How do I get someone to believe they have schizophrenia?

Hi,

This is my first time posting here. I have found much comfort in this community. My husband of 15 years has schizophrenia. He refuses to believe that his delusions are just that. He fully believes the delusions are real. No matter what I do or say he will not waiver in this. He believes I have issues remembering. How do I approach him and get him to understand he needs to seek treatment and get some help. This has been going on for close to 4 years now and I’m at the end of my rope. I want him to get the treatment and help he needs but I don’t know how to get him to see or understand he is not well. Thanks in advance.

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Hi AShell13-
I understand how you feel- when my sza son first began talking about his fears (neighbors wanting to kill him, spyware planted in his phone, people following him) I also tried in vain to convince him that they weren’t real. It is so painful to see your loved one so obviously terrified.
It is an exercise in frustration though to try to convince someone who is experiencing psychotic delusions that their senses are lying to them. I think that the best hope lies in medication and the help of a care team. You can apply the communication methods described in Amador’s book, “I’m not sick I don’t need help” to try to convince your husband to seek help. Has he been diagnosed? Is he not seeing a psychiatrist at all?

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He has not been officially diagnosed. I have kept a daily journal of the things he’s told me and consulted with many medical professionals. Everyone agrees he is most likely schizophrenic. He doesn’t trust doctors due to his delusions and he refuses to seek treatment or take any kind of medication. Some of his delusions include situations where I was present and when I tell him that it didn’t happen that way he gets upset with me because he feels like I don’t believe him. It is absolutely heartbreaking to see him like this.

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None of us here can diagnose your husband. In my son’s case, the delusions were truly bizarre, like what @nowwhat describes. I think for SZ, it’s got to be delusions that are way out of the ordinary.

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I agree that the book “I’m not Sick, I Don’t Need Help” by Dr. Amador, is one of the best tools at trying to get a person with a severe mental illness to see that they ARE ill. Something like 60-70% of people with schizophrenia cannot see their own illness. It is called “anosognosia” and I cried when I found out about that. Even psychiatrists sometimes don’t know or acknowledge what anosognosia is.

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Thanks for your response. Some of the things he tells me are so out there they can’t possibly be real. Although he has not officially been diagnosed, he definitely has SZ.

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Thank you for your response. I just about finished the book and I’m following up with videos on the book and discussions. It has been so helpful in helping understand and re evaluate my approach.

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It is hard to get the diagnosis sometimes, it took years for me to get my daughter diagnosed with schizophrenia, and then it was changed to bi-polar, and then back to schizophrenia. But she was treated with at least 5 different drugs before the one that worked was administered as a shot monthly. The diagnosis didn’t matter as much as finding the proper medications did, and that wouldn’t have been possible at all without my being behind the scenes trying to get her help. I am so glad you are reading Dr. Amador’s book, that book helped my family so much. I got more information from Dr. Amador than any live doctor my daughter had. The doctor she has now only had to keep her on the med that worked that was found by forced hospitalization. She only now, after 3 years on meds, can talk to me about her “crazy years”. Only this year did the voices leave her.

Keep fighting the good fight, in this most awful war on severe mental illness. Come here to read and find strength.

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Great question and glad you find this community helpful. It has saved me in some dark times when the sadness threatens to overwhelm.

Yesterday marked 2 years from my son’s first major episodic break that nearly killed him. Emergency treatment, surgery, hospitalization, and then 3 different inpatient mental health centers later and we are doing pretty good (a term which has a dropping bar!).

The SZ diagnosis is heartbreaking. I spend a lot of time puzzling around it. Coming up with creative, safer alternatives. Our trusted, very experienced psychiatrist patiently tells me ‘maybe it’s something else… but … the marked and sustained delusions, the self-harm, the patterns over 7 years scream SZ’.

Sometimes it’s not about our loved ones accepting that they have SZ, it’s about we caregivers accepting it!!!

