Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How does this approach sound to each of you?


#1

I wish each of you a holiday where your family or friend is feeling peaceful and is taking baby steps to get help or feel healthier.

Our son is 26 and we’ve been through a rough five years with the same things you’ve all described here. At this point, he’s on probation for having tried to kill my husband and we have him living back home. He has pdoc and therapist telling him this:

  • You’re not taking your medications as prescribed
  • Your belief in marijuana as your medication is not true
  • You shouldn’t live at home if you’re not going to be compliant with your meds

My husband and I have been married for 39 years. This is the first time we’re seeing marriage therapists (five of them so far). They all say the same thing:

  • Specify what you can and can not live with (drugs and abuse to us)
  • Stick to it or kick him out (with love but out)

Now our son seems to be off his meds or is not taking them as prescribed - super delusional and starting to get verbally abusive again. My husband is so tired of this argument, and so am I, of course, that he’s slipping him money again for marijuana. Our son is very isolated and is speed talking in the shower and is clearly being terrorized by the symptoms. Here’s what I think I’ll do today:

  • Write up the top four things that have to change:
  1. Our son needs to get compliant solo on meds or out the door within two weeks (why is crisis always near Christmas!)

  2. Either of us can go in his room, at any time, to search for drugs or search him when he runs an errand

  3. He needs to go to the weekly sz support group

Your thoughts? Thank you!


#2

Sounds completely reasonable to me. What will you do if you find drugs? Will he be required to leave?


#3

I have a cousin with a history of drug use, psychosis. She lives in a mobile home on her own, her step father has always given her money to stay away from them, as he puts it. She gets by on her SSI and mooching odd jobs , paid in cash only. I can’t stand her, but tolerate her on holidays. She’s burnt her brain out on meth, crack, pot use and is proud of it to the point I can’t stand her. She’s been declared mentally incompetent by the courts, has a payee, her diagnosis is bi polar disorder.


#4

I’m sad to hear what you’re going through. It’s a hard time full of anxiety. I think you are being very reasonable. My son is 24 and wouldn’t take meds until he was hospitalized and they court-ordered him to start the Invega Sustenna shots. I feel like I’m always promoting them, and I don’t mean to, but if it weren’t for the shots my son would not be doing as well as he is today. He was hospitalized in May of this year. Every month he got the shot he got a little better and a little better. I feel he’s still improving. But if we would have relied on pills he would not still be taking them. I think their mind has to get just to a certain point of wellness before they see how much it’s needed. My son still takes a pill of Abilify every day, but if he should forget he’s got the shot in him. It’s a huge comfort. I would do anything to get him to take a shot, if it were me. There are a few meds out there that offer the depot. I told my son he could not live with us if he didn’t take it. He also just got on disability and I told him he would lose that if he stopped. He doesn’t want that to happen because he wants to move out eventually. We’ve used other things to get him med compliant as well. My last resort was going to be, we’ll pay you XX amount of money for every shot you take ($50 or $100), as he would have needed a bit of money anyway. I didn’t have to go there because when he got to a certain point, he started to see his illness. I would do anything I could to get him well so he can be educated. I’ve now been able to tell him, psychosis scares people - psychosis can cause permanent brain damage, etc., and if you don’t stay on meds it WILL FOR SURE come back. He knows this and is compliant now. If it weren’t for 2 or 3 months of the shot, he would have just stopped taking pills and we’d be right back at it. He used to smoke a bit of pot but now he doesn’t. I told him it can bring on psychosis, so he’s stopped. Good luck to you. Keep yourselves safe and do whatever you need to do. He’s lucky to have such loving parents!


#5

I think you are being reasonable and kind. Except I would not search him; I would try to get his PO to require and request frequent random drug tests.

I found these “Conditions of less restrictive treatment” guidelines somewhere online:

“Conditions the patient must comply with include living at a specific address, maintaining compliance with treatment, taking medications as prescribed, refraining from threats or acts of harm to self, others or property, as well as maintaining one’s own health and safety in the community. Possession of weapons is prohibited.”

I also think not taking illicit drugs is a reasonable condition of treatment in the community.

I would try for the depot injection; that way it’s not a daily struggle. Invega shots are $1,800.00 each month, so some insurance companies and state insurance will require “first fail” medications instead. There are cheaper depots and hopefully one of the injections will work for your son.


#6

In the beginning, when my son was actively seeking and using drugs I searched his room and belongings constantly. I disposed of whatever I found. When he confronted me I stuck with “my house my rules” and illegal drug use was never an option under my roof. Today my son’s money is on a prepaid card. If he had his money in cash or if he lived alone, I am sure he would relapse. He has been clean for almost 7 years. Truthfully, I think he gave up fighting me on it. I was thorough and relentless. He also said once the voices were gone he didn’t feel as driven to find drugs anymore.


