. Point out habits that detract from it.

If things get violent or abusive, don’t tolerate it. Take action.
If you feel like you’re making too many sacrifices, be honest about it. With him as well as with yourself.


#8

In regard to lack of insight, a must-read is “I Am Not Sick; I Don’t Need Help”. You can also learn more about the strategy detailed in this book at LEAPInstitute.org. The author, Dr. Amador, who had a brother with SZ, tells about how this strategy helped him (as well as many of his patients) become medication-compliant. The strategy also helps with ANYthing you want the person to do but they are resistant. It was especially helpful for me to read Dr. Amador’s description of what it is like for a person who lacks insight to be told that he is sick. There is nothing rational about SZ. But there ARE strategies to deal with it.


#9

I have no answers, I’m afraid. I have been with my husband for sixteen years, and this is destroying my world. I know exactly how difficult it is for you. Sometimes I look at others who are the parents of siblings of schizophrenic patients, and I am jealous. It’s horrific for everybody, but when you see your husband - your partner and equal who you have relied on and loved your whole life - suddenly disintegrate in front of your ideas, and lose love for you, it’s horrific. I wish there was somebody else in our family home to share the burden with me, but there isn’t (this is why I think it is harder when your spouse suffers from this, as there’s nobody then to help and support you as caregiver), and I feel very much alone, very full of grief for the loss of my husband, and full of despair.

I take my marriage vows seriously, but if your boyfriend is ill this will only get harder. Think carefully your love for him because it will have to withstand a lot.


#10

Oh @Imogen , your post hit me hard. I have been reading and posting on this site since March and am thankful for the help I’ve been given, but I only just now realize how hard it must be for spouses of someone with this awful illness. I respect greatly how you honor your wedding vows and are trying (alone) to help your husband. I can see how it would be a lonely struggle for you. I hope you can find some support on this site, since you just joined and this was your first post.


#11

Well we went to a counselor. It actually went okay. He let me go, which is great, because if I hadn’t the Dr wouldn’t have found out anything. We go back in 2 weeks to see about medication. This is the part I’m worried about because he HATES taking any kinds of meds.

I have a question for you all. Could each of you maybe tell me some of the symptoms your loved ones deal with? I’d greatly appreciate it! :slight_smile:


#12

Hi Wilhoit,
I am trying to get to the same position as you. My bf of 2 yrs needs to see a doctor. He is very unstable and we are all suffering because of it. He won’t see a doctor as yet. Has promised to but never does. I don’t know if he sees his behaviour or not. There are many symptoms and things which he says and does everyday now but the latest situation is that I’m back at my parents house afyer his accusations and delusional thoughts became too scary and traumatic to love with. Ive been having to do this often and I myself am now feeling very unsettled and anxious. I found out I’m 12 weeks pregnant too and his behaviour has gotten worse around this time which is very upsetting for me. I need his support at such an important time but he seems to have gotten much worse around the time just before I became pregnant. I’m so grateful for finding this page and thread. Please keep intouch xxx


#13

There are SO many differing symptoms of schizophrenia. You might want to just do a web search for “symptoms of schizophrenia”. When your loved one is experiencing or doing crazy things, it IS, however, helpful to read about others who are experiencing similar issues…I think primarily to realize we are not alone. But each person is different. If you want to compare notes on specific symptoms you are observing or which have been diagnosed, you might want to start a new topic to have a discussion about that. Just a thought…


#14

@wilhoit
Really glad your boyfriend decided to see a doctor!
Continue to be encouraging about it and try to demonstrate patience and understanding!

For symptoms my brother has told me about:

All delusions were worsened by scouring the internet for illegitimate articles written by people who have no clinical authority. Occasionally, I would help him find legitimate clinical articles or official news sources (major news websites or research magazines) that disprove some of the really wacky illegitemate articles he would show me.

Delusions of paranoia - He believed his doctor might be trying to poison him with medication.

Delusions of mass persecution - he believed that people disliked him and displayed it in subtle ways, like honking only at him on the road, or talking bad about him behind his back. He also felt like noises around his apartment were coded messages meant for him.

Delusions of thought-insertion - he believed that other people were planting thoughts in his mind for various bad reasons.

Delusions that he is not ill - He believed that schizophrenia was not a real disorder and that he was receiving special coded messages which he needed to decode.

Delusions that he is invincible because he is already dead - this one didn’t last long, but did cause him some confusion and stress.

Delusions that his hallucinations were ‘astreal projection’, or travelling to an alternate dimension - this was very convincing for him.

Delusions that he had lived past lives - that special wisdom or insight was gained by hallucinating.

Delusions that he might be psychic - also that his hallucinations were predicing the future.

Hallucinations of very morbid things - often disturbing and frightening.

