Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

I don’t have schizophrenia

During today’s appointment with the psychiatrist our daughter was told by her specialist she has schizophrenia, totally despondent beyond words she replied “how can you say that to me everything I’m telling you is true my life IS IN DANGER”
Psychiatrist said she will only believe her if by the next visit she gives her the answers and names of the people who have/ are harming her.
It’s now on my shoulders as she’s cried and told/yelled at me she is not a schizophrenia not a schizo not a crazy person and to please believe her. “Mum you know everything is true that is happening to me”
I quietly listened to her and have replied I will protect her, she is safe in our home.
Can you please help me with the right words on this one, I have not read enough of Dr Amador’s book to know how to properly confront this challenge in a peaceful and positive way.
Thankyou in anticipation

Maybe when she’s calmer, read an online story to her about someone who had schizophrenia and went through the same experience.

I can say that early on in my illness I thought everyone but my immediate family was trying to kill me.

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First off, I wouldn’t be too thrilled with your psychiatrist. I don’t think it’s a good idea giving patients ultimatums like that, it causes stress for no good reason. I was not even given a diagnosis until I was hospitalized.

What I would say is you don’t know if what she says is true or not (which I think is true). But you do believe that she doesn’t feel safe and it scares her. And that you don’t know if she’s schizophrenic or schizo or not (again true), but that wouldn’t matter because she’s your daughter and you love her. There’s a tenet in some mental health circles called ‘People First’. There’s a debate what to call people with schizophrenia, and I’m an advocate of using their first name and not much else.

I think of the last scene in The Sixth Sense where the boy reveals to his mother that he sees ghosts, and waiting for her response he says ‘you think I’m a freak’ and she says she would never think that about you, look on my eyes, you got it? And he replies ‘got it’. That’s the kind of energy I’d like between you and your daughter.

Don’t despair, as I said my ‘First Contact’ with a psychiatrist went very poorly, and I didn’t return for a year. As they say it’s a marathon not a sprint.

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Get a new psychiatrist! Has your daughter had the symptoms for more than 6 months? If not, then they should NOT be giving her any kind of a diagnosis.
Check into Early Psychosis Intervention programs in your area. These programs are very qualified to treat, educate and diagnosis schizophrenia. They also educate and provide resiliency training for family members and caregivers as well as the patient.

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Oh Maggie46, I am so sorry the psychiatrist did this to your daughter - how awful for her and you. This is the kind of idiocy we see all the time. My husband did the same thing with our son, he really thought it was helping - such is the idiocy our family members with anosognosia have to put up with in their lives. When I think of all the people with scz dumped on the streets by family members who have been told by professionals that their loved ones are in denial, I am enraged by the unfairness of life.

It sounds like you have done everything correct - you told her you will protect her and keep her safe.

There aren’t any magic words that cure them.

I wonder if you have any therapists trained in CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) ? CBT is the only form of therapy that has a track record of helping people with scz. A good CBT therapist would listen and help your daughter without challenging her delusions directly. The therapist would need experience in dealing with schizophrenia so you don’t get a repeat performance of the idiocy the psychiatrist just showed. Is it possible to change doctors? You need to question them ahead of time to avoid another idiot.

You are handling it exactly right. Listen, Empathize and repeat. I am so sorry. hope

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Yeah, that psychiatrist doesn’t seem to understand the reality of these delusional thoughts to someone with this illness.

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I think it’s sad that we live in a society where mental illness carries such a negative connotation. If the Dr. Said oh you have a tumor that pill is easier to swallow. Why? I suppose that’s the million dollar question. Ignorance I suppose. I will keep you in my thoughts as you and your daughter figure all this out…

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Thankyou, I’ll try to find something on the internet, appreciate your reply.

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Thankyou @Maggotbrane you always offer such wise and caring information, I’m in awe of you and your knowledge.
I will do exactly as you say, I’ve taken a screen shot to keep reminding myself.
We are so fortunate to have you share your insight on this family forum, I wish you all the best.

