Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Friend with Schizophrenia, can you advise me?


#1

I have a close friend who was diagnosed with schizophrenia – I need advice from those who might understand what’s going on with him.
I, myself, have social anxiety, but as a pair we get on really well.

He spent a few years in wards from which I didn’t see him. Then he was allowed to meet once a week. Then had more and more freedom. This was great, we’d meet up every week, he’d communicate better than me (I hate answering the phone to anyone due to social anxiety). Anyway, things were fine, then he was granted his own place to live without care – full responsibility. Since this, he’s gradually got worse and worse.
From forcefully pushing his girlfriend (who also has the condition) in reply to her stabbing him, to ending up with a short suspended prison sentence, to falling out with his step mother and father (who he’d reunited with for the first time a year earlier). Basically, he’s all over the place.
I doubt he is taking his medication (this I don’t know), he is definitely taking cannabis, and probably other things like steroids, cocaine and alcohol.
He had a child with the girlfriend mentioned above, due to them getting at each other and falling out a lot, she put a restraining order on him, meaning he cannot see the baby.
Anyway, as a close friend, I feel it’s important not just for me to see my best mate, but for him not to end up going down this sad route. But, I’m not sure what to do and I have a few questions that you might be able to answer.

  • Is this behaviour normal when not receiving care
  • How can people around him help?
  • Why would he not be responding to me (feels as though he is ignoring me)
  • He tried contacting me sporadically and then immediately disappears when I try to reply a day later
  • He’s active on Facebook (on and off), but hasn’t opened or replied to my messages, and I believe come others have had the same issue.
    Others seem to be as confused as me with some of his actions. Such as getting back with the girlfriend who he couldn’t stand a week earlier and tried to hit and got put in jail for a short spell (not the first time either). Then having crazy tattoos on his face. Taking out 10s of contract phones just to sell them for half the value and get in serious finance issues. Because of this, his phone number has changed so much recently and spells without having a contactable phone.
    Then these spells usually end and he becomes communicative once again, until the next spell. However, this spell seems to be quite a bit longer than normal, and these spells are increasing.
    As I said, I find it hard with socialising so it’s not easy to deal or know how to respond with this. But I welcome your views, ideas and input. Thanks!

#2

As someone who suffers from schizophrenia, that sort of behaviour while not receiving care is more often than not what occurs whilst taking drugs. In order for him to get help, he has to accept he has a drug problem. He may not be responding due to the fear of returning to an institution. It sounds like you genuinely care about your friend, having schizophrenia and a drug problem is a big no no. There are mental health programs designed for those of us who suffer from a mental illness and a drug problem. Often they are called Dual Recovery programs. Perhaps you could look into research about a Behavioral Health Therapy location available near your friend. Go easy on him, drugs make a person impulsive and that may be dangerous. It sounds like you care about him, but he has to care about himself a little more. It is not your fault he is having a hard time. Perhaps you could help by advising him kindly and patiently from time to time not to take drugs. Schizophrenia has moments of episodes and crisis where one becomes out of touch with reality. Being off medications in itself is incredibly difficult, being off medications and on drugs well… anyone on drugs begins to deteriorate. Keep a positive mind, and try to reach out to him in moments when he seems clear minded. I wish you and your friend the best. People around us tend to give up on us after the first 5 years of diagnosis or so.


#3

Sounds like a personality disorder, like Borderline Personality Disorder, could be at play, as well.

Especially with stuff like, “getting back with the girlfriend who he couldn’t stand a week earlier” and so on.

BPD is under-diagnosed in males due to sexist stereotyping, men with BPD are more likely to be labeled with other things, such as AsPD, or simply seen as “bad people” without any analysis at all.

The hot/cold thing as opposed to complete withdrawal is an indicator.

Not that he doesn’t also have schizophrenia, but people with BPD can also experience psychosis, paranoid delusions for sure, it is just interpersonal in nature as opposed to like, paranoia about the government, as a stereotyped example.

Then yeah drugs make everything worse, no matter what someone has. Alcohol and cocaine would definitely make anything worse.

Stuff like “Taking out 10s of contract phones just to sell them for half the value and get in serious finance issues” sounds impulsive, poor judgement. Could be mixed states in bipolar 1.

Anyway my main point is that there may be more to the story than schizophrenia, so it’s best to be careful since he has shown he can get violent with people. He also seems to attract crazy people, too (she stabbed him???). PDs tend to attract PDs.

Honestly if I were you, I would just stay out of it. Maybe get him some contact information for getting help, but other than that, don’t try to play rescuer / white knight.


#4

Thanks for your replies. Whilst he is having this bad period I will stay away until he contacts. If he seems bad I will ask how he is and suggest he dosen’t take anything other than his meds. I think he might end up either in prison or back in care the way he is - maybe the care is the best thing for him I think. Just wished he could see what he is doing.