Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Mom can’t admit she has a problem

Hi - I am new here and new to caring for someone with a psychiatric disorder. A few months ago, my mom started developing psychotic symptoms which worsened with time until she became so mentally ill she was hospitalized and then 302ed and spent 3 weeks in a psychiatric hospital. They discharged her on 10mg of zyprexa at bedtime and it was working to control the paranoid thoughts she was having. Well of course since there is nothing wrong with her, she has weaned herself off of it and is ramping right back up to full psychosis again. Every thing I’ve read says you don’t argue or challenge these people but how can you convince someone to take their meds and accept a diagnosis???

Watch this video, search the forum for LEAP, read up and post any questions you have about it.

I know exactly how you feel. I have the same problem with my wife. Unfortunately I’m three years down the line and she still refuses to accept she has a problem, even though she has been in trouble three times with the police due to her condition.
It was ok for a while when she was on her medication but she has now stopped, like your mum, and refuses to go back on them.
I can’t see any hope of progress until there is an acceptance she is sick

Hey monkey and rxholly. Welcome here both…
The link MB (maggotbrain) posted is essential and one of our go-to’s to help others understand about something clinically termed ‘anosagnosia’. It seems that’s what you’re both talking about. And it’s way common with sz diagnosed. Often we will refer to it as ‘having Insight’ or ‘lack of Insight’. Highly suggest watching the vid and following up perhaps with Dr. Amador’s (guy in vid) book called “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help”.
As MB said, post any questions. Glad to have you!

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Yes, this video clip was very helpful and I bought his book as well. This is just a whole new world for me.

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Thanks for the advice. Found the video interesting, although it would have been nice if he explained how he actually managed to get his brother to voluntarily agree to treatment. Will try to follow the advice, although I fear too much damage has already been done to our relationship.

Per the how, his book and training from the LEAP institute can help. These are techniques, not a formula or an exact prescriptive method, so even if he spelled it out step by step it would only be applicable to his relationship. As he mentions in the presentation research shows that you can apologize for mistakes made in the pursuit of caregiving.

The key take-aways to me are to stop trying to get the SMI to ‘accept’ their illnesses which can be fruitless and unhelpful in face of anasognosia, and concentrate on their experience and how sufferers feel.

My experience from my formerly florid SZA is that it is lonely, frustrating and alienating and caregivers arguing and attempting to gaslight the experience and feelings breeds anger and frustration. But when you find someone you trust who starts listening and acknowledging the experience and feelings, the anger and frustration tends to melt over time. A reality of the SMI is the world outside their mind is small and caregivers have great control over improving it, and that can be a useful advantage in negotiations toward treatment.


Thanks for the advice, I will try that approach and see where it gets me