Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Help with what to do when they refuse help

Hi I’m a mother of a 35 year old daughter that was diagnosed with Schizo affective disorder. She refuses to take any medication for it although she was on olanzapine and I fell like it helped her, she is a drug user of pot and different pills. She is totally dependent on me, she gets progressively worse as time goes by, she refuses to see a doctor or therapist, I’m at the end of my rope I do not know what to do.

This is actually my first post, I just joined today. I just went through everything you’re describing a couple of months ago. My son is 21 and suddenly refused all medication. His behaviour became more and more erratic. He stopped sleeping and eating. When I described the lack of sleep and food his situation caught the attention of his workers and he was admitted to the hospital. He is back on his medications and I’ve been told it will be a few months before he will feel better, more like himself.
He is still struggling but I’m happy to say he is engaged in his recovery now.
I wish you the best of luck, it’s so hard when they refuse to take their medication and refuse any professional help.


Hi, I’m sorry you’re going through this. If you haven’t already, check out the books “I Am Not Sick I Don’t Need Help” and “You Need Help”

They aren’t going to solve things right away but they do give some helpful perspective and maybe some tools in navigating the issue of medication compliance with your loved one.

My sister struggles with compliance but has been making a great effort to be open to it. I found the biggest takeaway was working on my communication with her, making sure she felt her concerns were heard, even if I disagreed, and also trying to balance insisting on the right thing to do with her feeling she has a choice in her own healthcare.

But yes, there are always those bleak times when it seems there’s no path toward compliance and stability. I just try to have a calm conversation, ask what she concerns are, see if I can’t present options or conditions that would make medication more appealing.

It’s hard and often emotionally draining. Wishing you luck.

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Hi @1stepforward and @bjhulch , welcome to the site. You will find much good experience and information here to help you with your battle against your loved one’s severe mental illness. It is NOT an easy battle.

The biggest change that had to happen was in myself first. I had to find out about anosognosia. (on this site from @hope 's post). Over 60% of those with mental illness cannot see that they are ill. When I finally understood that blindness, compassion opened in me instead of anger at my daughter because she wouldn’t see she needed her meds. It isn’t that she wouldn’t see, she couldn’t see her own illness. Anosognosia. My daughter NEVER understood she needed medication until after she was on a stable medication for months/years. This is often why they refuse medication, they don’t see a need for it and only feel the side effects of taking it.

Also, the LEAP method for communication and gaining agreement in Dr. Amador’s book I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help was such a big help to me. I had to read the book 3 times to get out of it what I needed. But good communication starts with listening to your loved one (L) then empathizing with what they thing is wrong (E), only then can you forge some type of agreement (A), and get to a partnership (P) to bring about a change in their behavior. The key to getting my daughter to seek help was that she kept getting fired from jobs and didn’t know why (she didn’t see her own odd behavior). She finally agreed to take medication because it helped her to work a job (not because she had mental health issues, she had NO mental health issues in her own view of herself).

I wish you the best in gaining agreement for help from your loved ones.


Welcome to this great forum, I’m sorry sometimes my other responsibilities take priority and didn’t read your post earlier.
This illness is definitely the most challenging test I’ve been through as well but I find this group very helpful and many others relate their experiences on how they deal with their loved ones. Definitely you are at the right place. If there’s comfort in numbers this is it!

Take care.

My ex-boyfriend was on Abilify. He got a monthly injection (when he remembered to actually go to clinic and get it-this was a fight) and was supposed to take it orally but refused. I know how frustrating it is.