Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

I Think My Son May Have Schizophrenia


#1

My son is now 22 years old. When he was in high school everything came very easily to him everything seemed normal I really thought he had a bright future ahead of him.

Then one day he and a group of his friends thought it would be a good idea to smoke some synthetic marijuana. 4 of the people in this group got sick one girl ended up in the hospital for more than a week.

Seems to me that over the next year he slowly lost interest in everything and slipped into this darkness. Now he can barely function his life consists of sitting in his bedroom playing video games.

Cant say if this decline was caused by this synthetic marijuana episode or if its just coincidence.

I recently started pecking around on the internet looking for clues. I started looking at the negative symptoms for schizophrenia. Im certainly no mental health specialist but this is an exact fit.

Im not sure what to do next.

  • Depression (noted by everyone)
  • Excessive sleeping or inability to sleep for long periods of time
  • Social withdrawal and isolation (noted by everyone)
  • Shift to unusual behavior; significant personality change
  • Deterioration of social relationships
  • Hyperactive or inactive (or alternating between the two)
  • Inability to concentrate or cope with minor problems
  • Hostility from one formerly passive and compliant Indifference or inflexible obstinancy
  • Dropping out of activities and life in general
  • Decline in academic or athletic performance
  • Accidents or self-imposed injuries (cutting oneself)
  • Drug or alcohol involvement with extreme or dramatic reactions
  • Forgetfulness and losing things
  • Devastated by disapproval
  • Deterioration and abandonment of personal hygeine
  • Noticeable and rapid weight loss
  • Excessive need for acceptance
  • Inability to express joy
  • Inappropriate laughter
  • Bizarre behavior (hopping, wearing only torn clothing, applying strange make-up)
  • Irrational statements

#2

There are no doctors here that I’m aware of.
And probably no doctor would issue a diagnosis without first examining a person face to face.

Sounds to me like you live with a grown man who doesn’t want to build his own life.
Until he goes to see a doctor to seek help / starts making his own way.


#3

Hi Jamie, Welcome to the site.

Diagnosing sz is difficult even for doctors. No one here is a doctor (I don’t think so anyway) and it sounds like your son needs a doctor or therapist. I assume you have talked to your son about seeing a professional and he has refused?

Diagnosis of sz is usually not done until some time has passed, sometimes 6 months or more, with the psychiatrist becoming familiar with his patient’s situation. My daughter was first diagnosed with an unspecified psychosis, then with delusional disorder, then with schizophrenia almost 1.5 years after she became ill.

If he is self-harming, in my state that is grounds for involuntary commitment for observation.

If there is a NAMI near you, I suggest you take advantage of their education classes as there are many types of mental illnesses and NAMI helps caregivers and persons with MI to learn and cope. This forum is also a great support group. But your first step should probably be to get him to a trained professional.


#4

Thanks for the response. I recognize that to get a formal diagnosis requires spending some time with a qualified Dr. I think step 1 is that I should educate myself and gather as much information as possible. Based on my very limited understanding of this disease theres no real test available.

Sounds like theres a lot of room for speculation and much of this is based on a Dr opinion or interpretation.

I envision that if I took him to see 5 different Dr we would likely end up with 5 different diagnosis and 5 different recommendations for treatment.

I hope Im wrong…


#5

@Jamie
It might well be the case that 5 doctors give 5 different diagnosis. Disorders are the most confounding things.
You can’t just look under a microscope and see it.
In fact, the metaphorical “microscope” used to make that diagnosis is conversation and observation. And both of those are extremely subjective processes in the first place.

At any rate:
If the issue is a disorder, you’re right. The first challenge is getting an accurate diagnosis. That certainly is an endeavor in itself.
Treatment plans only become actionable after a diagnosis is made.


#6

IMHO, step one should be a visit to a medical doctor. The first thing to rule out is a medical issue.


#7

Based on what you know about this disease what percentage of folks would you guess does actually recover from this?

Does anyone ever really recover from this.

I recognize we all have personality flaws of some kind nobody is perfect. One of my flaws is that for me the glass is half empty rather than half full. When it comes to disease Im pessimistic and doubtful.

Im sure that there are highly professional Dr.s out there that are genuinely caring and well meaning that do a fantastic job. When it comes to Dr.s and lawyers I’ve had some terrible luck in the past. Sadly in both instances personal income is generated by sales.

Imagine how different health and legal services would be if Dr.s and lawyers personal income were based on customer satisfaction ,performance and success. I think its difficult for many to keep their moral compass heading in the right direction. At this point in my life I have zero tolerance for BS.


