After getting his GED Daniel my first born was working two jobs, had just finished three college courses and received his OSHA certifications to do carpentry work, electrical work, and solar installation when he started to complain that his ears were plugged. He was trying everything to unplug them and nothing worked. When I took him to the emergency room the doctor told us there was nothing wrong with his ears and that he needed a psychiatric evaluation. He was 22 years old when he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Nothing could have prepared our family for what was to come. The horror of this disease/syndrome was unimaginable by any stretch of the imagination. I want my son to live a normal life but now it seems impossible… so far he will not take medication of any kind.
Sorry to hear about your son - I know from experience its a very hard illness for everyone to deal with. I recommend you join a support group like NAMI ( http://www.nami.org ) or, if you’re in Canada - The Schizophrenia Society of Canada. They can help you help your son.
Some other ideas - read up on how to deal with your son when he’s not thinking clearly:
Follow the Medications and Vitamins Forum for schizophrenia:
Other things to look into:
CBT for Schizophrenia:
Vitamins for Schizophrenia:
Here are some examples:
I’m so sorry your family is in pain and watching him struggle. How long ago was he diagnosed?
I remember an emergency room visit, and a doc saying “I can’t help you, you need a psychiatrist.” And I though, ah, great now what, completely panicked for the first time. Nope, nothing prepares you for this is any parenting reference I’d ever read.
Please know it IS possible for your son to improve, and to live a satisfying, good life.
hes still beautiful.
the five stages of grief are:
hes going to go through them slower than you its his mind, and medicines are not a greatest feeling solution to psychosis. you not only lose concentration, emotions, energy, but sex drive, appetite control and sometimes even more serious and unseen issues. for instance tarditive dyskinesia and loss of white blood cells.
imagine what it feels like to be on the medicines, being told the only way to be sane in life was to take five benedryl a day. its extremely hard to accept that we have to commit to feeling uncomfortable in our own skin the rest of our life.
the only thing we can do is count the eggs left in our basket with such a hopeless disease. thank god it wasnt down syndrome or nonverbal autism. thank god he can communicate after meds. getting him to take them is hard, hell have to get fed up with hallucinations eventually and want to communicate again. please dont ever let him go homeless, these meds are just as dabilitating as the disease and even cause 10% brains heinkage and various brain damage.
get the following tested once he starts meds, doctors wont always do it.
white blood cells, hormones, and liver enzymes. the meds can cause issues with each of these areas.
please stick by him, meds are neccessary to live a propee life, finding the right med takes awhile 99% oft he time. if hes not taking this med, there could very well be a better medicine that makes him feel comfortable in hos skin. there are only two reasons he wouldnt take the meds: hes in denial, or dislikes the side effects.
also, i stopped meds two and a half months ago. only thirty percent of schizophrenics need meds there whole lives.
@4TheLoveOfDanielMcDonald , I am so sorry that your son is diagnosed with this cruel illness. Most of them have no insight which is known as Anosognosia . They don’t think anything is wrong with them. I am not sure at what point one realizes that they need help. My son was diagnosed at age 24 and after 4 years he still doesn’t think anything is wrong with him. Sending you positive thoughts and all the best. I hope if he is not working, he is getting SSDI/SSI and has Medicaid. There is a lot of help available if you google depending on where you live. If you live in USA you can ask NAMI for help.
This is terrible news to hear about a child. You are going to need all the support you can get. It`s hard for someone with schizophrenia to realize that what they are experiencing is not real. Every person is different. Some gain insight quicker then others.
I do know one thing–the support your family gets and gives each other will have an effect on how your son recovers. It takes a village. Alot of people do not have that, the process is 3 times longer.
I wish the best for you and your family.
take care of yourselves-get reinforcements.
thought i would say hi.
hey, good on you for loving your son…
Only 30% of Schizophrenia patients have medication work for them and need it.
I’m sorry you son won’t try and be med compliant. I know there are some people who are against meds and I’m sure they are sedating and they are hard to deal with and it is tedious. But for some people, meds work great.
My brother came back to us when finally his med combo got changed and it happened to be just right. It took a long time and there were a lot of hopes dashed and attempts that never made a positive difference.
My Mom refused to give up and finally, the right combo was found. The new meds gave my brother enough get up and go to endure therapy and CBT and anger management and vocational training.
