Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Loved one struggling with extreme anxiety

#1

Hi all!
It’s my turn to reach out for advice.

My brother has Schizo-effective disorder and suffers from extreme anxiety.
He has multiple episodes that we assume are panic attacks daily.
He can’t sleep for more than two or three hours before he wakes up with his heart pounding, adrenaline running and his mind racing.
He can’t handle even minor annoyance or frustration before his anxiety throws him into a panic that feels like anger and desperation all at once.
He feels like his doctors and therapists don’t take this issue seriously enough and he needs better support before he ends up in a facility or jail from losing control.
He says his mind is chaotic often, but he trys to appear calm and collected.

This has been an ongoing struggle for him for years. But he always believed he would get the help he needs eventually. He is now worried the medical community is too distracted or uncaring to help him. He is worried things won’t change for the better.

Has anyone helped a loved one deal with this extreme level of anxiety?
Has anyone had success in managing it?
Are there doctors or institutions that can address anxiety better than ones who specialize in Sz/SzA?

#2

Yes.
I have heard the same about distraction and indifference. PDoc just wants to “write scripts and change meds and dosage.” At one point he asked for anti anxiety med and was refused as it was “too addicting” and he already over drank. The therapist was a bit more helpful until he managed to offend him by asking “what does it matter”.

Long story short his anxiety was never really addressed in a way that made him feel better and he now distrusts the medical community.

I am not a doctor but I think unless the underlying fear with sz is dealt with the anxiety is always going to make the sz worse. A vicious circle. In fact I believe that is what escalated this winter and he now sits in jail for a misdemeanor incurred while his delusion of oppression built up.
Wish I had an answer.

#3

Thanks for your response.
I agree that failing to treat anxiety is a frustrating difficulty all too often.
I could understand your husband’s doctor being hesitant to prescribe certain drugs due to drinking, but it’s hard to believe that a doctor would respond with something like, “What does it matter?”

There are a lot of doctors who seem to believe their patients description of their issues isn’t very important. More who are too quick to dismiss consistent problems like anxiety.
I could understand if it were born of futility of making recommendations and the patient disregarding them. But that isn’t always the case.

All we can do is expect better from our doctors.
Attitude, bedside manner and an invested interest in taking all of a patient’s concerns seriously is pretty rare in the medical community. But we should expect it and accept no less.

We might accept that kind of behavior from a car mechanic, but look where their industry’s reputation is due to that kind of nonchalance on their part and acceptance on their customer’s part!

#4

Update on this:

I spoke with my DX’d brother a few times since I posted this. It turns out he had forgotten to take his anxiety medication. In his words, for about a month. Go figure!
I had thought that someone was helping to administer his medication, but that apparently isn’t the case right now. I have to admit that I’m disappointed with the level of attentive care he is getting right now.

I’ll be posting a separate thread about treatment plans. I think there is a lot of misunderstanding happening both on my brother’s, my family’s and his doctor’s parts… All at the same time.

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