Lazy or disease?

I often wonder if my son is super lazy, or part of the disease. He doesn’t lift a finger around house, even though I ask him. He used to do his laundry, but no more.,His personal hygiene is horrible. It really irks my husband, when my husband is bringing wood in etc, and our son just watches. I think a hazmat unit will have to come in and clean his bedroom and bathroom.,I just don’t have the energy to do it. He makes a disaster out of kitchen and never will clean up anything. Just plain worn out.

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You’ve described our experience exactly. Sleeps a ton. We have to push for any cleaning of apartment, self, clothes, truck, etc. Even just pulling up his pants… or tying his shoes.

He was never super disciplined. Or helpful. But the current med mix has caused weight gain (50+ pounds), and more lethargy.

We tried to cut back Lithium to increase energy level but wasn’t a good outcome. So switched back and just deal with reality.

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Avolition and lack of “executive function” are generally considered part of the negative symptoms and cognitive impairments of the disease. Lethargy is often a side-effect of medications and depression can be comorbid with the disease too. It’s often hard to pin down a specific cause and effect as these all contribute differently depending on the individual and medication (or lack thereof) regimen. There can also be a degree of learned helplessness that sets in because of maladaptions to these and other symptoms. I feel it’s safe to say if you observe behavior changes after onset of illness, that illness is likely a primary or strong secondary factor, and not laziness or narcissism or selfishness or various other emotionally satisfying character flaws that are tempting to blame.

In my experience caregivers having a negative, scolding or nagging attitude toward these behaviors (or lack thereof) is counterproductive. It can drag down esteem or darken depression or shatter confidence in already impaired cognitive abilities. Often times a sufferer is either just as frustrated with themselves, or their lack the ability to handle life functions of their own. If not, they may lack planning, awareness or cognitive ability to identify and manage such activities. You want to help lift them up, rather than tear them down, even though it can be extremely frustrating and trying to your patience.

I’ve found medications to have only minor impact on negative symptoms— if any at all. Talk, occupational therapy and diagnosis and treatment of any underlying depression are the sorts of treatments I would consider.

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My son is lazy! But since this disease has taken full control over him in the last 8 years, it has become worse. He still does his laundry, but only after he has worn everything he owns and has nothing left to wear. He does not do anything else. His room and bathroom are disgusting. Then he makes messes all over the house. I always have sticky spots on the floor cuz he spills stuff and NEVER wipes it up. You could almost lose your shoes, cuz they are stuck to the floor. I feel your pain. My son is currently in another rehab, and wow! I have a clean house. I wish he could stay in the rehab bubble forever. I’m not lying, I am enjoying the very expensive break from him. I just hope they will finally get his meds right before he has to come home again.

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I know exactly what you mean. I’d need hazmat to clean his room and bathroom. Then I feel guilty for not doing it, but just don’t have energy.

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You explained it so well, bravo to you:)

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Is he on the right medications, there are some meds that help with that lethargy and have less side effects.

I understand this so well. My husband doesn’t bathe, change his clothes, do house cleaning, repairs, have a job, volunteer somewhere, or do anything productive. It’s like having another child; only this child is an adult so he expects to be treated like an adult even though he won’t take on adult responsibilities. According to him, everything is someone or something else’s fault. And his behavior is affecting our kids. Everything I hear (from friends, family, professionals) tells me that’s just the way it is. Basically I have to live with it even though it is wearing me down. Nobody will come to the house to help because, as much as they say it’s not my husband’s fault, they are just as disgusted of his treatment of me as I am and don’t want to be around him. Yet all anyone says is how hard it is for him. I get that, but it’s no picnic for me either. I don’t have the money to pay for someone to help, and he won’t give his therapist or psychiatrist permission to talk to me, so the kids and I are left on our own. My question is, when do I and the kids start to matter?

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My DD also has this problem, definitely one of the persistent negative symptoms. Her home is a pigsty, and it is always the (also sz) roommate’s fault. The irony is that whenever I ask what she is doing, the default response is to say she is ‘cleaning.’ I have to pay someone to keep the few square feet of space at their front door at an acceptable standard since it would never occur to either to sweep or pull a weed. They’re on their own for the inside, and would be offended if I did suggest a cleaner.
Related—she is also constantly concerned with losing weight and getting in shape. Always just on her way to/from the gym, and I question whether she ever actually gets there. Laundry? Pretty sure she throws out and buys new things rather than wash them.

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You and the kids always matter❤️ Our love one struggles with the negative symptoms as well, but we continue to encourage him with love and respect, he did shower yesterday with the lights out, what ever works. Find something that you enjoy doing, and hold on to that as a outlet for yourself. Read lots and hang out with people that do support you. They are out there, you just have to find them.

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Its more likely part of the side effects of his medication and part his illness. I have had similar with my son and what you discribe is a mirror image of how he has been. Things have improved in recent years, he will cut the grass, and hoover 1-2 times a week but still leaves a mess. I really dont think this is deliberate, but i know only too well that its irritating.

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My daughter has a few of these behaviors that have become worse- she is newly diagnosed. With her though, there were some anxieties and delusions that had developed around some chores and some problem solving has helped. For example- not putting her clothes in the dryer (she’s obsessed with them shrinking), using dishgloves (she has a fear of touching old food). I know this doesn’t completely solve the problem. She has negative symptoms as well, but it has helped. Also makes her feel more confident when she figures out a way to be more independent.

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My son used to do laundry, but not any longer

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Everything you say is how i understand it, too. My son is on four medications for schizophrenia and anxiety. He’s completely unmotivated and yes, frustrated. He feels he works so hard but this couldn’t be further from the truth. He doesn’t have a job, but he tries to help around the house (when he has to or if he can … ) These negative symptoms are debilitating, aren’t they?

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Thanks for this. I copied and paste this to my husband. He has a really hard time not nagging my son.,it doesn’t change anything so why nag?

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Hi @niamul21 and welcome to this forum. I saw that this was your first post. Feel free to tell us more about your own caregiving situation if you wish, read and post and find help and tips here.

You are right, every change to a bad habit takes such a long time to bring about. I mean sometimes years, as this disease is so debilitating to desire to improve. My daughter used to be so clean and neat before getting schizophrenia. Although the medicine helps her A LOT, she hasn’t cleaned her room in years, and only does her own laundry when she has little left to wear. I go in there once in awhile while she is out to empty the trash and vacuum. I can’t do it when she is in. Sigh. I wish it was different. If left alone, who knows how much trash would be in there? I feel for everyone in this situation with their loved one.

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Sounds like your talking about my 28 yr old son. His voices are quieter but he’s obsessed with not touching anything in his room. He says he sees name when he moves things. We have to take turns going in there with him every once in a while. Hygiene is horrible. We have to tell him when to take a shower and change clothes. He sleeps in his clothes and shoes! But I can deal with that. It’s the voices and anxiety that we watch.

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