Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Paranoid Schizophrenia 29 Year old Son in denial and refuses getting any help

Hello, I am new to this group, and I find myself in unfamiliar territory regarding anything related to Paranoid Schizophrenia. Without going into all the details, (which I am certain, most of you have probably experienced) about what my son and I have been going thru in the last year and half, where at the beginning of this time, I saw my son dealing with something I had never seen him deal with before. I thought it was just depression, so I asked him to come stay with me and his step father a little while, was hoping it would help him. However, his situation continued slowly declining, him becoming more and more paranoid each passing day. My husband, his step father could not deal with it, so after him being with us about 6 months or so, he chose to move into a hotel room until I could get him to go back to his house which was about ten miles away. So it was just my son and I, trying to figure out what was going on. My son became so paranoid that he would not leave the house. He kept saying people were coming in my home and moving things around, poisoning our food, our water. He said he heard someone in or attici, he said they were moving the wood, up there, which were the structure of the home, they were messing with the gas, making gas come thru our ac vents, to keep us asleep or knocked out while they did whatever they needed to do, He took apart all electronics, VCR’s, remote controls, computers, tv’s, our alarm system of our home, the door bells were dangling off the walls, mirrors removed because they were two way mirrors, drawers emptied and the list could go on. I mean there is not one inch of this 4000 sq. ft. home that he has not went thru, searching for things he knew were there, He even wanted to cut holes in my walls, and that is where I finally put ny foot down, and said no. Thankfully he did continue pushing me to allow him to do it, but he never actually did its which I am vey thankful, Our hone is new, we have been here about three years, and to watch and allow him to destroy it as he was, was very hard, but I felt as long as it could be put back together, it was more important to allow this until I knew what we were dealing with. It was total madness, and there I was trying to figure out why he believed all these things. He said all the neighbors were after him, they crashed his computer, they had control of his cell phone and mine, they were using them to know where we were and could get any and all information from our phones and our computers and they were going to use this information to hurt us somehow. He believed our house was bugged, there were borescopes in the walls, with microphones and cameras watching and listening to us at all times. I mean it just continued on and every time I told him this was total nonsense there was no way any of this was happening, he got so upset He is still gets upset today because no one believes him and it breaks his heart that no one, other than me, has even stopped to care about helping him try to protect himself from these people whoever they are, and Im sure you guys know the list well, i.e., FBI, Homeland Security, Neighbors, even his Step Father who he still believes today is the main reason all of this has started for him, He thinks his stepfather is an informant. I begged him to go see a doctor, I said he would go to whoever he chose I just thought we needed to get him checked out. He first agreed then would change his mind, This continues on today. I finally got a mental health warrant so I could at least get him assessed to find out what we were dealing with, because like I said this was not familiar territory, and quite frankly I was tired, scared, worried, exhausted, angry at all of it.

So about three months ago he was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia, given two weeks of medications, and instructed to follow up with LifePath which is who our county contracts with for those with no insurance. He refused to take the medications, said he did not want to take them, they made him feel funny, and now three months later the symptoms are all still there, he is exhausted and tired and sometimes angry because he is being harassed and tormented every second of the day. He is upset with me, the only one he has ever truly trusted, because I had him committed. He knows why, he understands my love for him and that I was only trying to help. But he says I made a horrible mistake, because now he is labeled as crazy and his word is nothing, So he thinks he can’t tell anyone whats going on, or get help because he is now a paranoid schizophrenic. So his emotions are all over the place. I continue trying to get him into LifePath, however he just will not go. He does not believe he as any thing wrong and this never ending nightmare continues on. It is breaking my heart.
I apologize for the long introduction, but bottom line is I am desperately seeking the right approach with getting him into LifePath so we can begin his treatment.
I try to keep him calm, but he is very concerned that I don’t believe him. I have said I do believe that he is experiencing everything he says he is, I know this for a fact. But he knows me too well, I know I am not suppose to play along with what he thinks is happening but honestly, its the only way I can calm him down. So now I have complicated it more just trying to keep him from being so upset, It is killing men and breaking my heart that this is happening to him. I am alone dealing with him, everyone else just thinks he is manipulating me and truly are not interested in understanding what this illness is and what needs to happen. I just continue loving him, reassuring him and trying to cope with a very hard situation.
So, I need to know, would to be best to try setting down with him again, talking to him and reminding him he has been diagnosed and I really want him to go in and follow up for treatment, If I do this I know without a doubt he is going to become extremely angry, and Im just not sure at this point, if he can control wherever this anger will take him.
do I just continue doing what I’m doing, hoping that one day this may pass or maybe he will realize he does need help. I just don’t think he will ever willingly do this, Im so lost and so concerned and so very tired, I just need some good advice and direction. Im praying for some wisdom here that anyone can give me in guiding me to make the best decision for my son. I desperately want to help him, and I will accept any advice that can be given at this time.

