I am new to this site and trying my best to figure it out. My son is 23 years old and has suffered from schizophrenia for about 3 years now. He refuses to acknowledge his condition despite numerous hospital admissions and brushes with the law. He has basically alienated everyone in our family, myself included, with the exception of my mom who continuously takes him back in. I fear for her own sanity and frankly at times possible safety as his behaviors have become so erratic we have no idea what to do. Any type of advice or suggestions would be more than appreciated. I’m so sorry to everyone else dealing with these types of circumstances. No one deserves this type of pain.
Welcome to the forum!
Are you familiar with the symptom anosognosia?
It’s a symptom of scz, some experts say 60% of our family members with scz suffer from anosognosia.
Anosognosia means that your son has no way to understand that he is sick. The illness itself is causing this problem.
Dr Amador’s book, “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help” is a good place to start learning about anosognosia and how to communicate with your son.
I didn’t know about anosognosia and made the mistake of telling my son over and over again that his auditory hallucinations were not real. This only put a wall up between us and isolated him.
Thank you so much for your response @hope I’m really at a loss. I am not at all familiar with that term nor the book but I am researching both now. I’m extremely grateful for you sharing what you know. It’s been my experience in my area that people tend to shy away from discussing this in any detail and most doctors in my area honestly don’t seem very helpful or understanding unfortunately
My experience has been that people in general are not familiar with the brain disorder schizophrenia and as someone pointed out on another thread recently, there are several brain disorders under the classification of schizophrenia.
One of the things that surprised me the most was that relatively few psychiatrists have experience in the severe brain disorder category. When I attended NAMI’s Family to Family course (its free and everyone in your household and your mom should go together) they stressed to us that we must only use psychiatrists with experience dealing with the severe brain disorders.
Dr E Fuller Torrey’s book “Surviving Schizophrenia” A Family Manual, is another essential read. Dr Torrey is the top authority on schizophrenia, his book is easy to read - be sure to get a recent copy.
Do you think your son has been alienating his family because they keep telling him that he is sick and needs to take meds?
Welcome to this site. I am so glad you found it. It took me almost 2 years to find it, and this site is the best support I have found. Also look up NAMI, if there are support groups or classes in your area.
Everything @hope has suggested is very good.
No, no one deserves this type of pain, and the long, long haul is overwhelming at times trying to deal with it, or plan for a better future.
The only thing I can add is to try and support your own well-being as best as you can. Make sure that care-giving to your son doesn’t eliminate care-giving to yourself.
I definitely will be utilizing this site. You have been very helpful in a very dark time for me. Although I am fortunate enough to have friends who will listen it is often difficult to talk to them because they don’t really understand and often times judge without even meaning to. I looked up NAMI near me yesterday and found one. Emailed them to ensure that the meeting info on their site is current so I can start attending right away.
Most “normals” don’t understand severe mental illness or the weird problems it generates for the family involved. I have pretty much stopped talking about it to anyone who doesn’t share the common reality of a loved one with a severe MI. They will never understand, in my opinion. You will find people to talk to here on this site and at NAMI. Don’t be afraid to communicate.
@sportalatin - I find people are more open if you talk about symptoms vs sz. i.e. I’ll say my son is having problems with anxiety or disorganized thinking and we’re trying to figure things out. Even though my son has been told he has sz I think it’s easier for him to accept - oh you have paranoia, anxiety or disorganized thinking. Hang in there. Yes dark times. We’re here for you : )
I feel sorry for your son and your family. there is a website you would like and get more help. “Surviving antidepressant.com” check it out. and good luck.
Our son, now 34, was diagnosed schizophrenic years ago. He was / is like your son in many ways. Just in the past couple of years has he really started to gain some insight and some understanding into his disease. So he’s easier to be with these days, even though he prefers to be alone most of the time. So it is a life-long sickness. It can be treated but never cured. Remember you are not alone and we caregivers know how tough this is. Take care of yourself and take some time for yourself. Stay strong.