The more he learned in coping class, the more he’s been able to work with his doctor to lighten his dose. He’s come back to us. He has a job he likes, he’s in school now, and he’s been happy.
I do believe that meds are necessary, but I also feel deeply that it’s not just meds alone that can get a person back on track. There seem to be so many components to this illness that it needs many different ideas to conquer it.
Good luck and I hope your son comes back to you like my brother came back to me.
In my eyes he is even more beautiful then I could have ever imagined teaching patience, caring, understanding, and unconditional love to those he meets as well as those he has known. I hope to meet more people like you in these forums as the tips you shared are much appreciated. I have so much more to say about our situation, but as for now I am headed to the courthouse to support him as he goes before the judge one more time… Does anyone else feel the courts should be more educated to better serve the mentally ill?
I used to refuse medication. I know some people who do. I am a psychology major, however, and know the science behind my medications, I took a couple of classes on drugs and neuroscience, honors sections of them, and what I learned basically saved my life. I was a chain-smoking unmedicated binge-drinking schizophrenic. Now I am a fitness junkie, straight A student, take six pills a day, and have a very active social life, as well as dating people, with some hits and strikeouts, few home runs.
SO yeah, medication is a necessity for him. He either has anosognosia, which means he does not understand that he is ill, or he is aware that he is ill and consciously denying it, which means he is in denial.
Both are bad, anosognosia is worse.
I was in denial of my initial psychosis NOS diagnosis, I said that any NOS diagnosis was “bullshit”. Well nine months passed and I started to believe that I actually had schizophrenia after learning about it in school, and I demanded my parents to get me a formal evaluation. The evaluation took a week. I have been officially diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia since February 4th, 2013, if I am not mistaken. I was nuts, but I dont remember the day, but it was the first few days of that month. I was given a firm diagnosis.
I refused medication until the semester was over, and for good reasons- I was dependent on alcohol, which I needed to detox from, and I was a full time honors student, making good grades, so trying out schizo meds would have been a bad idea, as they can impede functioning. I finished the semester with A’s and B’s, got really drunk on by birthday on June 11th, cut the heavy drinking out then got on medication and the rest has been a story about recovery.
SO what does all of that mean? He needs to be firmly told that he is crazy, in vernacular, by a professional. I was looked in the eye and told “You are very crazy.” that is what it took to get through to my reasoning in the psychotic reality I was living in. I heard a lot of things, but I remember hearing those words more clearly than all of the hallucinations I heard.
Good luck, this illness sucks. I am still in the honors program, majoring in psychology, I am a junior now. I have a medical ethics test today which is all about autonomy, whether patients should know about their conditions and treatments, ect… I like to function highly and study what applies to me because it is the best I can do to schizophrenia. I beat schizophrenia by knowing about it, keeping my friends close and my enemies closer. I am very close to schizophrenia, I know it very well, and it is my enemy.
I’m sorry that you all are going through this. Please try to help him on the medication. It is a better than being at the mercy of the illness.
And if he says or does hurtful things, know that it’s the illness making him do it. I’ve done some hurtful things to my folks when I was ill, and I regret it all the time.
It is very sad that you call him insane. He is not insane, he is just not well. Just stop and think about him for a while. The fear and isolation he feels which ultimately will boil over in frustration, anger and odd behaviour. It is all real for him, and the more you label him insane and refuse to believe him, the more upset and angry he will become. I know because I am living through it. I get strong tactile hallucinations and have had some very strange experiences. But my family won’t believe me and think I am making it all up. So I am alone in my own strange twilight world. I urge you to try and understand him because if he feels isolated he may do something stupid if he feels there is no hope. He doesn’t want this rotten disease either. Medication isn’t always the answer, but admin’s suggestion of attending a support group could really help both of you.
I agree with your points.
The isolation that develops is of no help. The fact that no one believes a single word you say is a nightmare. I eventually would hang one to any physical evidence of the occurrence of some “abnormal” event and at the right time when those I spoke to said that what I had mentioned was utter madness and utter nonsense and that such things never happened, I then presented the physical evidence to make my point clear that they were not in touch with reality and that I had the evidence to prove it. Their faces usually turned red in response !
I did my best to make it clear that they had become 100% closed minded.
I can give you an example of one event in which the evidence was still there in real-time.
