Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How do I help my son who I believe has schizophrenia

My 27 year old son has been increasingly showing signs of paranoia over the past year. I believe he may be schizophrenic. The first time I noticed signs of paranoia was a year ago. In the past year, he has not been able to hold a job. He has been experiencing delusional thoughts. His thinking is not rational. He believes that everyone is sabotaging him. He repeatedly tells me that people are mocking him. It started with work settings. He has progressed from being upset to being angry. These delusional thoughts have quickly included me and his family. It was honestly overnight that he began including us in the conspiracy to get him and sabotage him. No matter what any of us say, we cannot change his mind or convince him that we love him and would never hurt him. He does not believe anything is wrong with him, nor does he believe that he needs help. I’m scared. I’m worried. I am lost and have no idea how to help him. I need help to help him. I am most grateful for any guidance or advice. Thank you!

Welcome to the board Mikey. Does your son see any problem with his thinking where he might want to see a therapist? Perhaps the best thing you can do would be to be up front with him about your own feelings and suggest a meeting with a family therapist.

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Thank you for your response. At one point my son trusted me. I had convinced him that he should see a psychiatrist. Unfortunately there is a 2 month waitlist. While waiting to see the psychiatrist, he all of the sudden (overnight) decided that I am also one of the people in his life trying to sabotage him and now he wants nothing to do with me. I’ve tried reaching out but he just gets more agitated and angry with me. I was his go to person, now he has no one. I don’t know what to do.

You are in the right place. You’ll get a ton of information here. Is your son living in your home or on his own? My son is paranoid sz with disorganized thoughts. He was on meds and well for a few years and now off. It’s not good. What your son is thinking and how he is acting is not unusual for a person with a mental illness. A lot of the symptoms are oddly the same. My son thought I was poisoning him and abused him as a kid. There is a process called LEAP - Listen, emphasize, agree and partner - this is one way some people have had success getting their loved one on meds. I will tag you in a different chain that the admin posted with some videos.

One thing you could do is get an eval from through a county attorney to get the cops to take him to the hospital for a 72 hour hold. There are also crisis intervention walk in clinics in some areas of the US. A friend of mine called today and is going in within the hour from his call.

Also, you need to look at this from his perspective. He truly thinks these things are happening to him. If you can get him to talk to you and keep that avenue open that is best. You’ll need to listen to what he is telling you and say that must be pretty scary. You won’t be able to talk him out of his delusional thoughts. The videos about LEAP will explain this.Get the book - I’m not sick, I don’t need help.

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You have been most helpful. I greatly appreciate the suggestions. I will look into LEAP. I was the only one he trusted and all of the sudden that was gone. I have always listened and been extremely careful on how I respond to the things he tells me. The last text message he sent me (which was last night) was “You’re ridiculous. Admit what your doing or leave me the F@*$ alone.” He thinks I am telling the entire family to mock him. That is exactly what he has thought about his last companies that he has worked for. Should I admit to doing something I’m not doing just to get back in his good graces? I did give a vouge apology but that was not good enough. I worry that I was the only one he talked to and now that is gone.

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That’s a tough one. There are arguments about this that Dr Amador goes into. I think I read in one section that you try to put off answering that. I’m not a prof so can’t advise you on that one. I’d say read that book and/or get a counselor for yourself. A lot of folks on here attend NAMI classes.

I’d keep texting him as he may forget that he now thinks you are in on it. This is such a rough disease. I’m sorry that you are here but it’s the best support I’ve found. Boy if you can keep the connection for you and him going that would be great.

What you could say is, I am sorry that you are feeling mocked, that must feel hurtful and be frustrating. I know I would not like that. That’s where you would be emphasizing. Again, I’m no professional. But from reading that book I think that is how it would go. The idea is to open dialogue and have him explain to you what is going on. So you aren’t really acknowledging that he is being mocked but that he is feeling that he is.

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I am so grateful to have found this forum, so I can get some answers. I will get the book, check out LEAP and do my very best to keep dialog and the connection open between my son and I.
I did read about NAMI and checked to see if there were any support groups near me, unfortunately there are not. Thank you for your kindness and suggestions.

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I apologize for not answering your question earlier. My son lives on his own with a housemate. I’m not sure how long that will last.

Hang in there. What your son is experiencing is called anosognosia which is where he thinks he is perfectly fine. It is very common with this disease and the most frustrating. That’s in that Doctors videos/books as well. His brother had sz. He finally got him on meds. Took him years and that’s how he came up with LEAP. It doesn’t work for everyone but at least it gives us hope.

