Hello all you warriors. My son who is on Clozaril 600mg daily, has had a chronic addiction to marijuana since the age of 15-16. I believe it played a large part in triggering his sz since it is no where in my family or in his Fathers. I’m sure this has been discussed before but I am relatively new to this forum and am not even 100% sure what I am asking all of you. I am struggling with not only this illness on a daily basis but also with the very real fear that my son will end up with lung cancer as he smokes a lot of pot daily, on top of cigarettes. He coughs uncontrollably sometimes and the most disgusting stuff comes out of his lungs. I suppose what I am looking for is to hear that I am not alone in dealing with this. To hear others experiences and any tips I might pick up here. I have tried everything at the risk of pushing him away, which I refuse to do. I would give anything for him to stop but its not in my hands and as any support I have had has dwindled over the past few years I need to talk about this to all of you. The couple of people I could talk to have literally no understanding of this disease or any insight in how addiction mixed with sz is unique. All they have done is constantly reminded me that “I better do something about this before he is dead”. Real helpful! Thanks for listening.
I recently bought some little filters called Tar Stoppers from the cigarette store (about $2.99 for a pack of 30 - and they work on 4 to 5 cigarettes, plus I read you can clean them out.)
The filter out a lot of the tar & some of the nicotine. My son will use them - sometimes.
But, you can actually see the tar & gunk in them after just one cigarette - it’s pretty amazing. It’s thick, resiny stuff.
If he will use them, it would probably help the coughing.
If you can’t get him to stop the pot, maybe get him something safer to smoke with like a vaporizer so the smoke isn’t going in his lungs.
Same with the cigarettes. I don’t think e-cigs are safe, but at least you’re not getting the tar in your lungs.
I know the best thing is for him to stop, but that’s not very realistic either. We just have to do what we can to mitigate the damages.
Also - I read that the tar is what makes them metabolize the Clozaril faster - not the nicotine. And even in these early stages, I’m seeing the drug be more effective on my son if I can get him to use the e-cig & the filters - even if he has a few without the filters.
They even have a story online about someone on levels like your son who went into the hospital. They gave him a nicotine patch, but the Clozaril still went to toxic levels because he wasn’t breathing in the tar.
If you get him to drop any of the smoking - or you get him to smoke in a cleaner method - keep an eye on the Clozaril too.
I will, and thank you for the advice. I’m not sure if they have the filters here for the cigarettes but I am going to look. I did buy him the whole set up for vaping (to replace the cigarettes) and he used it non stop for almost a month, then stopped. The vaporizer for the pot is something I discussed with him, though I know there are some studies done about how it affects the brain doing it that way, something about it crossing the brain barrier faster. My son told me he would think about it but, I was to let him know before I went out and bought it. Translated…“I like doing it with mycurrent method but I will tell you I will consider it to make you happy”. When we discuss the possibility of him quitting, I am shut down so fast it makes my head spin. And then he closes off for a while. So difficult figuring out the pro’s and con’s of everything but worth the trouble if it will extend his life somewhat. I was really hoping that as the meds stabilized him that he would cut down on all of this on his own.
I get the same pushback from my son, but I tend to be able to guilt him into doing some things.
And, others, we either compromise, or I use his strategy. Our current compromise is that he can use his e-cigs & I’ll get him a pack of cigarettes every other day
He agrees, then quietly does what he wants. And, then, I quietly work against him as much as I can.
Our current compromise is that he can use his e-cigs & I’ll get him a pack of cigarettes every other day and he’ll use the filters on at least some of the cigarettes. We’ll see how that goes.
It’s like a constant chess match. He complains that I’m micro-managing him, which I am, and I tell him I love him & I’m trying to save his life. I don’t smoke, but when I ask him to give up something, I always try to give up something equally hard too. This time, it’s soft drinks since I don’t drink coffee.
Greetings fellow warrior. Don’t you wish the helpful advice squad, who have no comprehension of scz, could come up with something more specific than “you’d better do something before he is dead”? Not that any of us will be able to do any better than them - at least we understand how little power you have in this situation.
My son smoked so much marijuana self medicating in the early years of his illness, that there were huge spaces, where he used to have gums, between his bottom front teeth. I did get him to go to a dentist 2 years ago, couldn’t get him to go back, I have no idea if the gums have recovered or not.
My son did stop smoking cigarettes after his nephrologist lectured him. Why that worked, I have no idea. We used his love of marijuana to get him diagnosed. He had to see a psychiatrist for one year in order for us to pay for him to go to Colorado for a “vacation”. Marijuana is not legal in our state.
slw’s suggestion is good, at least it would lessen the damage.
It’s amazing how creative we get isn’t it? I have figured out so many tricks to change his negative symptoms, when appropriate…I know when to push him about behaviors and when not to. I have become an expert on him as I’m sure we all have on our loved ones. He has just put his foot down as far as his “self medicating” goes, and some other minor things. He will not take his hoodie off when we leave the house. The other day it was burning hot outside but when we went to the gym, on went the hoodie. Hood up and all. Pretty sure it’s because of the scars all over his arms. Cutting was drastic when in full psychosis so his right arm is one big series of hundreds of scars. The 10 or so on his throat have healed well, but the ones on his legs are massive. It’s no wonder he doesn’t want to show that off.
