Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Newbie - 19 year old son diagnosed a year ago



My 19 year old son was diagnosed 1 year ago and had been on 4 different types of medications. Unfortunately he does not believe he has a mental illness as he really thinks we, his parents are chirping him so calling him names and not approving of his life! He works part-time, dropped out of high school and smokes weed on regular basis! His episodes are getting worse every weekend. He just gets angry and tries to start an argument and slams doors all over the house! It’s just so difficult especially as we have a 15 year old son in the house as well! How do we get him to accept his diagnosis and see a psychiatrist to talk? Help?


Take him to the hospital and tell them that he is a danger to himself. They will then send him to a psychiatric ward where they will try different medications. I hope they find something that works for him.


Hello MamaD2,

You are among peers. Many people with sz diagnoses do not believe in the diagnosis or the need for treatment. On this subject, there is a book by Xavier Amadour called “I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help” that is frequently recommended, along with his website and videos on youtube.

Also, if you live in the USA, you might join a NAMI family support group or take a free class:

My advice is to take care of yourself and your younger son. Figure out your own priorities and work on them one at a time along with the long term goal of helping your older son in any way possible.

Lots of people are in your family’s situation. Families make crisis plans. People with these illnesses sometimes have to be hospitalized if they are not safe. Where we live there is no way to get psychiatric treatment for someone who does not seek it on his own unless they meet legal criteria for involuntary hospitalization.

I hope for the best for you and your family.


You could go the therapy route as well?

As smoking weed can trigger psychotic episodes, so you might want to get him to talk to a drugs councillor!


Hi, I can relate a lot to your situation. My 18 year old was diagnosed about a year and a half ago with Schizoaffective disorder and he has struggled with the symptoms and the insight to know he is sick and needs treatment-meds. I found the book someone mentioned above by Dr Amador very helpful as well. My son also smokes pot sometimes and it defiantly makes his symptoms worse. I had to have him taken to the hospital when had he stopped taking his meds and became a danger, it was terribly difficult to do but it got him the help he needed to get more stable. Does your son have a psychiatrist that he is willing to go see? My sons dr played a role in getting him hospitalized when he needed it. Stay strong, sometimes our loved ones need more help than what we can give them to deal with this illness. And take care of you and the rest of your family too, this is very stressful and we can’t help anyone if we don’t take care of ourselves too. Good thoughts and prayers : )


I am sorry to hear of your son. You’re not alone. My son, now twenty, has been hospitalized three times, refuses medication - trust me we’ve tried. Trying to get him to comply with little or no insight just made everything worse, and would actually trigger psychotic episodes. He felt boxed in with the felling that everyone was against him. I am the only one willing to help him, so in order to help him, I had to do some letting go. He does smoke pot, I don’t want him to, but threats don’t work, and in all actuality, I’ve seen him start to relax, help with small chores around the house ( and I do mean small), and those of us who see him everyday can actually understand what he is saying - granted his conversations usually focus on three areas of his life, but he can carry on a very decent dialogue. I am waiting…waiting for him to mature a tad and keep him safe in the meantime. For now this is working

Take care of yourself. It is so very important.



See the whole propagandist spiel below, but especially item 7.

  1. Get a copy of these books, read them and have your family read them, as well. (Torrey can be a bit totalistic and unwilling to see exceptions to his “rules” at times, but most of his book is really worth the effort to plough through.)

  2. Get properly diagnosed by a board-certified psychopharmacologist who specializes in the psychotic disorders. One can find them at… and

  3. Work with that “psychiatrist” (or “p-doc”) to develop a medication formula that stabilizes their symptoms sufficiently so that they can tackle the psychotherapy that will disentangle their thinking.

