Father suddenly refuses to take medicine after 10 years

Hi everyone. I’m new here but it seems like this forum could really help.

So recently my father has had problems with his medication. He started to refuse to take it after his psychiatrist deemed it okay for him to take a lower dose around last August. This seemed like a reasonable decision because my dad has been good with taking his medicine for around ten years. Once the dose was lowered however it was obvious that it shouldn’t have been done. He would stop taking them on his own and started to go through the entire side effect list. He said it would kill him. He also began to say that my mom’s food is poisonous. I believe he has had a couple of psychotic moments but he describes it as being “senseless” and “nervous.” He thinks that someone came into our home when he was senseless and put all these poisonous things in our home (certain spices for food, stain remover, toilet bowl cleaner… all of which were around before and all of which he threw out).

It was really difficult once he decided to go to a psychiatric “specialist” that a doctor friend he suddenly spoke to after years referred him to. Apparently that specialist did a bunch of tests like memory tests and deemed him to not have a mental illness. However, the number on the doctor’s card is a fax number not a phone number so we have been unable to reach him to confirm with him.

Last month we really had to get him to his actual psychiatrist or else he would get removed as a patient since he missed so many appointments (about 3 or 4 months). That was an extremely difficult and trying time and ultimately my sister and mother had to drag him to the hospital. (I go to school out of the state so it’s hard for me to actively do anything unfortunately.) After that he was hospitalized for a week, told his doctor he would take his meds, came back home and threw them down the garbage chute beforemy mother even thought he would do it.

We’re pretty much back at the same state as last month. His delusions have gotten worse (he thinks he’s going on a vacation back to our home country next month when his job isn’t stable, he thinks he’s going to be hired as a senior computer programmer since he did one interview, he keeps buying cheap, non-returnable things from the corner store as gifts to bring to his relatives). He also thinks my mom is the crazy one who needs to be taken to a psychiatrist. My mom and sister are basically fed up and tired so they’re depending on me. I tried using LEAP last time he was supposed to go to the doctor. It helped me learn a lot about his illness when I didn’t know he had it (I only learned about it last November because he was so good with his medication!). But he ultimately doesn’t see the times that he was taking the medicine as better because he has noticed all these “physical side effects,” like rashes and bumps on his arms and legs. I can’t really prove to him that it’s not part of the illness because it may actually be a side effect.

He also doesn’t trust his psychiatrist. I am afraid that there’s no other option besides hospitalization but doing that for a long amount time will be financially taxing. I’ve learned that he mainly wants to stay in america to work so he can pay for my education which makes me feel really guilty. My sister offered him the option of staying in our home country but leaving all his bank accounts in my name. In my opinion I feel he will be happy this way but it also feels like we’re throwing him away. I do want to work in mental health in the future so doing that would make me feel absolutely terrible.

Sorry for the long post but there’s a lot of things I’m conflicted about. I appreciate any help. Thanks.

I’m sorry you are going through a rough time. It is hard to force someone to take his meds if he refuses to. My voices also told me meds are poison, but I was so terrified of another psychotic episode that I decided to trust my pdoc.

I was in hospital for 6 months. Hospital is not all bad. Sometimes some ppl need it. Maybe your dad needs to be in hospital for more than a week. Until his meds start working again and he can see things clearly.

I don’t know what to tell you.
I just wanted to say that I wish you well and hope for his recovery.
jelly bean hug.

Thank you @Comatose and @onceapoet. Your words are helpful.

My mother told me that there’s also the long acting shot that his psychiatrist suggested. If I can get him to go to his appointment I think we can give him this injection and it will help a lot. The hard part is getting him there though. I tried to slowly breach the topic but the second I said anything about the hospital (even in a a bad way) he started ranting about how the hospital is trying to kill him and how he’s not sick.

Any tips? Or will we have to take him by force somehow?

It’s nearly impossible to force someone to be hospitalized as long as he is not a danger to him self or others. Is he violent? Or suicidal? If not I don’t know how to get him to hospital.

