Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Question about negative symptoms getting worse over time

My friend whom I have written about here before seems to have negative symptoms which are getting worse over time, and I’m wondering if this is, sadly, the normal course of events. I just read an article which outlines the negative symptoms, and he has every single one of them: apathy; absent, blunted or incongruous emotional responses; reductions in speech; social withdrawal; impaired attention; anhedonia; sexual problems; and lethargy. I guess my question is whether it will continue to get worse as he ages (he’s 51), or will there be periods of remission? I have tried so hard to be a good friend, but I am feeling very rejected right now. My friend lives in another state, so we usually communicate electronically, but lately, he just ignores my messages altogether. I am very hurt and don’t understand what, if anything, I can do, other than try to be patient with him. But is there really any hope that things will get better, or will it just continue to get worse for him? Also, it is worth mentioning that he has been under stress lately due to legal action (lawsuit for somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000) being taken against him and his brother, and he also communicated to me that he has been recovering from the flu. Before all of this, he indicated that his auditory hallucinations have been fairly consistent and bothersome. I see that he gets on Facebook every now and then; still, when I message him there, he completely ignores me. There was a time when he wrote to me almost every day, but now, almost nothing. The last brief message (just one sentence) that I got from him was about having the flu. I don’t know what to do anymore, and I don’t want to lose him as a friend. But it is so hard to be encouraging and supportive when I am being pushed aside and barely even acknowledged. His parents write or call me every now and then, but they don’t really elaborate much on what is happening. I am feeling quite sad because I used to think of him as my best friend, and I really do care about and love him. It’s just so hard and hurtful for me right now to cope with this apparent rejection. Somebody please give me some hope!


I’m sorry for the pain you must be going through! Caring for someone with a mi isn’t easy! I can’t speak about the negative symptoms getting worse over time bc my son is only 31. He was diagnosed at 19. But I will say this, he takes spells where he doesn’t want to talk to anyone! He locks himself away in his home for days even weeks on end. I do try to reach out to him during that time but mostly I just give him his space and let him know that I will still be here when he decides he wants company again. And he always has. Try not to take it so personally! I guarantee its not meant to be! Hope this helped a little. God bless!


Please don’t take it personally. He is probably slipping or his meds might need adjusting. This might help explain it. Put in Beyond the Glass Ceiling - LEAP Institute in the search on this site

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Thank you so much for writing to me. It’s so good to hear from somebody who understands and can relate!

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Thank you for responding! I think you are right about him slipping. I have noticed a drastic change in him from the time I visited in 2014 until the present. I do think he needs to have his meds adjusted, but when I suggested it, his response was, basically, that no matter what he tries, none of it really does any good. The voices he hears just won’t go away or leave him alone. And I saw something strange in his bathroom - a bunch of pills were scattered all over his sink countertop, some of them split in half or crumbled. I asked him about it but he offered no explanation, and at the time I thought it best not to push the issue. In retrospect, perhaps I should have. I will look up “Beyond the Glass Celiing.” Thank you again.

It sounds like he’s kind of given up on the meds, and maybe not taking them consistently.
Maybe he even thinks he is?

My son has been sure that meds weren’t helping him because he couldn’t “feel” them working, but I could see differences.

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The illness really does change both up and down I’ve noticed. Just keep communication open and let him know you’re there if he needs someone to talk to. Stress really can affect everything and even cause relapse. Hang in there.


My son is 31, He was diagnosed in 2013 with paranoid Sz and has had all of the negative symptoms continuously. He’s been hospitalized twice when he was having the positive symptoms. Negative symptoms are a part of the illness and are not treatable with medicine, as positive symptoms are Your friend isn’t trying to hurt your feelings, but I understand why you feel this way Its just that he is at this time literally unable to be sociable even with you. This condition is not a side effect of medication but a real, and very debilitating part of this awful illness. It’s heartbreaking. My son is a shut in, living with his dad. I see him almost every day.