Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Friend with schizoaffective disorder

Hi Everyone, I’m new here. I needed an outlet and some insight as to what I need to do as a friend. My best friend growing up has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder with psychosis and has been hospitalized numerous times within the past 2 years (That I know of). Just recently it all came to a head and she’s having delusions that I feel are out of control. My problem is that I want to help her but when I hang out with her she doesn’t talk to me and when she does she lies to me. She also tries to drink alcohol which makes her delusions worse. I see her spiraling out of control but i know she has the support of her family. A couple years ago she put me in a really dangerous situation that almost got me killed so I am honestly scared of what might happen when I’m with her. Her brother texted me when I was with her and told me anything that happens to her hes gonna hold me responsible. That didn’t sit right with me. I want to help her but I dont know how. I don’t know what to do does anyone have any advice for me?

If you know her family well, I would suggest that you speak to them and ask how you can be a friend to their loved one. If you dont feel safe with her then I suggest distancing yourself until she is in a better place. This illness takes a lot of patience and tolerance. You are a good friend!


Can you talk to her parents since her brother seems to be more confrontational? (you’re not at all responsible for what your friend does when you’re with her)…ask them how to best remain her friend and point her in the direction of treatment…
It may be that you will have to distance yourself or strictly limit the time and places you interact with one another in the future until she regains some stability. Take care of yourself.


Thanks everyone. I think I’m going to reach out to her mom and ask what I can do to help. I’ve been distancing myself from her in hopes that she would get help like last time but it seems to be getting worse. And I feel bad about that. Thank you for for suggestions it really helps.


You are right that a really good way to help is to stay away from alcohol and illicit drugs if you two hang out together.

And it shouldn’t sit well with you. The comment may be coming from frustration he has at trying to control the disease for her. You simply can’t. All you can do is control your response. Let him know you would never purposely endanger his sister and you are doing your best to be her friend.

As her friend understand, if she is taking meds, the alcohol counter acts them, pretty much making them useless. Moreover alcohol even in a mentally healthy person can have an adverse effect when consumed in excess. So for everyone’s sake, one response would be “I will not drink with you”.

As for the “lies” you should understand this illness really effects how they process external happenings as well as their own thought process. What is a obvious lie to you may not be one to her. It may be her reality. So another response is not to engage in a adversarial conversation about what is the truth.

She really does need a good friend and it is kind of you to try. Continue to reach out to her parents and ask them how they deal with her behavior. They have seen more of it than you and probably are the best resource you could have.