My son has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He has always had voices but in the past couple years the voices have turned negative. He has become suicidal and has huge mood swings. He tells us that the voices tell him to hurt himself because he isn’t worth it. We try to point out that he is and that we love him but this doesn’t seem to help. We’ve tried many medications and because he is an adolescent we are at our last med. Tonight was one of the worst nights and I don’t know what more to do for him. How do I calm him and help him through difficult days like this? He screams out that he doesn’t want to listen and wants me to take the voices away but I haven’t been able to. He has been in and out of short term residential treatment with the longest going for over 2 months. They send him home because he doesn’t act aggressive enough during his stays but none want to help with his symptoms or difficult days. Please help. Any advice on how to help my son would be greatly appreciated!
Things will improve. These episodes come in stages. I have schizophrenia myself. Some days I can be down with it, and others fine. If your son is getting overly anxious, get him to take some meds. If he is suicidal, abilify might help as it contains an anti depressant mixed with an anti psychotic.
Also, there is clozapine, which is a anti psychotic which has dangerous side effects. Psychiatrists only prescribe it after two other anti psychotics have failed. Clozapine has dangerous side effects but some people seem to think its effective. Ask your psychiatrist about it.
You sound like a very caring parent. This will help a lot in helping your son get better. Its just that stress and arguing can set things off. As regards residential treatment homes, there are group homes, but I don’t know what age your son is. But in my opinion, I think the home is the best environment for recovery.
Keep up posting here on the forums. We’re here to support you. And by the way, if you want to ask schizophrenics directly a question, you should post in the Diagnosed section as you will get more responses there as a lot of schizophrenics wont post in the Family section. Just a tip!
Hello Loving Mom,
You mentioned that your son is an adolescent – how old is he? I know that doctors are very cautious in prescribing medication to teenagers. Also, does your son do drugs like cannabis, cocaine, meth, etc. It’s not uncommon for our children to abuse drugs because they feel horrible and self medicate. My own daughter was abusing drugs and I didn’t realize the extent of the drug abuse. I thought at first it was just weed but she was into other drugs as well. I know as parents we don’t want to think our children may be abusing drugs.
I have learned through my contact with NAMI that meth can make someone chronically psychotic. Check his room for drug abuse. Our kids don’t always tell us the truth. And if our kids tell us that they only tried it once then they probably have used more than once or twice or even ten times. When it comes to drug abuse our kids don’t want to disappoint us or make us angry. Drug abuse can mimic schizophrenia or make it much worse.
Welcome to the forum Loving_mom.
Do you mind if I ask how old your son is and what medications he has been on?
I have only gone through one break with my son and I know I don’t want to go through another one. Not knowing what to do or how to act is so hard. Perhaps you may find some coping tips here:
Unfortunately street drug use can be a big problem when it comes to coping with symptoms. Just in case this link has some information on it.
Some of these links may also help. Using LEAP can help a lot with changing how we communicate.
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
If he is not in any type of early intervention program then these may help. I find the programs can offer a lot of support not just for him but you as well plus they should know of other resources available.
Psychiatric Treatment Centers affiliated with Medical Schools in the USA
This link may help you find a psychiatrist in your area
My Son was diagnosed at 17 with Schizophrenia. My heart goes out to you and understands what you are going through… We had an excellent group of caregivers who specialize in people with Schizophrenia that are 18 and younger. Try to see if they have one in your area to try. My son had a social worker who gave him books to help him learn about his illness. They give books to parents too and try to work with helping the family as a team to cope with the illness… My Son has been in and out of facilities for 5 years now, but we are better able to cope and to support him now.
Hello Loving Mom, I know what you are going through. Sz is a tough illness. My daughter is 33 years old now and was diagnosed at 19. In the beginning it was like riding a roller coaster. Finding the right meds and dosage can take time and sometimes years through trail and error to find the right combination.
My daughter is on 50 mg of Seroquel and 3mg risperdal in the evening. In the morning its 1000 mg of depakoate, Her PRN is Zyprexa which almost immediately pulls her out of psychosis, paranoia and delusions and has been a godsend. Over the years there have been some pretty serious episodes and if I’m around I know to give her Zyprexa to prevent her from going into the hospital. The Seroquel is helping her a bit with the awful depressions she suffers from almost constantly. I’m hoping the doctor will try to increase the Seroquel to address the depression.
The most important thing we discovered just last year (12 years after her diagnosis) is that ANY anti-depressant will throw her into a manic episode and make her very aggressive and scary. I don’t care which anti-depressant it is it all throws her into these very aggressive and sometimes violent episodes. I’m not sure why it took us so long to figure this out but there it is.
I’ve also seen the drug clozapine clear up delusions and psychosis in my daughter’s friends who was very ill with sz. Before the clozapine she was catatonic, rigid, delusional and hallucinating. After clozapine she was able to go back to school and get a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree and is now working part time. Having said that she still struggles with the illness. It’s not perfect but much better than 13 years ago.
I would say first thing is to talk to his doctor and educate yourself on treatment, I do believe it takes medication and the right type of talk therapy that has helped my daughter.
Please don’t give up hope as your loving support is essential to your son’s eventual wellbeing. I was like you in the beginning. Desperate to find help and not knowing who to turn to. Years ago I came to this site and the people here gave me so much support and encouragement - it was like a beacon of light for me just knowing that I was not the only parent with a mentally ill child. I didn’t feel so alone. I was on the site daily and now I may check in a couple times of year to see if I can encourage a new parent.
I know you’ve probably heard this before but I can’t stress enough the importance of taking care of yourself. Find something you enjoy doing and go after it with gusto. You need something just for you so whatever you enjoy doing - do it more.