Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How to help a friend


#1

Hi,

I am looking for suggestions on how to help a friend who has been living with schizophrenia for many years. My main goal is to get him to find a support group in order to be less Isolated. His geographical location is perfect for such interaction, as he lives in a large city. He lives independently and functions quite well, though he is highly isolated except for infrequent (yet supportive) contact with some family and me. The main obstacle here is that he does not believe he has schizophrenia, rather he believes his voices are real. Since he has developed a close relationship with me, I do not want to dissuade him and alienate him even more since he is making such progress. Basically, I just want to get him to a support group, but how to do this without alienating him is a real conundrum. I know I will lose his trust if I even suggest this. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your help, Lindsay


#2

Welcome!
It is very hard to get someone to do something they dont want to do. Its great that you have your friends trust.
Is he on any medication? Does he have a doctor?
Sounds like he is doing pretty well. You could call social services in his area just to get an idea of what is available. Also see if there is a NAMI grouip in your area that you could attend. This might help you figure out how to deal with this.
Usually with this illness, it is very hard to tell someone these things are not real if they dont have any insight Its good he has a friend like you.
I wish you luck.**


#3

Also-this is a great site for information and ideas!


#4

Welcome to the forum @justafriend, Lindsay, and on behalf of your friend. Thank you for being here :smile:

If you have not heard of this book before I would recommend reading it:

http://dramador.com/ - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.
Search Xavier Amador and LEAP on youtube.com and you should find some long videos

I found this approach invaluable with respect to building a better relationship with my son. We still butt heads of course but we don’t argue over meds or even schizophrenia. I can’t make him accept that he has it although when doing well he does but not as something that needs to be fixed. I agree. I approach treatment and med compliancy from an anxiety perspective which we both agree he needs help with. We/I also discuss meds in terms of regulating dopamine, and other, neurotransmitters. My son’s brain produces too much dopamine in my opinion.

Check out NAMI and see if they have support groups in his area.
http://www.nami.org/ - National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Can also find some very useful information here:
http://www.schizophrenia.com/

If he has not been in an intervention program before then maybe that can be looked into as they usually have support groups and outings if the person is open to it. My son usually isn’t :wink:

Early Psychosis Treatment center information in these two links
http://www.schizophrenia.com/earlypsychosis.htm
http://www.raiseetp.org/sites/

Psychiatric Treatment Centers affiliated with Medical Schools in the USA
http://www.schizophrenia.com/psychcenters.htm


#5

Maybe he does not want to interact with people.


#6

Thank you so much for the tips and resources! I will most definitely look into them.


#7

Yes, you are right. He generally chooses not to, which is true of many people. I just thought some social interaction would help with motivation.


#8

Thanks for responding! He is on meds and takes them every day. I will check on the NAMI group in my area. I’m realizing it would be an impossible sell to get him to go to a support group when he does not believe he has schizophrenia. He is doing pretty well, but struggles with motivation. I would like to know why the illness is so demotivating. I realize depression and mental illness in general drains people of motivation, of course. This illness, however, seems to be unique in how it demotivates people.


#9

**Sometimes Im not sure if its lack of motivation, or that they want to stay as stress-free as possible. There is a lot going on inside their heads most of the time, and just going to a store can add too much stress-which in turn makes symptoms worse. **


#10

Yes, I’m sure you’re right, just going to the store must be taxing. My friend feels he lacks motivation, but maybe what’s going on in his head just prevents him from doing things.


#11

Don`t know what kind of meds he is on, but some of them can cause these “negative” symptoms. Lack of feeling or emotion, no motivation…


#12

I remember my sister in law trying so hard to get me to join a club, group, get a pet, return to college, every time I’d see her, she’d have something new to prod me to go to. Each time I’d tell her I didn’t care to socialize, that I was happiest just staying home, organizing/rearranging my house. This wasn’t good enough for her (or my pdoc, seems they discussed me a few times together without me) but I just got tired of her constant offers and felt like she never listened to what I wanted to do unless it was to agree with her.
That was 15 years ago, and seems I’m doing the same thing now as then, and doing just fine.
You can offer, and your a good friend for trying, but after a few times of saying no, it might be better to wait until your friend tells you their ready or gives some obvious hints such as “I’m bored” or I thought about trying/doing something new.
Isolation is subjective.


#13

Know anything about Clozapine and Lithium? I have looked up these drugs, though it often helps if someone has had first hand experience, or knows someone who has.

Thanks.


#14

I know what you are saying; the best intentions are often not at all helpful. Really, we should just leave people alone if they are functioning okay. Thanks for reminding me of that.


#15

My son is on both of these. 150 mg clozapine from 450. 600 lithium for his white blood cell count. Try searching this site and you will find other threads. I would link but on the road. Miss my computer :slight_smile:


#16

Hi Barbie,

I remember you posting recently where you said that your son was on a much higher dose of Clozapine. 150mg is a relatively low dose. Is he taking any other antipsychotic ? What was the reason for lowering his dose ?

Do you observe if there is any difference with his presentation on the lower dose compared to the higher dose ?

My son’s doctor has been very slowly lowering my son’s clozapine dose. At one time he was taking as much as 900mg. He is now on 475mg. So far I don’t see any difference. I don’t think he is any worse or better. He is still very tired form it and I’m hoping that he will present as more functional on the lower dose.


#17

He has been as high as 450. Currently also on 1mg risperadol. He has never wanted to be on it. Been decreasing for awhile. He is stable, well was up until the adderall. As long as he doesn’t smoke weed he seems to be positive symptom free. I have told his pdoc that I think he has psychosis NOS or drug induced instead of sz. I guess this will tell one way or the other