Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Eating disorder

I’m extremely worried about my schizoaffective 21 year old son who has developed an eating disorder and is now below his average weight . He believes most foods are not good for him . He eats very small portions and often stops eating certain foods all together . He sometimes tells me things like ,’’ i can’t eat salmon as it’s not good for my heart or its damaging my liver .’’ Has anyone else experienced similar eating disorders with their loved ones ?

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In a way this is good considering most of these meds cause significant weight gain… He might know this…

Hey Linda
What does he like to eat?
Have you ever heard of the ketogenic diet?

My sister, who is not on medication and is quite psychotic, has also gotten very thin.

She was always quirky, and began to really focus on what she ate and drank as an adolescent in ways that were perhaps a little extreme for the culture of the time (e.g. only drinking bottled water to avoid contaminants, which is no longer all that uncommon) but for reasons that basically made sense.

She apparently began to have difficulty eating much as her symptoms progressed. She lives a long way away and rarely is in contact. However, I would be quite surprised if there was no connection between her delusions and her eating issues - perhaps a more extreme fear of contaminants but she also experiences paranoia so there could be fears that others are trying to cause her harm via food.

Her significant other will leave a plate of food out for her at night and sometimes she will eat a little.

My son, earlier in his illness, around the same age as your son is now, had the same behaviors, and became very thin.
At other times he has been driven to overeat certain foods, as well as become overweight due to medications.
He is currently eating a fairly reasonable diet, but it is always an adventure to find out what he things he can or can’t eat. He is concerned about his health but doesn’t necessarily make informed choices for optimal health.

Hi Thanks for all your replies ,Yes i have heard of the veto diet but my son is not interested .He has recently seen a nutritionist at his request and did not follow any of his recommendations. He told me he eats healthy and he does when he actually eats something , i don’t understand it and I’m watching him getting thinner and thinner every day and its out of my hands . How do i deal with this ? He likes most foods but refuses to eat it saying its not good for him .
Vallpen : Your son sounds very similar to mine being concerned about his health but making the wrong decisions about what he can eat or not .

I’m sorry about the added stress of this. My son (almost 30 now) has since that time laughed and said he will never eat another mouthful of kale!

If your son becomes dangerously underweight, you would then have the option of stepping in as he will be a danger to himself.

What can you offer him that he is interested in eating? And can you “sneak in” a few extra calories in the things he will eat? My son likes fruit smoothies and there are all kinds of ways to add things to them to improve his health. I used to sneak veggies into things when he went thru a phase of thinking they were bad for his digestion.

The problem is that he doesn’t live with me and i’m working full time and long hours to cook for him , having said that if i do get a little time to cook he sometimes eats and depending on his mood will say , i can’t eat that mum its not good for me . i feel like a nagging mother , calling him and asking him what he ate . The last 3 days he has eaten 1 tuna sandwich from subway , for what ever reason he says its good for him . I pray he grows out of this .

My son now says he’
s a vegan. He went into the hospital weighing 245 and is still in the hospital and weighs 175.

Im so sorry to hear that , does he say why he doesnt want to eat ? how did you get him into the hospital ? are they helping him in the hospital with his weight ? im so worried he will end up in the hospital too . he’s 129 .

I bet he will eat ice cream…

actually no , i just offered him to go out and get some . he refused

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At least you tried…

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In 2016, my son who has schizoaffective disorder also developed an eating disorder after becoming non-compliant to his medication. The only thing that he would eat was a few peanuts. He was about 25 pounds underweight. His disorder was due to paranoia. I was able to get the police to take my son to the hospital on a 5150 involuntary hold as my son was harming his own health. He spent one month in a mental health facility. The first week, he ate very little and the medical staff believed that he was going to the restroom to vomit. During the second week, with medication, he became eating normally again.

Yes, my 25 year old has gone from not eating to eating all the time. Anything. It’s the medication. He also drinks fast like he hasn’t had anything to drink for a long time.

My son is med compliant even though has no insight . He ate so much due to his meds but the last 9 months has been terrible . Does any of your loved ones work ? My son barely picks up jobs and i don’t understand it . He works delivering food , may do 3 or 4 jobs a week which is nothing and says its too much for him . i can see he has racing thoughts and smiles to himself from time to time as if someone said something funny to him … all strange and stressful to me .

I have been through this with my son who is now 39. It is part of the illness, of course. It doesn’t matter what I say or do, he will decide what he thinks is appropriate to eat. My son is obese from meds yet he tells me everyday that he is getting thinner. Just roll with the punches!

sorry to hear , trust me im getting punched every day !

My son, was going through the same. But only when he was in phychosis. He was so skinny, it broke my heart. You have every right to be concern. Does he like protein shakes? If he does maybe you can give him that. I been giving my son protein shakes in the morning. My advise, from my experience, maybe see how much he is eating. I know you mention, he is not with you, so that may be hard. I would keep an eye on his weight, the reason I say this is because they can get malnourished. I took mine to the hospital, because of his phychosis and they did a complete blood work. I found out he was malnourished. I am sorry you are going through this, I know is so hard. If is not one thing is another.

Thank you Lily , today he ate half a tuna sandwich and says he will eat the rest soon , i feel so anxious and drained watching him get thinner and thinner . Even if i offer him a shake he will only allow himself to drink a very small shot . Good idea to get some blood work done to see if he is malnourished . he’s down to 127 pounds and should weigh at least 140 -169 . did your son say why he wasn’t eating much ? i hope he’s well now .