Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How long before meds kick in?

My son is 24 and on the psychiatric ward. Mandatory 2 weeks stay. He started Risperidone Wednesday, so he’s only had 3 or 4 doses so far. However, he called me up tonight in a very agitated state. It doesn’t sound like he’s improved at all. Can anyone tell me if/when the agitation part of this psychosis might start to get better? He won’t allow me to talk to the nurses because he’s so mad. I did call the nurse and let them know his state of agitation still and she listened and said she would pass it on. That’s all she can do. Any thoughts?

I’ve heard that it can take up to two weeks for full effects, but typically you start to see some benefits pretty quickly. Perhaps others can add their thoughts here…

Here is a news story on this topic:

Antipsychotic drugs improve psychosis in patients within 24 hours of treatment

and another article here:

The “delayed onset” of antipsychotic action — an idea whose time has come and gone

Thank you for the response and the articles. Very helpful and I’m a bit more hopeful. This is all new to me and the agitation/anger is hard to take and stresses me out. I was hoping the meds would help soon. Sounds like we’re on the right path, just need a few more days. Thx.

I have sza and found that psych meds usually start working in 24 hours. I used to be agitated a lot but now I try to manage myself with a positive outlook. With meds and therapy sza people can recover but they must cooperate to do so. Also, if you realize you’re agitated you can force yourself
not to give into it. But that’s much more difficult than it sounds. I wrote a book 12 years ago, THE
TEMPTRESS ARIEL, which is about a med-compliant sz man who falls in love with a free-spirited
sza woman who goes off her meds. Sz people need to realize that meds are important as well as
developing coping mechanisms. The main problem is that sz people usually get sick when they are young and their natural maturity slows down.

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Thank you, Greg, for sharing your information. It sounds like you’re doing well. It’s always nice to hear from someone who’s been there. He sure has a ways to go, but it sounds like there’s hope!

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Yes, I am doing well now. I used to be very delusional, agitated and heard voices. Now, I am on the right meds and cooperate with doctors. I used to think aliens wanted to study my mind because of my sexual dysfunction. I thought they abducted me to study me and I heard voices of evil aliens and demons putting me down and telling me to do bad things. I got into a couple of fights when I was delusional and I lived in a psychiatric boarding home for nine years. I used to be paranoid about the way I looked - I had strange expressions and a crazy, sexual stare - and was very self-conscious of them in social situations. I couldn’t go out for a long time and would only get out if I had to. Now, I still believe in aliens but I don’t think they’re out to get me. I still get paranoid on buses but just shrug off the delusions because as long as someone doesn’t threaten me why should I care what strangers think? I don’t feel as depressed and don’t pace the way I used to or listen to music all day. And mainly because of Seroquel and Trazedone I don’t hear voices anymore. The sooner the sz person faces up to their problems the better their chances of getting well by taking medications and therapy. I think sz people get agitated because deep down they’re scared. I try to fight the stigma of sz with my books that I’ve had published, too.

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