One last thing I left out, many actually, but he is back in his home, he did return but not willingly. I had to force it because my husband demanded its. I know this was not what he needed, I know there are thins happening that are maybe pushing this thiing deeper, but one of the major problems is, my family is not takin the time to learn and understand what we are dealing with, Because you see they aren’t dealing with it, I am. I know love and patience and understanding and accepting are all very important factors. Just don’t know how to get everyone on board. So for now I am only concerned with whatever is the best thing I can do, because right now, he only has me.


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Hi Brenda,

I am so very sorry that your son has schizophrenia with severe paranoia. My 36 year old son also suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Like yours, my son suffers from the symptom anosognosia - your son isn’t in denial, this symptom of scz (schizophrenia) keeps him from being able to understand that he has a brain disorder. He is sure he isn’t sick at all, so is my son.

Step one is to get your son diagnosed and you have already checked that box -good.

Step two is to read up on anosognosia - a good source is Dr Amador’s book “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help”. There is a thread on this forum called “is my mom suffering from schizophrenia?” On the thread are videos done by Dr Amador regarding anosognosia and his recommendation for how to talk to someone who has “ano” and help lead them toward meds. These methods will only get you so far, they are a starting point. I had tried to explain to my son several times that what he was experiencing was not real. Eventually he totally shut down to me, Amador’s book and methods did reopen communications between us.

Step three - find your local NAMI chapter and sign your family up for the free course “Family to Family”. Its a good way to start becoming educated on the disorder and really helps by providing you with the contacts for help in your particular area. Sometimes the classes don’t start up for a while, in the meantime, find out if your local NAMI has a support group. Usually at support group, the leaders will have local sources available on a handout. Family to Family is for parents, children, siblings - your whole family. You and your son need as many people on his team as you can get. Understanding and accepting what a brain disorder actually is and how it affects a family member is a journey for everyone in the family. Experiencing Family to Family is the best way to start to get the rest of your family on board.

Step four - there are people on this forum who have had excellent outcomes by pressing or forcing meds through various means. If you think this is possibly a way to proceed with your son, these people offer excellent advice.

Step five - apply for ssi and/or ssdi if you haven’t already

Almost forgot - read Dr Fuller Torrey’s manual on Surviving Schizophrenia.

My son remains unmedicated, best of luck to you getting your son on meds, Hope

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Hi Brenda. My 22 year old son was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and he too refused to take anti-psychotic medication for the first year and a half.

I struggled with the same issue of not wanting to support paranoid delusional thinking, but at the same time not wanting to “poke the bear”. I wish I hadn’t fallen into that trap. Instead, I wish I had called police at the very first opportunity (property damage), so my son could be forced into treatment right away.

It’s important for you to be in contact with emergency psychiatric personell and/or your local police department, to become clear on what is considered “danger to self” and “danger to others”. If property damage is enough, use it. If not eating and having no hygiene is enough, use it. If threatening you is enough, use it. Make the 911 call at the very first opportunity, to have your son forced into a hospitalization and medication. You may need to do this multiple times. It’ll get easier with each time.

This is a way many of us have attempted to save our children. For some of us, it has worked. Our children are now med compliant. For others of us, it hasn’t worked, for a variety of reasons that I’m sure you can read about on this forum.

Do not worry about whether your son will be mad, hate you, etc. That stuff doesn’t matter. Your son is very ill and he’s not going to get better. In fact, since this is still early on in the development of his illness, things could get much worse. Your son is not going to just decide he wants help. The anosognosia will prevent this. He needs to hit rock bottom, but hopefully you can direct what that scenario looks like, so he doesn’t end up getting into legal trouble on his own.

Studies strongly suggest that the earlier the treatment (anti-psychotic medication), the better the outcome. Good luck.


This response is also the message I want to convey. My approach was to get guardianship of my son and then continue to insist on medication. We had several failed attempts, and my son is not well, but he IS improved.