Can it be cured once it's been diagnosed? Help :(


#1

Hi
My boyfriend was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was a teenager. He was hospitalised seven times during his late teens and his early-mid twenties due to hallucinations. He’s now 28 and seemed okay when I started dating him a year ago except for the fact that he’s missing one of his front teeth. He doesn’t speak much about schizophrenia but he once told me a psychatrist had said to him he was not really ill, that everything had happened just because he smoked too much marijuana as a teenager and that he was now okay.
Two months ago he started acting really stand-offish. I thought it was because he was seeing/ fancying someone else. That’s why I started to lose confidence and became extremely moody. He ended up dumping me because he said he couldn’t put up with the fights. He left me in a really cold manner, over facebook.
A few weeks ago we got back together. The first few days he was as charming as he used to be back in our first days together. Everything changed in Christmas when he got really drunk and got paranoid and into an awful fight with his brother. I got really scared because he started saying nonsense, saying that he hated everyone in his family and that noone really loved him. He actually said that it would be a good idea to set his house on fire. And he seemed to mean it.
After that day he’s as cold as he used to be right before he dumped me. He spends hours and hours painting and drawing and does nothing else. He sleeps for 10 hours everyday and then wakes up to continue painting. (he’s a really gifted artist) He only stops this activity to eat or to go to the stationer’s to buy painting materials. It’s as if he didn’t care whether I’m with him or not. He gets upset whenever I tell him to pay attention to me.
What do you think? Is he really over it? Does this mean that he’s just not that into me any longer or is he getting into a relapse? If so, how can I help if he’s not willing to take meds or go to therapy? Is there any effective way to get to him?

Thanks


#2

There is no cure but there is recovery and maintenance. Learn what you can about SZ. What he is currently going through has very little to do with you. You may have to accept that a certain times your feelings will not be a priority for him. It’s not really a choice. He is being overwhelmed by what is happening in his own head and can’t concentrate on external things. Painting and drawing is a great outlet for him. He is stopping to eat and go out which are good things. My son during a break doesn’t eat. Learn what you can so that you have realistic expectations of his part to play in your relationship.

Please look at these sites:
http://www.leapinstitute.org/ - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner.
http://dramador.com/ - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.
Search Xavier Amador and LEAP on youtube.com and you should find some long videos
http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/index.php - under problems you will see anosognosia
Anosognosia looks like denial but is different.
http://lesswrong.com/lw/e25/bayes_for_schizophrenics_reasoning_in_delusional/ - helped my understand delusions
http://www.nami.org/ - National Alliance on Mental Illness.
http://www.schizophrenia.ca/ - Schizophrenia Society of Canada


#3

Thanks Barbie
The thing is I can’t really tell whether it’s because he’s in a break (can it last longer than a week?) or because he isn’t that into me any more. If he was a regular guy I would read this as ‘I’m not in love with you’. And since he claims he’s okay now and doesn’t need any meds and I’ve even heard his own mother saying ‘you’re not schizophrenic’, I don’t know what to think.


#4

Hi Julia,

“breaks” or delusions can last quite a long time - especially if they are not treated. I recommend you read this discussion on the topic:

Its hard to differentiate between the illness and the person when the illness isn’t taken hold of the person - it takes time to learn this and even then is hard.

There is a broad range of what they call the “schizophrenia spectrum” - from slightly paranoid, to completely delusional - so its something to be aware of. And it changes - people might start out as slightly paranoid and then become fully delusional.

It takes time to learn about this disorder. Read as much as you can.


#5

He sounds like he is having an episode of paranoia…and his work seems to be distracting him from his symptoms and keeping his shattered mind occupied. I would calmly ask him what he is thinking, if he is feeling anything unusual…noncompliance with therapy and medication is bad. Real bad. There isnt all that much that can be done if a schizophrenic doesnt want help.

The best you can do is ask him how he is feeling and what he is thinking. He might surprise you with some honest and most likely psychotic thoughts and feelings, or he may brush you off. It sounds like he is stuck in his own head and he is doing so on purpose. Get him out of the house, go out to eat or go to a zoo or museum or something, and see if he behaves normally. If he just refuses to leave the house, he most likely is having paranoia.

The bright side is that his case is very treatable. He has positive symptoms but not negative ones. By postive and negative, i dont mean good and bad, I mean things that shouldnt be there and things that should be there. An example is paranoia- a positive symptom, it is abnormal and shouldnt be there. Medication does wonders for positive symptoms, but not as much for negative symptoms.


#6

what you mentioned are schizophrenic behaviours and symptoms, consult to a psychiatrist to see if your bf is back to his illness and if yes see if he agrees to take meds or not, after taking meds for a while you can decide to remain with him or not.


#7

I’m far from an expert and can only tell you what I understand. Delusions, hallucinations and voices are considered to be positive symptoms. Having no motivation to do things like shower, go out or interact with the physical world would be negative symptoms. I think a break would be when the positive and negative symptoms take over to the point where the person can not function or take care of themselves. During my son’s last break he went days without eating. Barely sleeping or even drinking water. He had voices and hallucinations. This was before I had him admitted. It got worse before it got better as it takes medications time to work and stabilize. The break itself can last a long time when not treated. So I think break means break with reality.

I don’t know what your bf is currently experiencing. It doesn’t sound like he is having what I would call a full psychotic break but he does appear to be having symptoms of psychosis. This link may help as it discusses early signs of psychosis. http://www.cedarclinic.org/index.php/understanding-early-psychosis/early-signs-of-psychosis

Hallucinations are seeing, hearing, feeling things that we don’t. Delusions are believing things that don’t appear to us to be factual or real. Voices are entities that they hear and talk to that we can’t hear. Paranoia is when they feel like people are watching or talking about them or listening to their thoughts along with feelings of persecution. There is a lot more to it then this but just to give you an idea. Some delusions never quit go away as they become a part of the person’s memory the same as any “real” memory.

I’m not sure how you can get him to accept help right now other then starting with LEAP and trying to find something that you can both agree on that he may need help with. Dealing with anxiety may be an option. Instead of talking to him about psychosis talk to him about his anxiety levels and that maybe a doctor can help him to deal with those. My son takes his medications to help him deal with his anxiety. It’s something we can both agree on that he has. Lack of insight and/or anosognosia is very common. My son only recognizes that he has paranoia and anxiety.

If you read some of this forum you will find that parent’s not wanting to acknowledge a schizophrenia diagnoses is not that uncommon. Since he has previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia my guess would be it’s not that he is not into you but that he is experiencing psychosis related symptoms.


#8

Warmfelt thanks Barbie.
It’s being really hard on me. Unluckily there’s more to his distance than his possible illness. I’m crushed but I just can’t force him to love me.
Thanks again.