Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Is this Schizophrenia?


#1

Looking for some help if symptoms are schizophrenia or not. My wife, who is now 40, is generally an upbeat/happy person, especially in public and we have 2 children under the age of 10. She was diagnosed ADHD as a child, depression at 35, and most recently bipolar 2. As a child, she always struggled throughout school but eventually obtained a bachelor’s degree. Since college, she would occasionally think God would talk to her in ways that were not voices (numbers, songs, warm feelings in her body, people). I never really thought much about it because a lot of people say God talks to them. For the next 10 years, she was in and out of jobs. She never could do a good enough job to last either being let go for performance or quitting because she knew she was going to be let go soon.

Fast forward to when she was 35, her mother passes away and she tries a career change. Her mother’s death didn’t seem like a big deal to her at the time but she still talks about it today, so I am assuming she kept things in. The career change was too much for her and she felt like people bullied her, people wanted her to fail and people talked about her. She was eventually fired, tried the same career at another location and quit within 2 weeks because it was heading in the same direction. At this time she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. She also had suicidal thoughts (although she never tried anything) It was believed by her doctor that once she left this career her emotions/mind would return to normal but this never happened. While things weren’t as bad and she was no longer suicidal, she continued to have emotional outbursts, cycles of good times/bad times. It became harder and harder for her to deal with regular day to day stress (having to cook a meal and one of our kids asking for something at the same time) and she seemed like she was having a more and more difficult time remembering things. It felt like these two events broke her.

She eventually got a manual labor position and outside of a few times (that would last for weeks) thinking a certain employee was out to get her, she seemed to do fine. After about 2 years in this position, she had a mild heart attack with no known cause as she was healthy. 2 months after this occurred, she was seen by a psychiatrist who diagnosed her as bipolar 2. The doctor prescribed Zoloft and Lamictal. The Lamictal they stair stepped from 50, 100 and eventually 150 mg. She was taking the medications for almost 2 months and it seemed like it was helping. About 2 weeks ago (the anniversary of her mother’s death) she started acting strange. She was creating elaborate lies that involved multiple people, she would ramble on for hours about aimless things, break down crying, thought God was talking to her through songs, words, and people, thought she was seeing demons on her phone, the tv was talking to her, paranoid about social situations, saying she wasn’t sleeping at all for days (but I watched her sleep and snore) and so much more. This occurred for 2-3 days before I took her to the hospital, where she currently is. Other than the anniversary death of her mom, she had two glasses of red wine and was still taking her medications.

She has been in the hospital for about a week and seems to be doing better. Looking back on it now, she feels like she possibly has heard voices or been paranoid for awhile but she doesn’t really know. The doctors seem to think the Lamictal mixed with Zoloft caused the symptoms to occur. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me because she had been taking them for almost 2 months without any of these side effects.

So my question is, is this schizophrenia, is it bipolar with an episode of schizophrenia, is this something that once it occurs it will continue to happen? My wife hasn’t been normal for over 4 years. I don’t know if this is going to be the new normal or if things will ever go back prior to her being diagnosed as having depression.


#2

Hi,

I didn’t know a great deal about bipolar until recently. What I have learned so far, is that people with bipolar can have delusions during episodes. I have also learned that episodes can become more frequent and worse as a person grows older.

I hope that helps.


#3

I couldn’t possibly guess at anything, just based on text.
Not to mention I have near zero medical knowledge.

But I have experienced something worth relating:
Often, people who are on psycholocal medication attempt to self medicate when they “don’t feel right”. Generally, this involves not taking medication as prescribed, alcohol or drug use, or a combination.
Having witnessed the kind of poo-storm that mixing meds for depression / anxiety / bipolar with alcohol can create;
Keep an eye out for that kind of self medication.
It is self destructive and can lead to very sudden melt-downs.

Other than that kind of behavior, probably best to keep communication strong between the two of you and follow the primary doctor’s recommendations.

If medication needs changing, the doctor will handle it.
If the diagnosis needs to change, the doctor will work through it.
But they need trust and honesty from their patient to be able to make the correct conclusions.


#4

My son who has schizoaffective disorder which simply put is combination bipolar and schizophrenia. When younger Zoloft activated his mania. It did take time for this to happen. Over time we realized some antidepressants Meds made his mania worse. This is know phenomenon in some people. While people are manic they can become psychotic hear voices and have delusions. It’s a lot trial and error to find right medication. It’s also very individual. It takes weeks to know if particular med helps or makes symptoms worse. Hang in there. When you find the right combination it can be life changing. Hope this helps.