Good title. The answer is who knows? Every person is different and every case of schizophrenia is different. I suggest researching “schizophrenia prognosis” online and you might find some helpful information. You can read some things online that foretell what someones prognosis is by how well they were doing before they got sick. If someone was fairly well adjusted before they got sick than they have a good, hopeful prognosis. Just from reading your post, your son has a few things going for him, that might mean a good prognosis. The fact that he co-operates and takes his medication and responds well to it is a good sign for his future. There are many, many people with schizophrenia who do neither of those things and it makes their life miserable.
Another great sign is: No addiction! As you might know, people with schizophrenia are more prone to abusing substances than a large part of the population. But I’ll leave it up to you to read the articles on prognosis yourself. I don’t know exactly how optimistic you can be. I don’t know if anyone can tell you. At his young age, there is no way to tell what course his schizophrenia will take. You just have to go with the flow and take it week by week or day by day. As much as we want to, we can not predict the future.
As someone who’s had paranoid schizophrenia for 35 years I can say that the disease of schizophrenia is an unpredictable, roller-coaster of a disease. It’s like the tides;it ebbs and flows. It has peaks of misery for the sufferer and than if your lucky, it has moments of relative stability. The symptoms can be intense for very long periods and than sometimes the symptoms can be controlled for long periods. The symptoms are usually more intense at the beginning of the disease.
I can’t educate you here about everything having to do with schizophrenia but you can find a thousand articles online about many aspects about it. Many, many books are written about it so obviously there is a ton of information about it that you will not hear on these forums but you can also get a wealth of information here about personal experiences from us.
Incidentilly, schizophrenia is not all doom and gloom; you will see we have many funny stories and gallows humor about schizophrenia on this site. Paranoid schizophrenia is no laughing matter but you have to laugh sometimes anyway, lol. I know it’s extremely serious in you and your sons life right now. But hopefully you will reach the point in the future where you will be able to relax and get a few laughs in. Yes, things can change by the day.
You write: “What makes me think I’ll be the exception”? You may think that thought and a lot of others. And I’ll answer you. Because we are all the exception! At different points in our lives we shine. Other times we sink into misery.
I have written my story many times. I got diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1980 at age 19. I went into my first psyche ward at 19. By the way I was NOT a well adjusted kid before I got schizophrenia, I had few friends and very little contact with the opposite sex. Girls aren’t interested in guys who don’t talk to anyone but his few friends, and they’re not interested in guys with no confidence and self esteem. Anyway, after I got diagnosed I spent literally two years in extreme psychosis. I was put in a group home for schizophrenics after the psyche ward. Iived there for a year and I had no friends, no job, no money, no girlfriend, no school, no independence, no car and lastly no sanity.
I was unmedicated the entire time and I paid the price. I suffered horribly the whole time and spent months sitting in the backyard by myself fighting to keep my sanity. From there I was put in a locked psychiatric hospital for 8 months. More suffering for every minute of every day of my waking hours but I was put on medication and that helped. I got released into a nice group home and joined a vocational program where the goal was to get back into the work force. Which I did, 9 months after leaving the hospital. A mental health agency got me a job at a small independent business in the community and I stayed there for four years, despite bad symptoms. During my time at my job, I moved into semi-independent living and from 1983-1987 I lived in various houses with other mentally ill people. In 1986, I got addicted to crack. I have some stories about my life as a I abused crack but I won’t get into that here. I’ll just say, I spent thousands of dollars on it, was victim to occasional violence, sold or traded most of my possessions for crack, and almost got arrested several times because of my drug use. But happily, I later got clean in 1990 and I now have 25 years clean. Anyway, to make a long story short, I have worked almost steadily since 1983. I went to college and I need only four more classes for my AA degree. I have driven my own car since 1996. I lived independently since 1995,until just two months ago. Unfortunately I had a major setback two months ago when my mom died, and at the same time I lost my housing. The stress of losing my mom caused me to crack and I had to be hospitalized for two days and I had to stop school and then move back into a group home where I am now writing this from. My last prior hospitalization had been in 1990. I stayed out of the hospital for 25 years until just two months ago.
So you want to see an example of why your son can be an exception? You just read it! Man, if you would have seen me in the hospital and at the group home in 1980-81 you would never predicted I would have done the things I’ve done. Back then I had no hope, I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. My life is a miracle. Like I said, I had a recent setback but I am ready to go back to work this Wednsnday, the 23rd. I will stay in my housing for a year and start up online classes again. A (nice) girl on here referred to me as a Phoenix whose been destroyed but who keeps rising up out of the ashes. That’s me.
My advice is to look into all the resources in your area. Maybe join some support groups. Yeah, going to school closer to home sounds like a wise move. Like I said, in the beginning the disease is at its worst. Recovering is a life-long process for most people with schizophrenia. There’s no overnight cure. Progress or good recovery can take years. It’s good that he’s doing better now but he is not out of the woods. Schizophrenia doesn’t just disappear in one day. It takes a lot of hard work to recover, both on the part of the person who has it and the person who is trying to help him. Optimism has it’s role in schizophrenia but remember, much like a lot of things in life, there’s no gaurentees. Good luck.