Need help for a friend with schizophrenia

Hi I am new here. A long time friend of mine has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and has been struggling with it for years, but he does not acknowledge he has the condition. It isn’t denial but a lack of insight into his condition. He has delusionals and hallucinations that others can hear his thoughts, or voices in his head, and delusions about government putting microchips in his head etc. To him, these are all real. He also describes in his own words that his “brain is damaged”, which I assume is his way of describing the cognitive problems associated with schizophrenia. We have spoke to each other on and off again as friend since 2001, and he really sees me as one of only two people in his life that he trusts, and no one else. It wasn’t until earlier this year that he finally went on medication (antipsychotics and others) which his doctor must have some how convinced him to take.

He was receiving the injections of an antipsychotic on a regular basis and was due to have another injection today, but he got in an altercation at his house with his family and ended up in the psych ward, and is now refusing to take his medications. He spoke with me earlier tonight, really distraught that he constantly gets locked up. I really care about him and I don’t know how to convince him to take his medications. He had been complaining about how he didnt feel himself on them, and that they were making him really tired, and gaining weight, which his doctor was ignoring. He was though for the first time in years calm and the delusions and hallucincations were gone, though they had started to return a week ago, I guess as the last antipsychotic injection was wearing off.

I feel bad for even posting this when he does not know, but I am really worried about him. I know that he trusts me and holds me in high regard, I just don’t really know how to approach him about his meds and his schizophrenia. Does anyone have any advice on how I can use my position of trust to get through to him? I really don’t want to see him end up in jail or prison again =(

be honest with him and supportive…
just say, " hey you were doing great on your meds…maybe go back on them for a while "
that way he does not ’ feel ’ it will be forever.
just a thought :heart:
take care :alien:

I was considering using that route, as he has court coming up in a couple months for previous incidents relating to his schizophrenia. To maybe convince him to take them so that they won’t lock him up again. I’ll try and mention the positive changes I have seen in him while he has been on meds, and help him come up with ideas to deal with that which he seems to hate with being on them, but that’s probably going to be difficult when he keeps telling me that “he doesn’t feel like himself on the meds”. It bothers me that his doctor did not address his concerns, or he might have got him to stay on the meds.

Do those who have schizophrenia, ever acquire insight into their condition if they are on antipsychotics and their condition is being treated properly? Maybe that would be a better time to get through to him and convince him to continue his medications long term. I really do not want to lie or deceive him in anyway or risk breaking the trust he has in me, or he may never go back on them.

Validating his feelings will probably help. It can be a lengthy process to go through trying to reason with one’s self to the point of taking medication, and naturally the mental illness doesn’t make it any easier. But having everyone ignore and invalidate your legitimate emotional responses to things can make you get seriously stuck, as well as not trust anyone or respect anyone’s opinions. The side effects of medications seriously suck. Imagine if you found out tomorrow that for the rest of your life, you would have to take a medication that will make you gain 100 pounds, make you shake sometimes, make you feel stupid and numb. How excited would you be for that? Now what if whenever you tried to express feeling sad, angry or anxious about it, people just tried to shut you up or downplay your emotions? Everyone would look like crazy assholes. So validate his feelings. It can be as simple as, “Yeah I know it really sucks, I can’t even imagine having to make such a crappy choice between psychosis or those meds.” This points out that it’s HIS choice, AND that it sucks. When people feel like they are in control, they don’t have to fight as hard to prove it.

Accepting I had schizophrenia took me a few years. I’m sure your friend has trouble accepting he has schizophrenia as well as being medication compliant. It is tough, but maybe it would do him good to research schizophrenia and the symptoms it causes. Hallucinations and delusions seem so real it becomes tough to differentiate between what is and what is not. What helped me is stop to think, “There are billions of people in the world, why would I be surveilled?” I mean a CIA implant chip is a common delusion, sure sometime in the 90’s children received microchips like lost dogs but what makes me so special that I’d be under constant watch? That kind of mentality helped me get over the paranoid thoughts.

I have been validating his feelings, and I suppose that is why he trusts me. I don’t think we are at the point where its a choice between meds and psychosis because he doesn’t acknowledge he has schizophrenia yet.

That was one route I was considering. His delusions and hallucinations are really stereotypical so it may make it easier if he sees it for himself from third parties. I will tell him to not take my word for it, but see for himself. The lists of what are the most common delusions/hallunciations I think would include what he has. Also I’ve tried explaining to him by asking him if any of the technology is ever novel, something radically new from anything he has ever heard of before. He will answer and has answered no, because schizophrenia must take its ideas from what already exists in his mind and his own past experiences in life in which to form delusions.

Thanks everyone for your advice

Then you’re doing good and doing the best you can. You don’t have any legal authority to force him to take his medications. There is nothing you can do in that regard. I know that sucks, but there is no point wearing yourself down trying to control a situation that you can’t.

Keep doing what youre already doing. He may have to go to mental Health Court ( if thats in your state) if he gets in any more altercations.
It`s better then regular court. The judge will court order him to attend meetings and keep med appoinments-then show up in court once a month.
Stay a friend-you never know when there will be a breakthrough