Thank you for @hope for understanding. I know that what they say is foolish and uninformed and I try to shake it off…but it sits there and eats at me. I have given up everything for my son…every waking thought is about him and how I can do something different or better or just plain worrying. I am pretty well alone dealing with all of this and the comments hurt when the truth is that I would die for him if it would give him a “normal” life. The life he lost. These people mean well but are at a huge distance from all of this, have not even seen him since all of this happened. But seem to be experts on how I should be handling this differently. I am a good Mom and I have done my best to do everything I possibly could to help my son.
My son loves a hoodie too, and it’s not about scars.
It helps him hide - he thinks he’s ugly most days, and he thinks everyone’s looking at him & judging him every day.
At the point he is now, there’s no way I could get him into a gym. Right now, just riding in the car & going in for appointments is the best he can do.
It will come. I have no idea what I would do without him being on Clozaril. It has changed our lives. After a year of being on it, I feel like I have my son back to some extent. He has a personality again. He jokes, and we laugh together, he recognizes my feelings and wants to help fix them. A huge difference from a year ago where he was cutting himself daily, screaming at voices for hours on end. Didn’t even seem to know I existed at times, pacing like he was trying to wear out my floors, tearing apart my house daily and sitting in his room almost 24/7 with minimal sleep. Now, he goes to a gym daily with me too which I know is helping him even it is slowly killing me
Thanks Leiann - I’m going to hold onto everyone’s stories as we make it through this next year.
He’s not as bad as you say your son was a year ago. I think he would have been, but the Invega did help some.
Right now, he’s usually lost in delusions he finds very pleasant when he’s in his safe zone at home. Delusions where he knows famous people, they like & respect him, and he has special powers that no one else has.
Once outside his safe zone, it really varies on how he does. Yesterday, he was fine when he went to get his blood work done, but he was the only person in there. On Monday, he practically had a meltdown in his psychiatrist’s office. I don’t know if it’s the building or the doctor that triggers him, but I’m hoping he settles down with her soon if the Clozaril works for him. And, now that I have his smoking a little more controlled, it does seem to be working.
Or course, saying anything is working seems to jinx things - so, I should knock on some wood & say I hate it instead.
I only managed to get my son clean off Marijuana and other drugs by controlling all of his money all of the time and I got him down from 3 packs of cigarettes a day to a little less than a pack. Yes he hated that and he argued with me in the beginning but I just kept at it. He’s been sober for almost 7 years now. He just had a check up and other than having to lose weight and lower his cholesterol…he is healthy otherwise. He informs me regularly that if Marijuana is legalized in our state he will find a way to get it. I want to believe that is the addict talking because unless they give it away free he doesn’t have that kind of money. He rarely has more than 20 dollars on a prepaid card on him at anytime.
I quit smoking with the nicotine replacement products; nicotine patch, gum, losages, You can buy generic ones at Walmart and the like for cheap,
It worked for my sz husband, too. You might give that a try.
Unfortunately my son doesn’t want to quit…at all. He hated the patches when he was hospitalized. Great options is if you want to quit but don’t see him getting there anytime soon
You give it everything you have @slw. Can hardly wait to hear how well he is doing a year from now. Maybe sooner
I really identify with how it eats at us. We are so sure we can solve the puzzle that scz presents to us as parents of a sufferer. We do know that we have to not give up if we can keep trying. No one really knows the right answer - there isn’t just one right answer. We are all trying hard to figure out which magic bean or phrase will do the trick for our child.
My anger finally found a release recently when my son called my sister for help. She always believes she knows better than everyone else about everything. One of those people who know it all, just ask them. She totally blew it in the conversation with my son despite my giving her directions before the talk. She had to say exactly the wrong thing. My anger released on her and it felt great. Finally a purpose for my useless know it all sister.
Keep after him about the smoking. For what it’s worth, the gum and losages deliver a quicker dose of nicotine (or whatever drug it contains), satisfying the craving to smoke. Bribe him to try it😎 for a week.
I won’t give up I’ve made it this far!
LOL! I’m glad she has made herself useful We all need one of those! Can I borrow her
Lol - Anytime, Lelann, ANYTIME
I am very choosey WHO I talk to about my son’s illness. The only people I share with are people who I know will be supportive. If I think someone will be but then I start to talk about it and they respond poorly I just drop the subject. There are just a few friends who know everything and they are wonderful and I feel loved and supported. Thank God for this and for them.
I think this is part of WHY the MI stigma is carried on by us caregivers. We know it isn’t even worth it to talk to some people about it because they don’t get it. So we just avoid the subject. It’s easier.
I am only beginning this journey but I’m already discovering who my friends really are!