Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum



My son told me today that he has not showered for 10 days …I was shocked he shaves and brushes his teeth so I assumed he was showering, he took one today because he was going to see a friend…He is 38 how do you tell some one that age to shower
At lost for words, He always took pride in his appearance…


This is a common problem - one of the negative symptoms - you can read more about other people’s experiences here. Showering isn’t an “age” thing - in this case. He may not know he needs one, but does know that he doesn’t feel like showering. Perhaps some gentle encouragement would help.


There is nothing wrong with telling him flat out to jump in the shower if he starts smelling a bit funky.
Honestly, it’s not something others will say, they will just end up avoiding him if he isn’t fresh… not even a good friend wants to have to say it.
So do everyone, especially him a favor and tell him.
If he don’t smell, then not showering really isn’t an issue, as long as still brushes his teeth-(dentists can be very expensive)and looks presentable.


I know from the pass he had thought people were watching him in the shower ,but after the hospital stay last month he has not said any thing about it lately…thanks I will stay on top of that , I get so busy and it got pass me… Its a lot to do its like having a small child again, but this time I am alone doing this…


Well, it kind of is like having a small child again, and like a small child, we want to be autonomous and independent and live our own lives, just sometimes when things get to difficult, we need some help going in the right direction.
No one likes to be told what to do, but as my mom explained it very well, “if you don’t want to be told to do something, then do it so I don’t have to tell you”.
Wise woman she is, and I have the utmost love and respect that she she never accepted excuses and made us do what we needed to do, because it was not only good for us, but her as well. Responsibility is the foundation for a happy individual.


My husband (diagnosed 2 years ago) will not shower for a week, then will try to wear clothes that he’s worn all week. When I ask him to take a shower, he says he will, then doesn’t. Same with getting a hair cut or shaving. All of his will to care for his body is gone. He too is 38. Does this pass, or is this something we can move beyond?


I just looked at the calendar I keep to keep track of these things and it’s been over a week for my son as well. I have learned to adjust my expectations on this. Honestly I can go a week without showering. Most people probably wouldn’t admit that but behind closed doors I’m sure it’s more common then not. Sometimes it can take me a couple of days of gently reminding my son that it has been a week so it’s time. Other times he will jump right in the shower. I think it depends on how distracted he is by his own thoughts. The intend may be there but follow through is hard when your mind is full of other things. What’s important to me is not important to my son. The physical world and its rules mean little to him.

If showering itself is causing anxiety then suggest a bath. Sometimes I make it a condition to us going somewhere that he has to shower first. He has to brush his teeth before going out with me. Apparently toothpaste is optional :wink: Unless the shower is needed I don’t put a lot of emphasis on it.


I don’t have a shower but bathing has certainly got worse since i’ve been on my own.I say it’s because i like dislike the bath but it is probably more than that. Most days having a bath doesn’t come to the front of my mind nor does brushing my teeth(the latter is a long term problem according to in patient notes from over 30 years ago… No wonder my teeth are ruined).
I do strip wash every 5 or so days but having a bath is about a once a month or less thing.
I usually change my clothes if i strip wash but not always.
One thing i do do is wear my clothes to bed. I think this has become force of habit and the motivation to put on pyjamas is poor. Also maybe because when i wore them i would stay in them for days, only occasionally putting on clothes to go out.
Really have gone from one extreme to the other


For my big brother it wasn’t that he had no pride in his appearance. He did when it got mentioned. If I ever mentioned “oh, that shirt is dirty” He would try and sort of hide the spot. There was a glimmer in there that still cared. But my big bro has a large dose of disorganized SZ and sometimes it honestly didn’t occur to him to put on clean clothing.

He would forget where it was. The stuff in the wardrobe didn’t exist if the door was shut. He couldn’t see it, so it didn’t cross his mind. I would take the old clothing and put it in the hamper and then lay out the clean stuff and since he couldn’t find anything else, that sort of ended the decision process.

But somehow in his thick of negative symptom, he would still try an swim. It always amazed me that his love of swimming wasn’t completely decimated by this disease. So he did hit the water in some form at least once a week or so.

My brother doesn’t take showers due to positive symptoms, not negative; so he does do better with baths.


I think he is still scared of someone watching him ,he had said that before he uses the bathroom with the light off,when I say something about it he will start using it with light on for a day or so…but always go back to the dark,


Ah yes, the showers in the dark, I know them all to well. Now it’s only occasionally, but sometimes I feel more comfortable with no light at all. It’s not as if I don’t know where everything to wash is located at my age.

I started showering more once I gave myself a time limit of 10 minutes.
Convinced nothing bad could happen in under 10 minutes, and it also gave little time for others to successfully dig to deep in my things while I was otherwise occupied and out of my room.
Took many years to finally enjoy a shower again and now take one every night. 10 minutes is certainly better than nothing.