And by accepting this tragic diagnosis, and seeking help (right meds, safe home, ongoing life skills), then we’re doing our job. Unfortunately, getting our loved ones to ‘accept’ their DX or take ownership for all the bullshit we all live - daily- just isn’t our path.

An old adage ‘If you want to be understood, seek first to understand’. If you want your loved one to accept SZ, then first we must accept it.

Prayers and love to my fellow caregivers!!!

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There is a great book, “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help.” It will help you immensely, especially if you can master the LEAP communication skills in the book. Your husband likely has anosognosia, a symptom where the patient cannot recognize their own illness. This symptom is due to brain damage and may subside if he starts getting a little better (no guarantee there, but after 8 years my son did start to recognize his illness, so there is hope). There are a couple conditions that mimic SZ, I would look into them especially if your husband’s condition developed very late in life (thyroid problems, autoimmune encephalytis–I’m probably spelling that wrong). Do what you gotta do to force/bribe your husband to see a dr. Reward or punish him in any way you can. Use the LEAP tips…maybe he goes to the doc to prove you are wrong and shut you up? Without medication, his brain can become more damaged by the SZ…as I understand it, the sooner he is successfully medicated to avoid psychotic breaks, the less damage to his brain.

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Big Pharma is not our friend. Their intention is to make $. There is no focus on a cure. In fact they muddy the waters around cures. They do not want what you and I want. Our kids to come back.

I have listened to podcasts lately with Dr Shawn Baker where he discusses how a plant free diet is dramatically helping Schizophrenia cases. If you want the link, let me know.

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@AShell13 , I have been diagnosed as having schizophrenia. I see and believe things/people no one else does.

I think the only way to help your husband is to petition yo the court to hospitalize him and get him on meds so he can be in his right mind when you discuss his beliefs.

Once I started to receive treatment and meds I could see certain beliefs of mine are false. To be honest, I still believe I’m being followed, recorded and reported on by navy seals who want me tortured and killed. However, I now know the animals don’t really give me telepathic messages, and I no longer believe I’m a prophet.

Im trying so hard to trust others about my beliefs about the SEALs but why don’t meds take those beliefs away too?! So I think since that’s what’s still there with meds then that’s part of true reality.

Anyway, if you get your husband court ordered to go inpatient and get on meds, he’ll finally be able to see what’s real and what isn’t.

At first he’ll be furious with you. BUT, once he’s in his right mind, he’ll understand what’s real and what isn’t.

Good luck!

@Zannah Thank you for your response and for sharing. Apologies for not responding sooner. On 9/20/2022 I did just that! It was one of the hardest things I have ver had to do. He felt so betrayed and hurt. I took my two kids and I moved to a safe location in fear of what he might have done to me for forcing him into treatment. They held him for 8 days and then discharged him. The only diagnosis he received was Sever depression disorder and Psychosis. He was put on Seroquel while on the hospital and continues to take it. His doctor told me that even with medication the delusional thinking may never go away. I have noticed a huge difference in his demeanor and I don’t feel as threatened by him as so used to. I do worry that this is the beginning of a long and painful journey. I continue to maintain a civil and lovingly relationship with him for the sake of our son and the 16 years we have shared together. I want to do whatever I can to ensure he is successful in his treatment. I see him thinking more clearly and I believe he understands where he was at before I had him admitted vs where he is at now. I do still here him mention things that I believe are delusional thoughts but he doesn’t seem to be as agitated or aggressive about them. I’m currently filing for divorce and working with him to settle upon an agreement. I worry that even though he is doing well now and making the right choices to continue treatment, it may eventually fizzle out and we will be right back where we started. He wants 50/50 shared custody of our son who is 4. I want him to have an active role in our sons life but so worry that he may stop treatment down the line. This would be horrible for the safety and well-being of our child. He wants it written up in the divorce agreement pertaining to custody matters.

I think you should talk to a lawyer. Get treatment mandated in court as a condition of seeing his child?