Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Do symptoms reduce to zero while on meds?


#1

If somebody is sucesfully treated by medication and continues to take that medication, then while taking it do are all their symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations entirely eliminated, or do they still linger to some small amount?


#2

Simple answer - sometimes, but some symptoms often linger to varying degrees.


#3

A book I read on schiz said 70 percent of patients get full relief of positive symptoms. 20 percent get partial relief and 10 percent get no relief of positive symptoms at all.


#4

There are many factors plays into the equation.
if someone is diagnosed early at the onset of his illness and taking medicine without interruption, he is likely to get better a lot faster and get rid of all symptoms than someone who has been sick for a while and has been on and off and medicine and in-out of hospital for long period like 2+ years for example.
Also, it depends on what medicine someone is taking. Some medicine works for someone and may not work for another. Sometimes, 2 different Antipsychotic may be needed for some people.
Also, some people are more complaint than others on Medicine.
As you see there is no definite Answer. It is trial and test type of exercise.


#5

I’ve started seeing a psychiatrist to help me with depression and we spend most of our time talking about schizophrenia (of course) and his input was that negative symptoms are more difficult to manage than positive. My son’s primary positive is delusional thinking, however his negative symptoms (particularly hygiene) are what is most openly obvious.

Here’s one article that states “Negative symptoms are more difficult to treat than the positive symptoms of schizophrenia and represent an unmet therapeutic need for large numbers of patients with schizophrenia.”


#6

Yes they have known since the 80s that glutamate dysfunction plays an important role in getting schizophrenia. After all this time no medication is avaliable to treat glutamate dysfunction which causes negative symptoms. Many scientists believe glutamate dysfunction is at the root cause of schizophrenia not dopamine dysfunction. I think it’s pretty poor that no one can come up with a drug to treat negative symptoms. However maybe try the dietary supplement sarcosine.


#7

I need to add this is when they take aps


#8

My daughter had 4 hospitalizations with forced medication. The first 3 produced very little decrease in positive or negative symptoms and caused extreme lethargy. After her 4th hospitalization, almost all of her positive and negative symptoms disappeared for one month. She almost her “old” self (out of her room, working a job, able to shop on her own, etc.) All was well, except that she still had ZERO insight, even on the successful med combination, she never knew she was ill and couldn’t see that she was better. I guess that is why she went off the meds, she saw zero benefit.

She reverted to hearing voices, constant talking aloud to her “beings”, being paranoid, isolating in her room, not being able to concentrate or work, and disorganized thinking and speech. She was probably on an injection, with oral Haldol and Trileptal. She stopped the oral Haldol and Trileptal on her return home, but stayed well for weeks, until the shot wore off.


#9

My daughter said she has learned to not call every hallucination a setback. She was extremely nervous recently at her hearing before a judge to be approved for SSI benefits. She said she saw an old hallucination she used to have about a man who had brought her comfort in times of stress holding and he was petting a cat. She described this as a setback to her therapist. He told her it was not a setback, but a symptom. He said if she expected to be hallucination free for the rest of her life, she was in for a big disappointment because the meds and therapy do not take away symptoms entirely, but they do help her manage and respond to them much better. He said if she were totally symptom free for the rest of her life, she would not have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. She will tell me about her symptoms and I am blessed for that. She said they occur rarely and she can manage them without nearly as much stress. She and I are both happy about her progress and we will not feel that she has somehow failed at getting better. It has taken a long time to get to this point and we are rejoicing.


#10

My spouse believes there will be a cure for SZ, or a way to identify the gene that cause it, within the next 20 years. I’m not holding my breath, and that may be too late for us, but I pray that there will continue to be medical advances for all along the way.


#11

I wish I could remember each person’s story on this site, as we each tend to post bits of our stories in multiple topics. However, I just want to ask if you have tried LEAP methodology (or something similar to it) to try to convince her to take meds…for reasons that SHE wants and NOT because she is sick…


#12

Yes, perhaps there should be a single thread for our short stories. I’ve often wished there were one. I learn so much from each family’s experience. (Similar to the NAMI support groups: the 3 minute introduction each family member gives if they want to).


#13

Except at NAMI Support Group we get to see faces! And the people often sit in the same place each week! Ha!


#14

There is a place under our name where we can tell our story and all our comments are listed. I can see other peoples activity as well as mine.


#15

@mungbeans - It sure seems like the majority of my sons symptoms are gone. He seems almost normal to me. He is working over 50 hours a week. Still mostly stays in his room when he is home - he actually goes out to smoke and in and out to do that quite a bit. He will come out of his room when I am home. Something he used to not do and talks to me but not for long. He’s still a bit off and I’m not sure how he is at work but he says it’s fine and has been working since in end of June. I am sure at some point he will refuse the meds and we’ll see if it all comes back. Have you managed to get your wife into the doctor?


#16

I can see where you typed “mom in CO…” but I cannot find how to add anything under my name. There is an edit button to change the photo, but not to type in something under the photo…


#17

@oldladyblue - go to settings. To get here click on your circle/photo. for me its the D
29%20PM|298x232 -

click on the gear. I’m guessing you did that 'cause you can see where to change your photo. On the left menu bar click on profile and then you can add info about yourself. I suppose I should update mine.


#18

In your question are you seeking hope that someone can put this behind them and have a “normal” life. If so you are setting yourself up for a huge letdown at some point. The meds are powerful and work in varying degrees for people. Think of it this way someone with high blood pressure can take meds and his blood pressure can be perfect for years. But the underlying cause of the illness is still present. As we age, our entire bodily system undergoes change and BP meds can lose efficacy or stress can cause BP to be difficult to control. Your symptoms may be controlled to the point it appears there are none, but they are always lurking under the surface. Same with SZ.

The reason I ask is my son’s former spouse had expectations a “no symptom” control would be attainable with meds and was hugely disappointed in the fact they were not. Many times dosage increased, meds added or subtracted with the end result is overwhelming side effects and abrupt refusal to take anymore (will not even go into the wild ride of sudden non compliance). Better to set a attainable goal with medicine management of what symptoms can be lived with and try CBT to manage living with the illness. If while working on the attainable goal, you experience no symptom relief, enjoy it. But do not expend all your energy trying to force meds.

Currently my son lives the symptoms and no drugs. A couple of years of CBT and he has some tools for dealing with delusions and auditory hallucinations. Although over this summer it got rough. Today was a good day --he’d cut his hair and showered and even alluded to the stress that pushed him over the edge.

But probably the most important part of this journey was not “fixing” my son, but fixing how I viewed this particular card we dealt in the game of life.


#19

@oldladyblue and @DianeR It took me awhile but I found it! Thank you for the guidance. I’ve added my basic profile info (primarily about son and his illness). Nothing exciting. :slight_smile:


#20

Everyone is different and it often takes time to find the right medication in the right dosage and then you have to give the medication enough time to reach full efficacy. I wish it was as easy as just pick a pill take it and you are cured…not usually so easy. My son is on a successful protocol of clozapine and depakote and his positive symptoms are pretty much gone (positive referring to the worst symptoms, ie; voices, serious delusions, odd behaviors) Yet many negative symptoms remain, lethargy, isolation, lack of self direction and motivation, disorganization at times and some lingering behaviors like sleeping in his street clothes, refusing to ever be without shoes on except in bed or in the shower. Quirky things but tolerable. Then again my son went through trials of at least 8 or 10 different medications over about a 4 year period before we found the right one at the right dose, then it took another year or 2 to see the full benefits of it. In retrospect, it was worth it.