Is there any chanse the pdoc could come visiting him at home? In sweden we have a team coming hone to patients that are not hospitalized but in bad condition that they can’t come to the hospital them selves. They have visited me twice.

Welcome to the forum.

I wish that using LEAP could guarantee treatment compliancy. It helped you to have a better understanding of what your father is feeling and thinking which is great. It may not seem like much but it is.

I know long acting shots/injections is not a preferred choice for most but it may help in the long run. He has been medication compliant in the past so I’m guessing that his positive symptoms (voices, paranoia) are what is getting in the way of him being med compliant now. I know the last time my son was inpatient they spoke about him getting put on injection if he returned within a short period of time. Talk to his psychiatrist and find out what can be done to get him started on this. Maybe it can be done easier during an hospital admission.

In the meantime this link may help with some coping tips:

Look through the other links as well on the homepage: http://schizophrenia.com/

Has your family contacting NAMI? They may have some tips: http://www.nami.org/ - National Alliance on Mental Illness.

He isn’t violent or suicidal, as far as I cantell. He is able to take care of his own personal hygiene. He is even able to lie to doctors that he will take his medicine regularly, which is why he got out after only a week last time. However, since he is not in that serious of a state and since we depend on him financially, I don’t want him to be hospitalized for a long time. I know that he will not like it either.

Unfortunately the two big obstacles for me are to get him to go to a doctor he thinks is trying to kill him and then voluntarily accept the injection.

If I were in his position, I’d want my family to say I was suicidal and have the police pick me up. I’ve lied to doctors and probably would again if off my meds (and that far gone).
The longer you stay checked out the harder it is to check in.
I hope you find the answer that is right for you.
I hate that doctor who tricked you that way.

Have you ever read anything by Machiavelli?
That’s how you’re supposed to treat Schizophrenia.

I’ll keep that in mind as a last resort.

We went shopping today at a faraway mall and he was fine. The only unusual thing he did was stare at us through the store window since he was waiting outside and we were taking a long time. He was slightly anxious to leave, though I can’t tell if the anxiety is due to his sz or just his personality. As long as I can recall he has been a rather anxious person. It might just be a bit amplified by his sz.

Things like this make me very hesitant to admit him to the hospital long term. In the distant future it may be for the best but currently it doesn’t seem like a very good option. Still conflicted.

I was thinking about this and I wondered what reason he had for going off the meds in the first place. It might be to late but if you can find out you might be able to nip that problem in the bud if it comes back up after he has been stabilized.

Her father’s psychiatrist actually initialized the med reduction which seems to have triggered positive symptoms. :frowning:

^ yes that’s right. Although when I used LEAP before I also learned that he couldn’t explain why he consisntently took the meds either.

Updating because things got… really bad. My mom and I spoke to his pdoc and learned more about the slow-release injection. It seemed like a good option so we made an appointment for this coming Wednesday. All that was left was getting my dad to the appointment. He has conplained on numerous occasions that when he was hospitalized for a week, the hospital was very unhygienic, starved him, something there burned his foot, etc. So the doctor suggested that we get him to go by saying we’ll get him discharged.

Went to speak to him today so he could get the day off and it ended rather disasterously. He continuously yelled about how my mom and sister left him for dead last time, that there was no need for me to call the doctor, that if he dies then we’ll all be hopeless, etc. I tried to calmly explain to him that I did it because he complained about the bad conditions so we’ll go to get him discharged. He refused to believe it and said that they’ll keep him there if he goes there, and they’ll kill him. We all tried to tell him that we’re doing this because we care and want him to stay alive but he repeated that we’re trying to kill him. He basically said that since we’re all fine with him just dying in the hospital he’ll go back to our home country and stay there. (The chances of his relatives thinking he’s crazy and throwing him into a mental hospital with very substandard mental healthcare is 100% guaranteed.)