Hallucinations of sexual nature - often out of his control and very difficult to talk about.

Hallucinations that swing from encouraging to insulting quickly - left him doubting who he could trust, even when family was supportive and encouraging.

Hallucinations that demand he perform some action - repetitive and relentless. The demands were often inappropriate, or irrational. Occasionaly they were destructive.

Adversion to personal hygiene - morbid mental images or uncomfortable feelings prevented him from doing simple tasks like clipping toe nails or preparing meals.

Feelings of inadequacy - he was very critical of himself to the point that he occasionally wanted to give up on doing things to help himself all together.

Perceived criticism from family - he felt like there were negative undertones to most things family talked to him about.

All of these symptoms were worst at night. Irregular sleep schedule and lack of daily routine were both symptoms and contributing complications to these problems.
Refusing treatment was often based on the belief that either his doctor was trying to harm him, or that his doctor unwittingly prescribed harmful medication. Both of these things required patient listening to his concerns and gentile reassurance that it wouldn’t make sense for his doctor to do those things (he’d lose his license to practice really fast if he were evil, or stupid).

Refusing to practice good hygiene and clean up his living space was often a result of his disorder creating uncomfortable feelings, or disturbing mental images related to those tasks. These were hard for him to talk about and it took a lot of time building trust before he decided to talk to me about them at all.

So, there can possibly be a lot more struggle going on internally than what you are aware of. Try to be patient and keep building trust by being a good listener amd a good source of rationality and reason.
If he comes to you for a ‘reality check’, be kind and reassure him that the disturbing things he might believe are either impossible, or extremely unlikely.
But also be aware that some of his statements might have some roots in reality.
For example, my brother stated that he didn’t want to drink tap water because it is not very clean and might contribute to some of his health problems. I realized that he was considering buying filtered, bottled water to drink instead.
I told him he was right that bottled water is much cleaner, but his digestive system probably handles tap water perfectly fine. If he really wanted to switch to botted water, he could simply figure the cost into his budget for groceries and replace soda with water.

Not saying that your boyfriend will experience any of that, but these symptoms seem to be pretty common.


#15

Thank you. That’s exactly what I was looking for. We’ve only been to one appt, so the Dr’s opinion could change, but for now the Dr thinks it’s just PTSD. I’m not sure though. A lot of his symptoms mirror schizo. Like for instance he won’t marry me because he thinks our relationship is fake now, mind you we’ve been together five years. He think every single person on this earth is working together to ‘change’ him. He gets really upset sometimes and tells me he can predict everything that is going to happen next, like who is going to cough, or what color car we will pass next. He’s convinced everyone he meets already knows him and everything about him.
So those are a few delusions. I know it’s hard to tell just from the symptoms listed. I’ve researched PTSD and I don’t ever see a whole lot relating to what he’s going through. He was in the army over a decade ago, so maybe that’s why they think he PTSD and not schizo. Idk. Hoping he’ll take the medicine they’ll give him.
Thank you all again.
I appreciate y’all telling me personal things. It helps to relate to at least someone.


#16

@wilhoit My son, paranoid sz, got so bad that he thought I was an imposter and that drones were following him. He is better now and works and knows I am real (court ordered meds - shot - Invega Sustenna). The hospital social worker told me that a person with sz can think some people are imposters if they haven’t seen us for a few days. I had just returned from vacation when this happened.

He also thought people were following him and trying to track him down and that the police who were going to take him to jail were fake(he had a warrant for an old speeding ticket). He never did the making holes in the wall, that is common for people who think the government is listening in. He did, at one point, write things down to communicate with me, because “they” were listening in via his cell phone. During his big psychotic break he thought the neighbors had hacked into his tv and were telling him they were going to harm him and his family. And during this time as well he was working as a waiter and he said his customers were telling him to kill himself. One time he went to Home Depot and came back and said that people were following him so they could take his organs.

When I tell the doctor some of these things in front of my son, he says “that didn’t happen”.

Hopefully, your BF will agree to take meds. There has been some success with homeopathy and a amino acid called sarcosine and profrontal. Perhaps he’d be willing to take those if not the anti-psychotic meds.


#17

Hi guys!
It’s been a minute since I’ve posted on here. He just started medication last week. So far he HATES it. I feel bad for him as I can see it’s making him very tired. I’d rather him be tired than go through what he has been. He’s also really depressed, but I’m hoping the meds help with that. He dislikes taking meds in the first place and is very impatient with them. I’m trying to get him to realize that it may be even a month or two before they start fully working. He also never drinks and here lately had been drinking a 6 or 12 pack, which is so unlikely of him.
I give you all props. This is SUCH a difficult thing emotionally to deal with. :pensive: