Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Destroys cell phones

Not sure if my last post went through so this may be a repeat. In the last 12 months my schizoaffective son has destroyed his cell phone 4 X and a couple of lap tops.

It’s expensive as I have paid for them. I hate for him to be even more isolated but I don’t think he is learning to stop himself or can’t help it.

Anyone else deal with this insanity ?


Indeed. I gave up on laptops for a while, and tried to keep phones insured, or went with the cheapest ones around.

My son also trashed 2 laptops and at least 2 cell phones. I am glad he has been conserved and in a Locked facility for 8 months now…
I have been working 2 jobs for the last 4 years to keep my finances above water.
I would say get a cheap Laptop/cell phone. they have them on Ebay, Bestbuy, Amazon,etc…

There are some pretty cheap cell phones, fifteen to twenty dollars. These I make sure are available.

I waited about a year a half to replace a broken computer. Living without was okay.

My son has broken a phone in the past. Is your son. perhaps, trying to fix it and is actually breaking it?

My son broke his cell phone and his xbox. He regretted it because we didn’t have the money to replace them. He eventually bought a new cell phone with his own money and he got cheaper Xbox for his birthday.

He also destroyed an old wooden chair in his room. I have warned him that I will call the police if he gets out of control. I’m not sure if that’s right but since he’s a man and I’m home alone with him, I feel safer having some recourse for his actions. These things happened a few years ago before his dx and, thankfully, he has not had outbursts in quite some time.

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Insurance covered the first 3 but then he was dropped. Even the copay is not cheap. I am not aware of how to get a cheap phone compatible w Verizon. He has done it when he skipped a “ few pills”.

Hearing voices.


Something an early psychosis program therapist told us a while back, when our son was early on in this journey…

“Sometimes family members start to tolerate things that are really not ok, once their loved ones get a diagnosis of schizophrenia”.

She told us not to fall into that trap. We need to set boundaries for behavior, so we’re not held hostage.

Sometimes we do have to call the police. I have.


I lived with some difficult symptom-generated behavior for awhile and then started to apply standards of behavior to my family member that I apply to everyone, including myself. I have told family member the police will be called if there is aggressive property destruction I witness (throwing, kicking, or punching things), harm to self, harm to others, or threats/ threatening behavior. Which I would seriously do if anyone was in my house doing that stuff.

If I don’t witness cell phone destruction, then I don’t do anything because a few of my “normal” friends have broken cell phones when they were upset or by accident. And I replaced cell phones because of my need to communicate (if possible).

Standards of behavior is a good idea. Accountability.

It’s what I expect but he blames his illness.

My son does the same thing. He’s gotten better over the years because if he breaks them he has to buy a new whatever he broke himself. The problem is he believes that he is being hacked by the voices he hears on the electronic device. My opinion would be to make him pay for them himself. He is then accountable for his actions. I also tend to find a cheap replacement for him. He still has to pay for it. If you buy no plan phones for cheap and just hook them to your wifi its cheaper. Also you can call him on messanger.
Hope this helps.


Yes, twice my son removed the sim card from his grandmother’s cellphone. The first time, we found the sim card taped to the kitchen cabinet. The second time, we were not able to find the sim card. In addition to the cellphone, he disconnected the landline telephone, and shut off the water to the house.

Our son with SZ has developed new manifestations of this illness called FTD or Formal Thought Disorder (you can look up all the various symptoms if interested). His thoughts and speech are extremely disorganized and we see a lot of confusion. He is currently staying at a personal care home.
He is frequently moving items, sometimes including furniture, around his room and taking things apart. He has an affinity for cords. TV never works because he has moved or removed cords or SIM card. In the last 6 weeks he has broken 3 lamps. He goes in other resident rooms uninvited. (The facility is going to get a special lock for his door so they can better monitor his activity.) He has locked himself in a bathroom, as well as in another resident’s room and bathroom. We find other people’s laundry in his room. He tears up paper and photos. It is not unusual to find objects in his laundry basket or other odd places. He recently went missing for about an hour and a half…had signed out (which is permitted but did not make eye contact with staff as required) to go “to the store” but ended up having wandered into a nearby home. A relative there with Alzheimers may have let him in. Thankfully the homeowner recognized something wasn’t right and called the police (who had just been notified and description matched exactly) and did not file charges and he was returned gently and safely. I know you all realize he could just as easily have been shot. In addition to cameras that are already in place, the facility is going to add a special lock to his bedroom door so they can more easily keep tabs on him when he leaves his room. Today they sent me a video…he was playing the piano! We are hoping to switch him to Clozaril.

My son has destroyed his cell phones couple of times and also ipad. Because he has schizophrenia, he was hearing voices of people through the phone. The voices coming through the phone were making him mad enough to smash the phone on the floor. Similarly he was seeing videos of people bothering him on his ipad and so he smashed that as well. I totally agree we want to have some way to communicate with our family member. Also some times his things were also getting stolen. So the best solution is buy them something which nobody even wants to steal.

Yea. Like a vegetable tray ?


Good ideas and I appreciate people putting forth their wisdom and experience.



They are highly suspicious of cell phones and computers. Landlines are ok for my son. Some days it is bad and my son cant watch tv or listen to the radio. He has made me turn my phone off and put in in another room at times… He won’t go online at his house but will use my computer to look up and order things on line—which get shipped to my address.

As far as isolation-- on the good days he talks to me or a few other family members. And he is completely satisfied with the small group of people he interacts with so that is more important to me than what I might perceive as isolation. More important is he functions in his odd way and is for the most part happy.

My daughter has thrown away 4 cell phones of hers (that I bought) and recently threw away 4 of my small electronic devices (speakers, MP3 players, chargers, etc.). She also occasionally throws away other things while I am away at work. I usually totally lose my temper and pound on her door and yell that she is never to do that again. She usually doesn’t for about 6 months after that.

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Yes we have been through numerous phones with my son , also PlayStations and a tv , when the voices and delusions are so strong he can’t manage other noises , it’s took a few months but he does ask me turn off any devices now x

A nice, honest answer! We probably all sometimes totally lose it. I know I do.