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Hi Mikey, I am very sorry that your son is suffering and I totally understand your fear. Have you eliminated the possibility of drugs? Or could he have had some traumatic experience or head injury? It is not at all unusual for schizophrenics to harbor terrible beliefs about the people who love them the most. Please remember to take care of yourself as you move through this very difficult time.

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The same thought crossed my mind too steadfast …

Hi Mikey I understand what your going through. My son was diagnosed at 22 yr . Now 39 and in prison about to get out. I’ve honestly tried everything! In and out of treatments , hospital. He was good when on his meds . But he doesn’t like taking them so he’s been off about 3 yrs. that’s when he gets in trouble . He and I used to be very close now he doesn’t want anything to do with me or his dad and siblings . He believes things that aren’t true . He becomes violent and it’s scary ! He was homeless before this last arrest trying to fight a cop. I’m nervous about him getting out this month . It’s horrible seeing your son go through this and we’re helpless . I hope you have better luck then I have . I’ve read LEAP it didn’t help me. Good luck !

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I’m sorry to hear this and what you’ve gone through. My son was fine on invega but when he went off he quit his good job and now is unmedicated. I have a feeling I’m going down the road you are on. Got any good survival techniques for me for my own head?

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I really don’t . I’ve never been around anyone like my son before. I just try my best to be there if he needs me . But he doesn’t reach out to much . I used to feel guilty but I don’t anymore . It doesn’t help and he took advantage . I paid his rent he would lie about going to get his injection once a month . I’d drive by and see he wasn’t at doc . There’s only so much we can do if they don’t want to help or get help. It’s hard in his siblings too . We don’t know him anymore. It’s a sad deal. This illness is horrible! I’ve been through so much with him . He did graduate from college while medicated . But that was 15 yrs ago . He’s a smart
good-looking guy. Had so much going for him football captain in HS had offers for college fball . Tons of friends he doesn’t talk to any of them anymore. Some of them would see him walking around downtown homeless . He would stay in shelters . I would donate
Clothing $ and hope he would benefit from it. I hope you don’t have to go through this. It’s heartbreaking and I miss him :blue_heart:

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Mikey,
I’ve read your message about your son. I’m sorry you are in such a difficult situation. We went through this several years ago with our daughter.
Also I read the responses people have made. I definitely have found LEAP formula and Dr. Amador’s book helpful. Another book that may help you at this stage is Surviving Schizophrenia by E. Fuller Torrey. It gives you an idea what the illness is like and suggestions what to do.
Also connect with your local NAMI group for support for yourself. They have wonderful people there from our experience who help you and also your son if you can get him to talk with an advocate.
One of the biggest things is the your son needs you and your family as hard as it is. Is your son’s housemate helpful in supporting him and getting help?
We did do Wellness checks on our daughter. They can evaluate if the person is harmful to themselves or others. They would only take them in if either of these were taking place.
Be aware as your son is an adult and he has rights that even we as parents can’t interfere when in the care of a therapist or psychiatrist unless they sign a release. HIPPA laws are quite strict but you can always share with them your thoughts and insights.
Your feelings are normal but so so hard. Remember to take care of yourself and you will have to learn what that means.

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I read the book and put it into practice immediately. It has already helped improve things significantly!

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Thank you for responding. My son the same - HS baseball and tons of friends. I actually think a football incident contributed to where he is now. And I had fought hard to not have him play. Yes, I miss my son as well. I hear from him when he needs something. I like that idea of donating to a shelter. That is a good idea. Thank you.

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Thank you Sharon - this is very helpful for me. Is your son currently medicated?

Hi Mikey, I responded a little bit ago I needed to update my email etc on the forum and I changed my login name. I needed to change my profile as I did not want my name used. Okay yes my son is on medication and is compliant. If he is not I will not help him. My son was in jail and then in a disgusting nursing home. It all started when he was 20 years old. I am happy to answer questions to provide support. It is a long process from when you start to see symptoms and if they accept help. Many choose to be homeless and there is not much you can do about this other than let them go and let them know you love them and are here should they decide they want help with their illness. It’s mind boggling and lots of grief work you need to deal with the grief of having an adult child who suffers so. I

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The advice I know is NOT to admit something you did not do, but to acknowledge HIS belief and feelings. For example “I understand you to say that you believe I ……. (Fill in the blank)” “Is that right?” Wait for answer or clarification. “That must be very hurtful.” Or whatever it seems to be. You lower the person’s defenses when you acknowledge what THEY believe or feel. Then you move on to something you both can agree on. This is part of the LEAP strategy “I Am Not Sick; I Don’t Need Help” and other communication strategies you can learn. NAMI Family to Family class spends an entire lesson on Communication. There are other resources to consider, however, if the person is in the middle of psychosis.

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