Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Dating less than a year and boyfriend has developed symptoms

I (25) have been dating my boyfriend (36) for about 7 months. 3 days ago he told me that for a little over a year (before we met) he started hearing voices and now sees someone that isn’t there. It was very difficult for him to tell me and he has said that since he shared with me the man he sees is very agitated and is telling him he shouldn’t have told me. It is upsetting him and I’m not sure how to pacify the situation. I’ve told him that I’m glad that he told me and that I’m here for him and try to keep an open, no judgemental dialogue but to be honest I’m scared. I’ve never dealt with anything like this. I love him and want to be supportive but I don’t know what to do. He hasn’t told anyone else and doesn’t want medical treatment. Yesterday he told me he’s having trouble distinguishing between dreams and reality and I suggested a journal but he said it was too much work. I want to help but he doesn’t seem willing to confront what’s happening to him and deal with it. Any advice and/or perspective would be appreciated.


I would highly suggest that you find a way to get him into a general practitioner or emergency dept. psychiatrist. .Psychosis can happen for a variety of reasons including Lyme disease, thyroid dysfunction, brain abnormalities, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, etc… It is a medical emergency when a person has psychosis and it can often be treated well. Could you make an appointment and go with him?

Hope he gets help soon.

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People are afraid to get treatment. They’re afraid of what others might think, they’re afraid they’ll get locked away forever & they’re afraid for reasons that don’t make sense to other people.

Since he still knows these things aren’t real, because at some point he might not be able to recognize he is sick, I would try to reassure him about seeing a doctor to see if you can get him in.

  1. Like TAG said, tell him there are all kinds of medical reasons this could be happening that are physical & you should go together to get it checked.
  2. Tell him that he’s not alone - so many people have the same type of problems that it’s hard to get an appointment.
  3. Tell him they will not send him to the hospital unless he’s trying to harm himself - which it sounds like he’s not.
  4. Remind him that treatment is still his choice. If he doesn’t like what a doctor says or what a medicine does, he has the choice to stop & do something else - or do nothing at all. So no real harm is done by seeking help.
  5. Doctors see things WAY worse than what’s going on with him daily, so they won’t even blink an eye. They certainly won’t be shocked.
  6. Wouldn’t it be nice to make the man & the voices go away & feel like himself again?
  7. Tell him you’ll be there every step of the way to make sure nothing bad happens to him.

Right now, he’s hearing voices & hallucinating. Those are the easy symptoms. If he gets paranoid or delusional, it will be much harder to reach him.


definitely a thorough medical and psychiatric evaluation is a critical first step

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Are his parents involved in his life? What do you think about talking with them?



I am writing to say, if your boyfriend is very ill with psychosis, he will need medical treatment.

As above, there are many causes of psychosis and he needs to be seen by a physician and a psychiatrist in order to determine what is causing these symptoms.

Many of us here have taken on the role of caregiver without being asked to do so. This is a choice, but I do not believe it is an appropriate choice for a young person in a relatively new dating relationship.

If your boyfriend needs treatment for psychosis, you cannot provide it.

You can give him space and be there for him as a loving presence, which I’m sure you always have been.

I do not advise you to make doctor’s appointments or take this on yourself because it is incredibly difficult to get treatment, especially if the person does not want to go to the doctor. Most of us have spent years being frustrated by the system; only a person who wants treatment or who is dangerously ill might receive it.

If he has severe mental illness, you cannot pacify the situation any more than you could cure cancer. It’s true that less stress and good sleep and diet can help just like they can help any person. A close relationship can be supportive. If you were my adult child I would say, take care of yourself and be with a person who can take care of himself.

If he can’t make the decision and take action to take care of himself, if he needs treatment, you can’t do it for him.

I would become acquainted with local crisis resources if someone I knew could not tell the difference between dreams and reality. That is what happened to my family member just before extreme crisis, though everyone is different.

If you break up with him because of his behavior, it’s not because of mental illness. Many people with mental illness are wonderful partners and parents. Do not put up with hurtful behavior whatever the cause.

But who knows? Maybe the love is strong and he gives you so much care and kindness while taking responsibility for himself.

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