#7

Great point on the “first fail” medications. My son was in the hospital in February and put on antipsychotics (pills) and stopped taking them shortly after he was released. So I’m not sure I ever realized this. I think the hospital just assumed he needed them and he’d already had failure at pills. Plus he was court-ordered after refusing meds in the hospital in May. Thanks for bringing that up. Love the knowledge.


#8

Those steps sound well thought out and practical. I hope to get myself to the place you are at. Our stories are similar. My son went as far as asking me if I would cover the expenses for him to be ordained as a minister in a church that uses cannabis ceremoniously. Clearly, smoking weed was making him sicker. Best wishes.


#9

Esq - We can do this together; I’ve cut off all money and now I’m drug testing. He can live here if he does these things. It’s hard but we can do this together!!! How are you on your journey? It’s such a personal and hell-laden path…


#10

TAG - Yes, he can move into his car but he’s had to live outside a few times now so I think he’ll comply even though it’s been screaming so far.


#11

This advice helps big time — thank you so much. I dream of him getting to the shot level and soon!


#12

Catherine - This means so much to me. Thank you for the wonderful encouragement. I just found out my husband has been slipping him money still for marijuana so of course he’s not clean. More promises and I’ll drug test him from now on or he can move out. Hugs and thank you for the encouragement.


#13

I’m so sorry of what you and your husband are going through. I have to agree with the various marriage therapist you’ve seen – he must comply or move out. He’s already threatened to kill your husband. Imagine if he succeeded in doing that – how would your son feel when he realizes what’s he done. Also, when he’s delusional and paranoid there is no amount of kindness and love that helps.

Have you thought of a group home where he can be monitored and given medication on time. He’d have to be med compliant.

The hardest thing to do is throw him out on the streets but if there are no other options maybe your and your husband can find a fleabag hotel for him where you can pay weekly and this way he’s not on the streets and at least has a roof over his head. I did that with my daughter when she thought living on the street was cool until she learned how scary it is. The hotel she stayed at was awful but the manager was very strict in not allowing anyone but the renter in their room. I felt terrible about it but at the same time the only way I could do to keep her safe.

I know what you’re going through. ((Hugs))


#14

My heart breaks for you. Sometimes doing what needs to be done feels unbearable. It sound like you have a solid plan and hopefully your husband is on board. Hoping for the best for you and your family.


#15

I have a 28 year old son that was diagnosed schizoaffective at age 20. WE have had many many of the same personal experience that are post on this site .HE lived at home whit me and his father . After 6 year we took are son to court and was grented full guardianship and conservatorship We live in the kcmo area That way we was able to apply for SSDI (he would not apply for any benefits he was not sick and was always going to work next week) For are family that was by far the best thing we could do for our son .That when the up hill battle began, Instead of same merry go round from hell.I started with my local district representative begging for helping in finding therapeutic residential program for my son They was a lot of steps to climb Hoops to jump through in the Missouri Department of mental health BUT with being persistent and at the same time respectful all the way to the governor office advocating for my son in 5 months we was able to attain his SSDI and through Swope Health Care Services a small(8bed)therapeutic rehabilitation group home they oversee daily medication a van take them to the 4 hour day program where he work social skills in group, job training, short term and long term goals , group and individual counseling ,medication education ect and at group home they have housekeeping chores private bedroom that they are responsible for. Nightly preparing family style meals together ect I feel it depends on situation they are some great therapeutic residential group home and for some of our young men it can be life changing by giving them a little of independence and hope for a future. Over night home visits become a joy Good Luke


#16

What you’re asking is perfectly reasonable. The important question is can you follow through consistently. I’ve seen this in my extended family where there were boundaries drawn but then it wasn’t followed through. However in the last 3 months this family member has strictly followed through on boundaries. Three times family member had to throw son out - son slept on the streets for several days and came home and followed rules but then he again would violate the boundaries. Family member was very consistent for 3 months and finally son complied and family member has seen a complete change. It was very difficult following through when the weather was bad but they stuck to the rules, son was thrown out after breaking rules and slept in the woods with a tent through a storm. The follow through is so important and the importance of keeping you and your husband safe is crucial.


#17

I must add that extended family member’s son was never violent but was emotionally and verbally abusive and is addicted to alcohol and marijuana. As a parent of a mentally ill daughter I feel that physical violence should never be tolerated.