Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Negative Symptoms Again

Does anyone have recommendations for what to do/how to handle negative symptoms? My son has been prescribed Abilify 2.5mg to start but won’t take meds. He has been hospitalized once this past May. No voices, hallucinations etc. He has a lot of arm and leg movements like Tai Chi…I have read Amador’s book but my son accepts his symptoms, they dont’ bother him. He doesn’t see any friends at all. Fortunately, we have a wonderful relationship and I want to hold on to that!!!

I hate my negative symptoms so much more then my positive. I live in fear of relapsing into that deep of apathy, lethargy, poverty of emotion, speech, life. I can it my wax build-up.

I unfortunately had to get jump started out of my negative symptom by a med change. I was given Latuda at 40 mg and the Seroquel was cut back to 50 mg. Since Latuda also has some anti-depressant qualities, it just kick started the upward spiral. I was also switched from the Zoloft to Xanax and loosing a bit of weight also helped knock down the depression and apathy and helped build the confidence.

That got enough of a glimmer in me that I was more receptive to therapy. My parents also put me in CBT and other therapy. It took a long time to baby step out of that wax skin. But I finally got there.

Good luck. I can handle my few voices and my few hallucinations far better then I can handle that negative slide.

have you ever tried Abilify? I know meds react differently with each person but just wondering…and did you ever suffer from lack of insight?

I’ve never been on Abilify. I have no idea how that would work for me. I am feeling great these days, I have a job I love, I live in my own apartment with my kid sister as she starts college. I’m also starting college now.

My final break was when I was 17 but I was crumbling for years and years before hand. I had NO insight. It was all them, not me. I was fine. But now, after all this, I’m thinking I’m in remission. I really am too afraid to mess with the meds. I got switched to Geodon about two months ago, and after one week of no Seroquel or Latuda I had nearly ended up back in hospital in a psychotic episode. My sis talked me down and really helped me not end up in hospital again.

My meds are back to what I had before and I really don’t have the courage to try anything new right now.

That’s exciting to start college. I’m new to all this. You do have courage and lots of it. Good luck. Thanks for sharing.

Negative symptoms are hard. I had to adjust my expectations for one. I don’t expect him to shower a lot etc. Since we do have a good relationship I try my best to build from that. My son doesn’t like to isolate so that makes it easier. If there is somewhere that he wants to go then it’s shower first. He has to brush his teeth before he can go out with me. Sometimes I will make him coffee etc but if it starts to become routine then I tell him no that he can do it for himself. I showed him how to make perked coffee and he does it on his own now. I cook dinner but the rest of the day he can make things for himself. I will help him do his laundry. He has to start and then I can help fold or put away. I ask him to help me make his bed if he’s around when I’m doing it. For the most part I find asking instead of demanding makes a big difference. I may have to ask multiple times but staying calm and asking seems to help. Do things with him if you can. In the beginning it was really hard as he took anything I said about personal hygiene as an insult and put down. So I try to make these things obvious to him when I do them. Like talking to him about how much whiter my teeth are because I brush more. He has asked me: Do you wash your hands before going out? Yes I do because your hands touch everything. I try to make these things part of the routine of going out. Instead of saying: your shirt is dirty. I will ask: Is that a clean shirt? When he does shower and get dressed I comment on how nice he looks. When he picks up after himself I tell him thank you. He thanks me when I tidy up his room. It takes time to build on these good behaviors while trying not to react too negatively to the negative behavior. I looked into Oppositional Defiant Disorder and how to discipline ADHD. I found some of the approaches helped me a lot.

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Thanks. We use a lot of humor too…he is very funny and likes to laugh. Is your son on meds? Are there any that help with negative symptoms?

There are no FDA approved treatments for negative symptoms. I take Sarcosine, NAC, L-methylfolate and bupropion for my negative symptoms, I’m doing much better than I did without them. Sarcosine and NAC don’t work for everybody and L-methylfolate is used when you have a folate deficiency, which a lot of schizophrenics have. Bupropion helps me tremendously with motivation.

Humor is great. Once my son told me that he would help with the hard cleaning if I asked him to. Then he laughed that he would probably regret saying that. He joked about how he didn’t know how to make a bed the first time we did it together. Keeping these conversations in a light tone seems to help a lot.

My son has been on lots of medications. He was diagnosed in 2011. Chronic marijuana addiction complicated things. Currently he is stable on meds although we are going through a bit of a hiccup right now. As long as he isn’t drinking or using too much then his positive symptoms are minimal. There isn’t a lot of help for negative symptoms yet. I try to get my son to take NAC, Omega 3 and other supplements as I do believe they can help but so far he is resistant. Will humor me on taking a multi-vitamin.

I try my best to discuss medications in terms of anxiety or attitude and sleep as those are things my son can identify with. That we are trying to regulate neurotransmitters not change his beliefs or fix him.

my son has that Negative symptoms and its hard because he appears fine but his mind is not, He is very anti social and spend much of his time alone and it just make me sad ,Because he says he is very lonely

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My hb and I have this conversation a lot. He is lonely and says he doesn’t have friends but the sz has made him isolate himself from people that care about him and people he liked. It’s very frustrating and sad to me because I can only help so much. It has been a definite challenge being in a marriage with a mental illness to contend with. I just keep trying and asking for help so I can support him as much as possible, but I also do things for myself so I don’t get too low. Take care of yourself and I hope for only good things for you and your son. :blush:


I know just what you mean joelsgirlkathy! My son suffers with negative symptoms also and it is very sad. I wish I could help him. He is on Rexulti and buproprion but it doesn’t seem to help him get “unstuck”. It’s like he’s in purgatory_