Need help for my boyfriend who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia


#1

My boyfriend was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in November, and has been hospitalized twice (once in November, and then again in December). As soon as he got out both times he stopped taking his medication and does NOT THINK HE IS ILL. I have tried every single angle I can possibly think of to help him, with no luck at all. He is so paranoid all the time. He paces our home all day, stares out the door/windows, calls family/friends 100 times a day asking if they’re okay, and of course 10 different police stations asking if he’s wanted for questioning.

Recently it has gotten significantly better (for about a week), but I can see the signs are still there, and I know if he doesn’t come to terms he will be back in the hospital soon.

My question is, who do you get someone to come to terms that they have a mental illness? I have realized that using the word “Schizophrenia” shuts him out completely, so I have been saying something is wrong with your thinking, and it helps a little, but he still thinks someone is out to get him, and when he becomes catatonic it’s even worse.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I feel like I am losing this battle, and leaving him is the last thing I want to do.

-A girlfriend holding onto hope for dear life


#2

Hi Rachel,
Welcome to the forum. I’m sorry it’s under these circumstances.

Please look at these sites:
http://www.leapinstitute.org/ - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner.
http://dramador.com/ - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.
Search Xavier Amador and LEAP on youtube.com and you should find some long videos
http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/index.php - under problems you will see anosognosia
Anosognosia looks like denial but is different.
http://lesswrong.com/lw/e25/bayes_for_schizophrenics_reasoning_in_delusional/ - helped my understand delusions
http://www.nami.org/ - National Alliance on Mental Illness.
http://www.schizophrenia.ca/ - Schizophrenia Society of Canada

Due to anosognosia insight can be hard. Learn what you can about schizophrenia. Unfortunately he may go through some tough times before realizing that medications can help.


#3

His denial of his illness is part of his illness. You are not alone. Yes, it is best to address it with his" thinking"is not clear. He needs to take his meds and without his meds he will need to go back in hospital.


#4

From what I hear from psychiatrists, psychologists and researchers in this area - don’t focus on the diagnosis, focus on the symptoms and the potential relief he gets from reducing or removing these symptoms (via medications, therapy and nutritional supplements, if appropriate).

Its not important that he “accept” his diagnosis - it is important that he realize the negative impact on his life of certain symptoms - and get treated for those symptoms. I recommend you read up and learn as much as you can on the illness - here are some links with a good starting point:

First aid for Psychosis:
http://www.schizophrenia.com/sznews/archives/005561.html

Frequently Asked Questions on Psychosis / Schizophrenia:
http://schizophrenia.com/family/faqindex.htm


#5

Hi Rachael,

I’m glad you found this forum although of course I’m sorry for why you came here.

Your boyfriend sounds typical and I do commend you for sticking with him. It may be a long hard road for you.

Can I ask how old you both are? If this is a sudden onset and he is young, there is a lot of hope for him.

I agree totally with Barbie - try to find and read Xavier Amador’s book “I am not sick, I don’t need help”. You are right in not mentioning the word Schizophrenia when you are talking with him. Be non confrontational with him, and do not argue or defend yourself. And if he should get argumentative or even accusatory towards you just know that it is the disease and not him talking.

At the same time he really does need help and he probably needs medication as well. It is normal for him to resist this but in time and by stages he will come to realize it. In the meantime it will be hard on you.

Does he smoke pot or drink? Usually these things make the symptoms worse, unfortunately.

My best to you in this and keep coming to this forum.


#6

Firstly, thank you to everyone ( @BarbieBF @Morgan and everyone else - can only link 2 of you ) for responding!! 3 months ago I didn’t know a whole lot about Schizophrenia, and had no idea how to even spell it. Now, my life consists of nothing but educating myself on the illness and how to get him to get into some kind of treatment (therapy, group, etc) and get him to take his medication. We are both 28 years old, and he has had no history or anything like this ever happening, and I think that is making it much harder.

When the signs first started (he started out by hearing me talk when I was sleeping - he would think I was on the phone talking to someone), I got really upset because I thought he was purposely trying to fight with me! So I fear I made this situation worse, by not seeing something was wrong, and that hurts me a lot. I put more stress on him than I should have been.

I just need him to try and take medication, but he won’t even see a psychiatrist because he doesn’t think anything is wrong. It may also stem from the first time he was hospitalized he went into see a psychiatrist and was freaking out they called his mother and she petitioned to send him to a psychiatric hospital (where he spent a week). And he firmly believes they did something to him while he was there.

It hurts so bad, because he is this person who I don’t know - and I get glimpses of how he used to be and it keeps me holding on. For awhile I didn’t see the old him for so long, but something happened this past week and he has been that guy I first met - and although it’s wonderful, I know he didn’t just cure himself, so I am trying so hard to try and get him help while he’s not having a psychotic break hoping that will make him more open to taking medication and talking with someone.

Again, thank you for all your words of encouragement (and links to some great information). I have felt so alone in this.


#7

I know you already have a lot of reading to do…

I wish I could give you some sound tips on being medication compliant. Ironically with my son he seems to be more compliant the less I push it. I stopped arguing with him about it. Instead point out other things like irritability or not sleeping etc. In the end he has to learn for himself that he needs them. Currently he is mostly med-compliant but that took 6 hospitalizations in 3 years. You are not alone anymore :heart: