I’m reaching out here because my husband was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia 8 days ago. We’ve been married for two years. I knew that he had been kicked off college due to a psychological breakdown, but I only learned in the last month the extent of what had happen 10 years ago. I only learned about what happened ten years ago because we were going to see a psychiatrist about behavior that resembled ADD. I had been feeling for a while that some of his behavior and suspicions were not based in reality. I knew something serious had happened ten years ago, so I insisted that we take an inventory of his mental health history before going to the psychiatrist appointment. I was surprised by what he told me. I starting to hear a voice after smoking pot. The voice became progressively more distracting until I could do his class work. At the same time he was being follow and photographed by a government agency. I wrote all this down and I knew that it was serious, but I was hopeful that his was going to get the treatment he needed. And I remained hopeful until his therapist read the list and said he should prepare for a schizophrenia diagnosis. That’s when I started googling paranoid schizophrenia. I got overwhelmed as I read accounts of symptoms that exemplifies my husband’s bizarre behavior and ideas. Then I get even more freaked out by people hoping to get their loved ones off the streets or that their loved one might recover enough to keep a menial job. Is this our future? My husband works full-time and is taking two difficult pre-nursing courses. People like him. He’s more social than I am. There’s just these blips of paranoia and delusions. I’m afraid there is more (paranoia/hallucinations) that he’s hiding. I’m sure the diagnosis is correct, but he’s functioning at such a high level. Reading peoples’ accounts of living with a sz spouse or loved one really has me raddled. Does anyone have positive accounts to share about living with a spouse with sz?
My 24 year old son was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. He had several psychotic episodes before finally getting the help he needed. He was unable to hold a job.He was hospitalized 3 times and is currently in the hospital. He was put on meds and was starting to feel great but then he stopped. When he feels better, he does not want to take it because he doesn’t believe he is ill. One of the symptoms is poor insight. He also does not like the side effects of meds. You don’t mention how old your husband is or if he is taking meds right now. I have done a lot of research and have attended the support groups that NAMI has in our city. I really recommend you research NAMI (National Alliance for Mentally Ill) in your area for support. They have been so helpful. People with SZ can lead good lives as long as they are taking meds, have a family to support them, and see a therapist.
My husband is 31 years old now. He just started taking meds. He had a major psychotic break when he was 21. For the last 10 years he’s lived independently without meds. but with periodic symptoms. Thanks for your advice about NAMI. I will contact them this week.
That is so great that he is taking meds and that he is able to work and go to school. As long as he continues taking them,(make sure he doesn’t stop no matter what) he will continue to do well. I’m shocked that he hasn’t taken meds all this time and able to function. Things sound really hopeful, but I still recommend getting in touch with NAMI.
sz is not the end of the world…
i lead a pretty normal life.
i have been sz since childhood…now 48
i have worked most of my life…went on disability a year and a half a go…but still work.
think of sz as a ’ wheelchair ’ for the mind.
a sz person has to pre think situations…triggers…stress…social interaction…where they live…meds…etc.
know some one cares
I live with my oldest brother who was diagnosed when he was 17 and I was 6. I just wanted to reaffirm that judging by your post I am guessing that there are some factors in your husbands favor.
You post that he is social and outgoing and well liked. That will hopefully help him retain a circle of support. Friendship and understanding can go a long way.
He’s high functioning now and in a nursing program. So hopefully he doesn’t have a the comorbid problem as this illness along with an addiction. That is also a help.
I don’t know if it’s better to have an onset when one is older. Having his life already started with life skills already in place I’m sure will help him a lot in the long run.
I agree, NAMI helped my brother and my family so much. Not only did they offer support for my brother, they also offered a support group for my parents when they were his main caregiver. They also helped me understand my brother as he fought this illness and it helped us keep our friendship in tact.
There has been some dark times. But for the past many years my brother has been med compliant, has stayed clean and sober for 6 years and has kept up his CBT and other therapies. The result is that he can and does hold a good full time job that he enjoys, he is reestablishing his self-management and self-advocacy, and he is back in school and doing very well.
There is hope. New meds, therapies and other care has been improving as time has moved on.
Please read some of the diagnosed section, there are some members of the forum who are good parents, self employed and on track to become a PhD.
Darksith is very correct, it’s not as hopeless as others may have it seem. Early detection, and early care can make a great difference.
I hope it goes well and I’m glad you’ll look into Nami.
Thank you for letting me post.
If your husband has been doing this without meds-he is very high functioning. If he is in nursing, he may have a clue into his illness. I have a sister with bipolar disorder, and she is not always on her meds. She monitors herself closely all the time. Sometimes she will get back on meds if she feels anything is going on with her.
This IS a tough road at times, but people do get better and learn how to handle their symptoms. The more support for both of you, the better. **
Thank you all for your support and advice!
My son is almost thirty and was diagnosed with a psychotic disorder about two years ago. He is on a very low dose of Abilify, he sometimes gets mild paranoia and depression but has good coping skills and emerges quite quickly. He is not as high functioning as your husband professionally or socially but he falls within a ‘normal’ range (if that’s important - he thinks it is). I fully hope and expect that he will have a good life.
Hi @newtothis welcome.
Your husband’s story sound familiar. I too had major break early, recovered and then broke again.
But medications can help prevent future breaks. I went back to work full time and had a second career in a less stressful environment.
Avoiding stress is the most important thing I believe.
Getting on the right medicine is important, and him asking the doctor about his concerns with meds will help allay any reservations of taking meds, at least it did for me. Its just symptom management and choosing the right treatment. I work and go to school and also did so while i was psychotic. I refused meds and took high doses of fish oil because i didnt want weight gain. Someone told me to tell the doctor my concerns when i had an appointment to look at meds, and they offered me one that didnt cause weight gain, so i gave it a shot (might be better than fish oil). Everyone else was just forcing meds on me, which was completely inhuman, so i didnt listen to them and refused meds. It was lack of information and brutish people. If he is on meds he likes (and they work) he should be like a normal person. He will have a story, but will be normalized.
He’s been on 2mg of Abilify for three weeks. I’m not sure if it’s the right medicine, because I’m still noticing paranoia symptoms. What’s most concerning right now, is that he’s resisting the diagnosis of paranoid sz. He spent the first 30 years of his life in Russia, where basic civil rights are taken away from those diagnosed with a mental illness. We live in the US now, and I’m planning to meet with a mental health lawyer to learn more about the legal issues that people with sz face in the USA. I suggested this to my husband and he seemed receptive to it. In general, he’s not recognizing his symptoms. Ifeelgoodtoday, how long were you on meds. before you were able to start monitoring your own symptoms?
I took fish oil, about 2grams of epa per day, for depression. Within a week i realized i was hallucinating and had schizophrenia. Delusions are just the stories we make up to rationalize things we cant account for. I thought i had a microchip in me because it was the only way i could explain the voices. I even got a rather expensive full body scan for one, then i knew it wasnt there. No one told me i had schizophrenia, i was the one who realized i had it. Fish oil aquieted the hallucinations down, and alleviated the symptoms, which made me realize i had schizophrenia. Several months later with the direction of some less aggressive people who cared what i was thinking, i started taking my meds. Those took some time to work, they say like six weeks for me. I gradually raised the dose over a year (my own hesitance, and the doctors) to erase the hallucinations completely. Antipsychotics work exactly like fish oil, just moreso. They just remove symptoms. Maybe give him fish oil to elevate his mood, (that dose is supposed to work clinically like prozac, but little did i know also have antipsychotic effects). I have insight into my delusions, i know theyre delusions, and i know i have schizophrenia because all the things i believed, the hallucinations, disappeared.
People with mental illness have the same rights as those without mental illness, its when violence to self or others come into play that anyone has problems, if charges are pressed. My mom says i could be “disabled” because i have schizophrenia, which is extremely condescending. I am not disabled. I live on my own, and do high pressure work and school. Yet schizophrenia is recognized legally as a disabling disease. It can be, and employers can make special accomodations for it as a disability. I leave work on occasion due to the side effects of my medication, rarely, but not because of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia has never been disabling. Schizophrenia is like living two lives at once…keeping up appearances, inside and out. Its like multitasking. Medication allows me to live one life. Sometimes i have psychotic episodes, for like twenty mintues, as i wake up and before anyone sees me, every few months or so. Schizophrenia is and was my secret. Probably will stay that way. Stupid people will use it against you. It never comes up unless i bring it up, as a story from my past.
It sounds like your husband has anosognosia which is very common.
Please look at these sites:
http://www.leapinstitute.org/ - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner.
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 on YouTube for more videos
Building A Collaborative Relationship “LEAP”
Treatment Advocacy Center - under problems you will see anosognosia
Anosognosia looks like denial but is different.
Bayes for Schizophrenics: Reasoning in Delusional Disorders - LessWrong - helped my understand delusions