Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Need Advise about pushing my son to work

My is son is isolated most of the time and plays video games ,only calls me when he needs money for food which is not much as he doesn’t eat much due to his delusions i believe . He barely works and every day i ask him if he’s picked up a job today ( food delivery by app ) I know I’ve read in books that Sz can come across as lazy and im wondering shall i stop nagging my son to work ? He says he’s tired all the time or sometimes says i don’t feel well . I just want him to have some sort of productive life but i don’t want to drive him mad about work . Not sure how to handle this anymore

I don’t think mostly solo work, or busy publicly facing work is particularly therapeutic. I wouldn’t push this sort of work. Something where he’s part of a team with a degree of structure in a relatively quiet environment with minimal distractions is better.

The thing about being sleepy is if you have nothing to wake up for or anything to look forward to, it’s easy to tell yourself it doesn’t matter and go back to bed. But if there are too many consequences to oversleeping or being late to work it can set you up for failure.

Something he’s interested in like say a retail video game shop like GameStop or other quiet retail might work. Warehouse and cleaning or light assembly or clerical work would be my first choices.

The majority of my work history was after getting ill. Most highly functioning people with SZ cite work as important to their quality of life, and recovery. I started in a small company that grew to almost 200 employees. I’m sure I couldn’t have handled going straight to that many employees. Due to sensory over stimulation it took me time to get used to people and environments, but over time I became desensitized and can function most anywhere.

I would encourage volunteer work at first if you can find something that interests him. Motivators like perks if he does work or volunteer like video game credits or downloadable content or something else he like can help. Since I worked even when I was unmedicated for a year, the main motivator I had was my mother started charging me rent which eventually lead to me moving out on my own, beyond that I ended up paying for my healthcare as well.


Thank you for your reply , i have asked him many times about other jobs which i believed interest him but he says he only wants to do food delivery . My problem is that he doesn’t do many jobs at all and i don’t understand why . Is it laziness? or the racing thoughts i know he has ? He lives with a room mate in a condo that belongs to my uncle , so he pays no rent and goes half with the bills with the room mate which I pay his bills and food as he doesn’t work much . I refuse to pay for his vape juice . Am i enabling him or is he really finding it tough to work . I believe the only reason he chose food delivery is because he doesn’t need to interact much with people . He has no insight of his illness but is med complaint . Happy to hear you are doing well : )

A certain amount of avolition (lack of drive to accomplish things) is baked-in as a negative symptom of SZ. Some drugs are said to help with this, but I haven’t noticed much personally. It’s a tendency I have to overcome. Some people say Closoril/Closapine helps with this, but I have no experience.

I can’t say there’s any one thing that causes avolition, it’s more of a syndrome with multiple influencers. Sensory overstimulation is one. Absent external motivators, I’d probably prefer a quiet simple job with minimal human interaction in a familiar environment I can control. Fewer stressors, and less need to worry about keeping up a social front if delusions or hallucinations are active. For example, I might prefer working at night, because it’s quieter and darker and there’s fewer people around. The frontal area of the brain which is suspected to relate to insight/anosognosia and also related to what’s called executive function which controls forming and making plans. Because your son has lack of insight, it may follow that it’s hard for him to organize and follow through with plans, so freelance work may be hard for him to follow through on.

All this said you say even with anosognosia he keeps up with medication, and you say he’s capable of work at times, so I’m inclined to think he isn’t motivated and there isn’t much of a consequence if he doesn’t work, so he doesn’t. My suggestion would be to pick one bill for him to pay that has some personal consequences, but not survival consequences, put it in his name and give him responsibility to pay it. My first thought would be his Internet and/or his TV bill (cable, satellite, etc). If he doesn’t have Internet or TV, staying at home is less fun and his video games might not work, but his life goes on. Cellphone or telephone bills are less appealing, because you need some means to contact him.

This way he’ll build some kind of credit in his name, get used to a minimal amount of regular work a month, and if he doesn’t like the food delivery gig, he can branch out to something else. If that goes well, then you can consider giving him more financial or personal responsibilities.

I think it’s a good thing you don’t pay for his vape habit. My brother is a cigarette smoker and an alcoholic and my parents have fully supported him for as long as I have been ill. He has bipolar disorder which predates my SZA. I have been fairly compliant with therapy, and worked most of the time, while he has not. I was charged rent while living at home and working, he was not. He has a house that my parents bought him which is mostly hoarded out. I own my own home and support myself. I was resentful of having to pay rent at the time, but my therapists and others say my mother did me a favor.


I understand what your thinking and went through the same with my stepson. At first i thought he was lazy, then I thought he was using his illness as an excuse, but i now dont think that way anymore. Everyone is different and it is very hard for them to be around normal people or follow instructions. I dont know the answer. Just like it takes special people to be a teacher, it would take special people to help someone with sz work. I would have to supervise every step of the way. And then it becomes a battle. Sometimes i felt i was working with a rebellious teenager. I feel for you and maybe others have some ideas. Take care of yourself remember you are special too.

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Very useful thoughts (as always).

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Yes very useful thoughts thank you . He is Med compliant for one reason only , he had his drivers licence taken away last year and they want a report from his psychiatrist every 6 months to let them know he is complying with him and that he can drive safely so thats like a miracle in itself . I thought exactly the same plan as you but with two bills but i think your right so i will ask him to pay the one bill that matters to him the most which is the internet . At the same time i feel guilty for the same reason that’ Stone ’ has written about her grandson but i need to try and get him to lead a semi normal life instead of being isolated .

One other thing I forgot to mention is to consider seeing if you can get him Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) or Occupational therapy. I haven’t had either as I kinda figured these out on my own, but I know a few practitioners and instructors and I think both can be of benefit to people with SZ gaining and keeping employment and/or general coping skills.

I haven’t heard OT mentioned much here, and I think the field is a bit misunderstood. Generally they evaluate people and see what deficiencies they have in coping with life or work and come up with training and/or aids to help them be more fulfilled and accomplished by finding ways to work around their deficits. People usual think of them in the context of physical disabilities, but they work with mental and emotional issues as well.


I wish !! because he has no insight he refuses any therapy . Having said that last year he was court ordered to do one year of therapy and it got to the point even his therapist said it was pointless as he didn’t want to be there .

I have had this situation with my son and I had to stop badgering him and have him realize it on his own , with counselor help , medicine … He eventually applied at an open hiring fair and got a job on his own and is still there, even though there is complaining . It has helped with his depression…

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My Son refuses therapy so i have to continue to badger him about work just to get him out the house so he sometimes does a food delivery job