I, on the way walking to the grocery store, noticed a couple of birds circling their nest at the top of a light pole. They were protecting their nest. In my mind I amusingly said that I better keep an eye on those birds on my way back home. Anyhow I continued on to the grocery store, picked up the goods, and then headed back home but forgot to keep an eye on the birds. Just as I was approaching the road which was an entrance road to a highway, one of the birds did a kamikaze nose dive at me from above and behind, and then gave me a nasty peck on the back of my head. I reached back and felt the spot of which it hit me and now my fingers on my right hand were covered with blood. Blood was also now running down my neck to my shirt collar. Passers by, who were about to enter the highway, were laughing about the incident.
Anyhow, I got home to my apartment and ran into some neighbors in the hallway. I told them what had happened and they basically just said, “Ok…bird hit you from behind…your head is bleeding…well we have to go now…alright”. The place in which I live in is mostly for the disabled and so whatever your problem is the word gets around, thus I was tagged with the usual title “crazy schizophrenic”.
So they did not believe a word that I had said and talked down to me as though I was suffering from a severe case of dementia or something. So I just shook my head, turned around, and headed to my apartment door. But when doing so they saw the blood on the back of my head and then came running over to me and felt that they had to tell me that I was bleeding even though that’s what I just bloody well told them. ( No pun intended )
Thus they thought that a schizophrenic was so detached from reality that a schizophrenic also has to be told whatever he or she has just stated.
So who is detached from reality, I ask you.
Sorry for your troubles. Hopefully things will improve soon.
If you don’t mind saying, though, what were your son’s other symptoms? What else was going on with him, initially (and before any meds), besides feeling like his ears were plugged?
He may be able to become stable without medication. Quite a lot of people do manage that. If he doesn’t accept his diagnosis, work on each symptom one by one. Try a very good diet, vitamins B6 and B12, fish oil, a good sleep pattern, stress management techniques, moderate exercise and moderate social activity. All those things can improve his condition. After a while, he may accept the diagnosis. Don’t argue with his delusions. He can get better.
I understand what you are experiencing my son is also in denial, and refuses his meds, worst of all he has tardive dyskinesia, and has stopped taking his meds for this, which makes all matters worse.I really don’t know why he cries for hours non-stop and claims he hears phone calls and to call the phone company to make it stop I know he’s hallucinating. I’ve tried hospitalizing him but they refuse to keep him being that they want us to conserve him and place him in an IMD. Which we have come to the conclusion that this is best for him. I do find it difficult to place him, it’s part of being a mother I guess :((
I watched my beautiful son go insane at the age of 21. He took every pill in my medicine cabinet and then went to his room to fall asleep. He woke up asking me, “mom, why am I still alive?” I immediately drove him to the nearest emergency room where he was transferred to a psychiatric hospital. There, they diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia/schizoaffective. They stabilized him and sent him home. He then went off his medication for three months, and I did not know about it because he was not living with me at the time. He became ill again and was sent to a long term, state psychiatric hospital, where he stayed for 9 months. He came out in remission and stayed in remission for approx. 3 years. He became ill again in 2005, and this time, they could not stabilize him. He heard constant, tormenting voices, and suffered paranoia and delusions as well. In 2008, he moved to a group home in a rough part of town, where he was miserable, and it was there that he took his own life in May of 2011
Today, I can’t let myself think about him for too long, otherwise it affects my mood adversely. I try to put him out of my mind by keeping busy. We were very close.
Deeply sorry for you loss, It breaks my heart just reading your article, my son also deteriorated slowly he’s still living at home, drives me insane to see him being tormented by the voices and taking him to see his psychiatrist and they are unable to find him the correct meds…
I’m sorry about your son. I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1980 at age 19. I don’t really like the label “insane”. Maybe technically I am insane. But I’ve always worked, almost always driven my own car for 30 years with only one accident that was my fault, I take online classes, I live on my own, and I’ve never laid a hand on anybody. Am I insane? Look at it this way: do you call your son insane in front of him? Would he like to be called insane by anyone? Would you want to hear anyone call him insane?
“Insane”, “loony”, “nuts”, “crazy”. It’s not very productive to be called that. At the very least it’s offensive. At the most it effects our self-esteem, confidence, and our self image. I don’t view anyone on here as insane. I see people with problems.