My sz son just started on medication (civilly committed) a week ago. A few months back he started having psychosis. The day it started, he started yelling/screaming at his dad and pounding the table and calling him by his first name, extremely agitated, accusing him of doing things which didn’t even make sense. (This is way out of character for him.) He also says his roommate threatened to kill him. (For sure not true.) My question is, he’s been forced to take meds for a week now. He still calls his dad by his first name and says he’s evil and bad! Is this what a delusion is? It’s definitely a false belief. (sorry, i’m new to this). And if so, will this go away in a week or month or ever, if you know? Thanks.
Yes - a delusion is a fixed, false belief (that a person holds despite obvious and significant evidence to the contrary). Most delusions go away once the medications kick in - but it really varies by person and for some there are persistent delusional tendencies that can be helped with psychotherapy.
You sound quite new to these issues. I recommend this book as a good one to get up to speed on the issues you’ll run into:
Thank you for the feedback. Yes, I’m very new to this. Learning all I can online. I will for sure read this book. Again, thanks for responding.
First of all it definitely takes more than a week to know the effectiveness of any medication. In my experiences with my son it took at least a month in most cases before a determination was made. He exhibited very similar behaviors until he finally got stabilized on the correct medication. He started with Geodon, then Risperidol, then, Invega and a couple of others I do not recall before finally settling on Clozapine which has worked the best of anything and continues to work, Never take his angry outbursts or inappropriate speech personally, they are symptoms and not something he would choose to do if in his right mind. It is hard to remain objective (trust me I know) but with a mentally ill loved one objectivity has to be just as strong as your love and compassion. Our loved ones are counting on it whether they know it or not. Best of luck to you and your son.
Catherine, thank you for your response. Somehow it calmed me a bit knowing your son had similar behaviors. It’s very hard to stay objective but I know it’s the right thing. Sometimes I wonder if he’ll come around, but I know it hasn’t been very long and I’m just scared and want it to all be okay. Right now he’s on Risperidone and Zyprexa. I’ve heard that Clozapine works well but I think they usually try other meds first, (at least from what I read). My hope is that they keep him in the hospital until this “hate” for his dad goes away. He won’t come live with us like he is and I can’t imagine what it would be like right now if he did. If they let him out, he’ll be on the street, which scares me to death. He doesn’t like to be around people at all so he would head to the woods, and he’s not a “boy scout” type so not sure how he would survive. My anxiety levels are through the roof. I’m trusting the hospital will keep him until he wants to come home to our house and is able. Then it’s a whole other set of issues, because right now he doesn’t think he’s sick so I know he wouldn’t continue with meds if they let him out now. Thanks for letting me vent and thanks for being there.
I do understand very well the fear and the entire roller coaster ride of having a son with a serious mental illness. I know that guardianship is daunting for many parents to think of but if you ever choose to become legal guardian for your son, it is best to do it when he is very ill because you will be granted it much more easily than when he is stable. Stability is not a guarantee that a crisis may not occur down the road, just as guardianship does not mean your son cannot learn to live a more independent and productive life eventually. It does take time though and so much patience. I had to get guardianship for my son when he was 22 because I was never allowed to make medical decisions for him after he turned 18 and being so ill as he was he consistently told medical personnel that he was fine even when he might be at death’s door. If you are his guardian and his rep payee and he is on disability or SSI at least he has income for his needs and at least it is not getting wasted and when the emergency arises you have the right to have him hospitalized whether he agrees to it or not. The VERY severe symptoms of schizophrenia do usually begin to lesson very slowly after the age of 25 (if properly medicated) and are replaced with the lesser symptoms like apathy or lack of motivation, which are not as bad to deal with as so many of the more severe symptoms. I see the differences now that my son is 32. I am always so grateful I got his guardianship early because it has served me well to keep him healthy and under consistent medical and psychiatric care. These are just ideas I share with you from my own experience. Every family and situation is different. Feel free to discuss anything on the topic-anytime-vent away, I recommend looking up a NAMI chapter in your area and perhaps seeing if they offer a Family to Family class. I took it 10 years ago and am planning on taking it again. It is the most valuable educational class on the subject of mental illness and being a caretaker. Best wishes-- http://www.nami.org/
Thank you for all the great information, especially the guardianship. That is worth looking into. I appreciate you passing that along. I didn’t know about the severe symptoms possibly lessening around age 25. That’s interesting and hopeful. I’m looking into NAMI now. I’ve heard great things about it. Thank you again. It’s nice to hear how you got through some of this, especially since your son is 32 now. I hope he’s doing well. It sounds like you’ve taken great care to watch after his well being. Best wishes to you as well.
He is doing pretty well now…thank you also for writing back, I normally have no one to share this stuff with, no one that understands how it feels anyway—write anytime,
@Catherine and @JulieAnn, you are very much not alone in dealing with these behaviors. My son also has been thru several failed trials of anti-psychotics, and is now on clozaril, which has been the most effective of all. My son’s angry outbursts seemed to be at their worst in response to voices, and there have been only 2 in the last 5 months. I don’t see the usual signs that he is experiencing internal stimuli - his yelling back at them and being agitated. He does still have delusional beliefs, which cause him anxiety, but he seems to be able to cope with them better. He is currently mid-twenties, and my hope is that after an extended time of clozaril, these will also lessen.
I was granted guardianship a few years ago. My son was not med-compliant then, and was making choices that were dangerous to his well-being… He still doesn’t think he’s sick, but takes his meds. We don’t talk about it much, since it gets him agitated, but I suspect he is at least seeing that the clozaril is keeping him out of the hospital and out of trouble.
Vallpen…you sound like my sister from another mister, thanks for making me feel less alone today.
Thank you, Vallpen. It’s nice to hear from you and your experiences with your son. I’m learning every day more and more what we may be looking at for the future. My son is 24. He had psychosis pretty bad a year ago and was hospitalized for 2 weeks. He came out much better, med compliant, seeing his doctors. Then 3 months later he stopped taking meds and stopped seeing the doc. “He didn’t need them.” These last 6 months he’s gone downhill every way manageable. Last year we thought he had psychosis because of stress, or maybe it was a one-time episode. Now we know it’s schizophrenia as it has advanced and he’s been diagnosed. For some reason, his agitation and anger is the hardest part for me to take. Maybe those are my issues and other families don’t have as hard of a time with this aspect. Praying and hoping they keep him for another month or two. He can’t come here if he refuses meds. He scares us too bad. We live in fear 24/7. But I think he’ll come around. Even if he doesn’t think he needs them, he may take them so he has a nice place to live where he’s loved. Again, thanks for sharing. Good to hear you also have guardianship. Feeling understood by other parents on here is helping me cope and understand. Hoping for the best for you and your son!