#8

I truly believe your first step is to have your son examined. What about a regular general medical doctor to rule out physical illness? Perhaps he is severely anemic, or low thyroid, or a brain scan could show a problem? Really, I gently suggest before you worry about whether “this” can be recovered from or not, you find out what “this” is.

And, sigh, IF and I say IF, it is schizophrenia, no, there is no cure. Sometimes it can be managed, sometimes not. I hope your son does not have sz, for your entire family’s sake. But if he does, early intervention can sometimes revert the symptoms. That is where there are often good success rates for living a functional future adult life.


#9

Really hoping your son doesn’t have scz. From my experience, there has been a lot of BS involved.


#10

Thanks for being the voice of reason you’re probably right. Google might not be the best venue to diagnose a serious mental illness. Several years ago I diagnosed myself on Google and for the next couple of months I was certain that I had testicular cancer. Turned out I was wrong.

Ill start with some basic blood tests and go from there.

Thanks


#11

You are very welcome, @Jamie . All of us here on this site, I am pretty sure, hope it is something far less serious for your son, too. We cry for each other, pray for each other, and certainly have hope for each other, as it is far too easy to be hopeless when our loved ones are not well.


#12

I dont think I loose hope I typically just get frustrated and pissed off.

I truly believe that as long as Im above ground theres always hope . In my lifetime I’ve experienced incredibly good luck when the odds were stacked against me and I’ve experienced ridiculously bad luck as well when the odds were significantly in my favor.

In 2001 I watched my wife win $1,000,000.00 on a Florida Lottery scratch off ticket then 6 months later she survived an amniotic embolism while giving birth. To date this is the only recorded instance of the mother and child both surviving an amniotic embolism. Usually the mother and baby dont survive in some instances one or the other might survive. Her incident is now published in medical books all over the world. Theres no mention of her name of course.

2 years later Im sitting in traffic at a red light right down the street from my house. A military jet happened to be doing an exercise in the area. The jet had a catastrophic failure in flight and the pilot ejected. As Im sitting there the jets cargo door comes slamming down on my hood catching my car on fire. I would guess the odds of this happening are far greater than winning the lottery.

Luck can be a curse or a blessing.


#13

Me too, I have learned one thing from 2.5 years with a schizophrenic in my home, and that is to control my temper. Smiles work wonders on my daughter, it has improved life in my home tremendously to just smile.

We went to WalMart today and she got asked to go outside for too loudly talking at (to) other customers. Then while outside, she was told to leave the front of the store for doing the same thing (she tends to walk up to strangers and start being antagonistic about something). She did finally just go hang out at our car while I finished returning the Twizzlers I bought for her so I could get Red Vines instead. “Mommmmm, I told you ‘Red Vines’, how could you get ‘Twizzlers’???” “She got Twizzlers, can you all believe she got Twizzlers and not Red Vines???”

I have to smile. It calms her down, and actually, it is worth smiling over.

Luck? Wow, some story about luck you told. Yes, I agree it is a curse or a blessing, sometimes both at the same time…


#14

@Jamie Hi - welcome. I haven’t read everyones posts above but the note about the synthetic pot caught my eye. K2 or whatever fake pot they smoked can cause the same symptoms of sz. Google it. I learned this when I found what I believe was the synthetic pot in my sons room. 99% sure it was. His behavior at that time got really really weird. He has sense been diagnosed paranoid sz - disorganized thinking, high anxiety. Back up a bit. - - - when I found the sn pot, I asked on this forum about it. Several folks chimed in (you can search spice and K2 on this site and probably find the chain. Anyway, one woman who’s son had had psychosis for 3 years (where she locked her bedroom door at night) had also smoked spice. He ended up on the invega shot for a year. He went off of it and she said it was like he never had sz. Both his doc and her believe his behavior was from the spice/K2.

My son is now on the invega shot and is clearer than me. Works now 40 ish hours a week and is able to interact fine with folks at work. He will go off the shot when he is off probation (speeding ticket and resisting arrest - due to psychosis) next fall. As much as I don’t want him off the shot I am curious if he too will be symptom free if he goes off.

I hope you are able to get your son to a doctor. Mine? Yes, he isolated playing video games, watching movies for almost a year when I had to get a mental health hold and the cops had to break in and haul him off to the hospital. He is stable now but it was quite a ride.

Serious about he 1M bucks? Wow!