Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How can you treat someone who doesn’t accept they are ill?

On 3 July 2014, Misty Mayo boarded a Greyhound bus bound for Los Angeles. Desperate to escape her hometown of Modesto in Stanislaus County, 300 miles north in California’s Central Valley, the 41-year-old thought the 4th of July fireworks in LA would be the perfect antidote.

Even a mugging at the Modesto bus station didn’t deter her. When she arrived in LA the next morning with just a few dollars in her pocket, Misty immediately asked a police officer for directions to the fireworks display. She also knew she would need to find a Target pharmacy to refill her medication, but decided it could wait until later.

Later came and went. With no money in a strange city, Misty found the bus system too confusing to navigate. The longer she went without her cocktail of antipsychotics to keep the worst symptoms of her schizoaffective disorder at bay, the more difficult it became to remember that she even needed medication. In the sweltering July heat, Misty roamed the streets of Santa Monica, trying to grab a few minutes of shut-eye where she could. Mostly, she was too afraid to sleep.

Misty’s worsening mental state left her combative and paranoid. Her memories of this time are vague at best, but hospital records show a series of psychiatric hospitalisations during July and August. She was arrested at least once. By now, Misty no longer recognised that she had a health problem. Not surprisingly, she didn’t take her medications once out of hospital, and the cycle repeated itself over and over.

A good read for those of us unable to get help for our family members who have the symptom anosognosia.


This offers another opportunity to remind people that there is a way to help a loved one become medication-compliant by using a psychological approach. The widely recognized book “I Am Not Sick; I Don’t Need Help” addresses this in detail. I highly encourage folks to read it if their loved one cannot recognize that he/she has sick and needs to be on medication and/or in some kind of treatment or talk therapy.


my son is medication compliant but still believes his voices are real. The reason he stays on his meds is because without them he cannot sleep.

That is a good reason to stay on meds because it is what works for him. Could his meds be tweaked or could he get talk therapy to help him better manage the voices?

He has tried multiple meds but they have not helped with the voices. He does have a great therapist who he loves to go talk to which is excellent. She has given him tools to better manage his voices but there is no convincing him they are not real.