  4. The best of the psychotherapies for that currently include…
    DBT –
    MBSR –
    MBCT -
    ACT –
    10 StEP –

  5. the even newer somatic psychotherapies like…
    MBBT –
    SEPT –
    SMPT –

  6. or standard CBTs, like…
    REBT –
    Schematherapy –
    Learned Optimism –
    Standard CBT – & scroll down

  7. If you/she/he needs a professional intervention to get through treatment resistance, tell me where you live, and I will get back to you with leads to those services.

  8. If you or your sz patient suddenly becomes manic:

  9. Look into the RAISE Project at

  10. Look for mental illness clubhouses in your area (which can be hugely helpful… but may also pose risks). Dig through the many articles at to locate and investigate them.


Thanks for all your insight as my husband and I just feel alone in this struggle! We love our son and want to help him but it’s hard when he is always accusing us of saying bad things about him! We live in Canada so we are trying to get him in a program called First Start! Thank you again for your help as its a daily struggle!

What do you do about friendship as it seems to be a big issue with my son! They don’t call or text him on weekends so it triggers his outbreaks! He feels like they use him for his house on weekdays but no one calls or texts on weekends! I tell him to get new friends but not so easy!

It’s so great to share with others in this struggle!


Thanks for the links! I will check it out as we need to be informed. We react as if he’s a normal young adult but he has an illness which is hard to understans! Thanks again!


Thanks! I really appreciated hearing that I’m not alone in this struggle! He’s my first born and I love him so much but it’s hard to deal wit the accusations without taking it personally! I will try and take care of myself and my husband and younger son through this process!


I will check out the link and video for sure! I just want to help him but it’s hard as he really believes that we are talking badly about him!


We have tried therapy but he will back out from going every time an appt is made! How can you force a 6’3 man to go anywhere he does not want to go and refuses to accept he is sick! Just disheartening! Glad to hear we are not alone in struggle! Thanks!


I will check out the book you suggested but I am relieved to hear were not alone! It’s just so hard to see your child go through this type of illness as it seems that he is normal on the outside but then an outbreak or episode happens and it’s back to chaos!


I think it’s good to treat your son normally. We have found that we cannot force any treatment. As you know, it’s physically impossible and morally confusing.

Know your local crisis team; call and tell them about your family’s situation. They will help you get your son to safety (involuntary hospitalization) if needed.

I hope Canada has better treatment than the US. First Start teams most likely have great social workers. Contact them and go for an appointment on your own to find out what you can do to get your son into treatment. Ask them in particular for communication strategies and resources to learn how to live with someone who has untreated psychosis.

You really are not alone. There might even be a family support group you can attend.


MamaD2: Give your son the link to this forum. I denied that I had SZ for close to 30 years!! It was only when I completely decompensated and then found this forum, that I started to really think that maybe everyone was right. Here, I found people who were just like me. So much of what they described was like my life that eventually I had to capitulate and concede that yeah, I have SZ, And when I owned up to that fact, I began to regain some semblance of control over my life and my symptoms. Good luck to you.


Your son lacks “insight”. Insight is knowing you are mentally ill, not denying it. My daughter was diagnosed in her late adolescence with something like SZ although I never remembered to find out what the label was. Marijuana is a trigger for SZ. A certain number of people with SZ lack insight. This is documented. One of the books notmoses suggested- the one by E Fuller Torrey-is a good book to read. You should deal with your own feelings, instead of trying to control the situation with your son. You might not like this, but in the long run, you will be happier. This is a difficult situation. You might have to act against him and he is not going to like it.


Really work to get him off the weed / cannabis. Here is some info on why:








Update; the local mental health treatment centre has called him for an assessment and he has agreed to go see the Psychotherapist! This is a 3 year program that helps youth in the first steps of Psychosis so we are optimistic that they will finally help him with his illness as well as his addiction! It took 3 months to get him finally assessed but we’re optimistic finally! Thanks for your support!


Awesome news! My son is in a similar program for first episode psychosis. He is doing really well right now and I am beyond grateful! My son has only 5 months of being unwell. It has been just a few weeks that he’s been in treatment. I am happy for the good days!