Yes @swillis she was diagnosed over 2 1/2 but suffering no insight or belief she is unwell (anosognosia), 2 years with this psychiatrist whom she trusted, I think that trust has now been betrayed. We are not in the US, psychiatrists are few and few between where we live and the wait can be up to 8mths, unless hospitalised.

@hope Thankyou, We have an appointment with a holistic therapist (psychologist) female in 3 weeks, our daughter feels comfortable and really likes her, this is probably our only option atm as I doubt we will be returning to the psychiatrist in a hurry.
I’ll follow up to see if she practices CBT.

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Thankyou, everyone on here is so kind and supportive.

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Why why why, would she cause more heartache, incredible.

So it sounds like the psychiatrist was good with your daughter for two years and then suddenly changed course during the last session.

If psychiatrists are hard to find where you live and the relationship had been a good one for so long, it might be worth trying to intervene with the psychiatrist to see if the relationship is fixable.

Perhaps the doctor was having a bad day and reacted out of her own frustrations - not a great thing, I know, but it happens. In which case the doctor might be feeling bad and wanting to repair, if possible.

Although if your daughter has not responded to medications, then trying psychosocial interventions with a psychologist is probably the better approach at this point anyway.

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Daughter started to gain trust in the psychiatrist about a year ago. Not sure why the outburst occurred yesterday with the labelling of her MI, who knows what she was thinking, but it has certainly fractured the trust and has made life at home even more miserable for her, have rung the clinic to make a phone appointment with psh as she is an hour or so away from our home.
Thankyou for the advice @Itsastruggle

@Maggie46 no problem. I’ve been working on an essay that ties The Sixth Sense to anosognosia and introduces LEAP so this is fresh in my head.

One other thing I might suggest is to AGREE with your daughter that you were just as disappointed and angry with the psychiatrist for what she said as she was. Then maybe you can PLAN next steps with her, like getting a new psychiatrist or telling your existing one off and introducing her to LEAP. Play her Dr. A’s Ted talk on your phone and say she’s an idiot. You’ll be doing her patients a big favor.

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The key to leap is to keep it simple: Listen: Your daughter feels the diagnosis is incorrect. Empathize: You understand how she could be upset. You would be upset if someone invalidated your information also. Agree: You agree with her, you were disappointed in the way the psychiatrist addressed your daughter also. Plan: That is for the 2 of you to work out. New psychiatrist? Trying to get the current psychiatrist to not invalidate your daughter? What possible help could a psychiatrist give your daughter? Your plan is YOUR plan, so you have to work it out.

My daughter STILL does not agree that she has had hallucinations or delusions. Her psychiatrist was stupid last session and asked her if she was “still hearing things that weren’t real”? which upset my daughter. I am going to write a letter to the Dr. before the next appt and tell her that she CANNOT invalidate my daughter’s opinion that she is gifted and her voices are special beings in the sky. The goal is to help my daughter, not to crush her. The goal is to keep her on the medication that works… For your daughter, it seems the goal would be to help her get her meds adjusted so she feels better… or whatever wording you like.

My heart hurts that your daughter was hurt emotionally by the Dr’s irrational demands.

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Absolutely…she is hurt, crushed and disillusioned.
I have told her “not to worry we will work it out together and the Dr had no right to label you as a Schizo” the term my daughter is constantly referring to.
I have now found the right way to handle this from all the great support and replies, all I can say is thankyou to everyone from the bottom of my heart.

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Great advice here. The diagnosis is not as important as the treatment so validating anything your daughter can acknowledge at this point (for example, such as hearing voices) will be more effective than trying to convince her she has a serious mental illness with a name, even though that is likely true. Keep reading and re-reading the LEAP book and loving your daughter. It is fact that persons with serious mental illness who have a supportive family have statistically better outcomes. Early intervention also helps.

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Clozapine saved my grandsons life

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