Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Desperate to help a friend

My friend is a 40 year old man I’ve known for 25 years. His wife has a family history of schizophrenia and within the last few years she’s started hearing voices.

She’s grown increasingly paranoid and refuses to seek treatment. Her best friend is a nurse and strongly suggested treatment, soon after all contact with that friend was cut off.

Her church tried to get her into treatment, soon after she left the church.

Within the last 6 months her delusions have started to involve him.
She wants a divorce, he wants a divorce, but he may just be exhausted. Complicating the matter are their two young children who will of course be the real victims.

He’s been told that until she does something “crazy” then there is nothing that can or will be done for her.

If they leave things as they are now I can’t see any other outcome but her ending up homeless or worse. Her kids need her.

What can he do? How can I help them all?


You are a good friend for wanting to help.

If both of you are in the US, give him the number for the NAMI helpline 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has local chapters throughout the United States. There are similar organizations in other countries.

You could also give him a copy of Dr. Amador’s book, I AM NOT SICK, I Don’t Need Help. The book describes the LEAP method to help people with serious mental illnesses seek treatment even when they have lack of insight into their illnesses (anosognosia).

Good luck.

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Sigh. There is no one single answer to your question. Each afflicted person has a different set of circumstances, and each family must handle things differently.

The paranoia and delusions of the illness are often directed at the person doing the caregiving, which makes it soooooo hard on the parent, spouse, sibling trying to provide care and encouragement.

Not recognizing that they are ill is common to the majority of people with hallucinations and delusions.

So between not recognizing that they are ill (and not getting care) and antagonism aimed at caregivers, when someone is in the crisis of psychosis, they are very hard to help. It is so very hard to help someone who doesn’t want help.

I suggest you read as much as you can on this site to learn what others have done to help a loved one. If you get 100 good ideas from the site, somewhere, sometime, some of them will help you help your friend. I wish you the best.

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