I fear that at this point long-term hospitalization is necessary. This has left me rather shaken.

I’m sorry that it has come to this. Unfortunately it is a step a lot of us caregivers find ourselves having to take. It won’t be easy and he will be mad. Try to look past this to a time where hopefully he will be stable again and the anger will start to fall away.

I feel a little guilty though. As long as we don’t mention any medicine, doctors, or hospitals, he is relatively unproblematic. There are just a few consistent instances of his paranoia and delusions. I’m trying to reassure myself by saying that it’s better to tackle them now before they end up escalating.

My mom and I will speak to his psychiatrist tomorrow and see if we can arrange a visit from the mobile crisis team. Hopefully they’ll be able to give the injection.

So the mobile crisis team came today. To be honest, I don’t think they were very helpful. There was a social worker that spoke to my dad and my dad gave his usual speech about how he stopped taking medicine for five months and felt perfectly healthy, and still feels fine. I don’t know if a professional hearing it will make a difference, but I hope it does. We also gave them information about his primary care physician (the only doctor he trusts) and the psychiatrist he saw that told him he was fine.

They ended up canceling his appointment, though, since he expressed that he didn’t want to go at all and since they were unable to convince him to go. I understand that there’s a lot they can’t do because he’s not a harm to anyone/himself, but it seems like we will only be able to help him once he reaches that breaking point. Rather frustrating since we are doing everything we can so that he doesn’t reach it.


I had to watch my son what they call decompress until I could not watch anymore. When I called the crisis team he was not able to pull it together long enough to fool them. After a couple of minutes talking to them he opened up about what he was really thinking.

Since that there have been a couple of occasions where I found myself in a position of wondering if trying to stop a break was best or letting it happen so that we could start on the road to recovery faster. Luckily the breaks didn’t happen on their own. Just wanted you to know that I do feel for you. It is a touch situation. :purple_heart:

Thank you. We took a much needed break this weekend to visit family friends (ironically, my dad’s best friend) this weekend and left him at home alone since he had work. I know he can take care of himself so it’s fine. I’m just worried that he will throw out a lot of things while we’re not there. He also didn’t call to ask where we were, which he would do quite often before.

I don’t know what to do… we came home and everything that we use was thrown out. Lotions, food, mear, shampoo, first aid, my mother’s expensive and necessary prescription medications. … all of it. We immediately knew that he had to be hospitalized. We got a family friend to over and help, then we called 911. Ems came and spoke to him. But of course to them he said he was fine and everything. They did the physical and said that his heart rate was veryvery fast for a resting person. They tried to play on that to get him to go. They asked us for his ddischarge papers last time he was in the hospital but of course, he threw it all out. They couldn’t take him involuntarily. They said hin throwing all that stuff out was just an inconvenience.

911 is supposed to be the last resort. If that doesn’t work, what are we supposed to do? When they left he started to yell at us. He grabbed my sister and scratched her arm and took her phone away saying that he would break it. Before 911 came he saidd that we should move out and he’ll live here by himself. He said we bothered him. We told ems all of this and they still didn’t do anything. The psych emergency ward at the hospital said they couldn’t do anything and thst if we call 911 and told them everything we just told her then he should be involuntarily admitted. I want to do this but we’re all afraid it won’t work again, and he’ll just pretend he’s okay again.

Did you try leaving the house the way he put it and showing them that?

I mean… we just came back from leaving him alone for a couple of nights. And this is what happened. It really does seem like he threw everything out because he doesn’t want us to be here. If you’re saying that we should have shown ems how everything was thrown out then we did. They barely even looked at the house and just wanted us to find official proof, specifically the discharge papers. They didn’t accept a prescription he got for abilify or papers from 2008.

We’re going to try speaking to everyone we can in the hospital and also looking into the mental hygiene warrant but if all else fails we have no choice but to move out. We just don’t feel safe here. But this feeling isn’t enough for involuntary admission because he won’t act up in front of any authority that can admit him.