Schizophrenia by Misadventure?


#1

So, very recently, my brother has finally agreed to get treatment. The doctor that has been working with him says that he is convinced Terence has schizophrenia. I, on the other hand, have my doubts.

Since Terry has come to live with me, years ago, I have begun looking into possible mental illnesses my brother could be dealing with. I have read up on the illness for quite a while and always wondered to myself if this was it.

Growing up, Terry and I were not very close, but I cannot say we were distant either. Terry was popular amongst his friends and always had something to do, and I was quite a few years younger than him, and never interfered with his social circle. Terry was twenty when a tragedy occurred. He was partying when (from what I have heard and understood through all of the stories told from his friends and other party-goers) he was sneaking more so-called mind expanding drugs than everyone else was taking. I do not know what they were all taking, but it was an assortment, and LSD was involved.

Afterwards Terry has been something other than his former self. He went missing after the incident, but no one was looking for him. He was living on the streets, and in and out of state hospitals for about six years. Then, one day, during a birthday party some of my friends had thrown for me, he just showed up out of the blue, a total mess, and has been living within my home ever since.

Terry speaks very incoherently. It is obvious that his mind does not make the same connections that mine does. Even though his words and behavior are very disorganized, he has a single delusion that shows up here and there but never is or was persistent for a long period of time. He believes that he is in a famous rock-n-roll group. Sometimes one of ‘his’ songs will come on the radio, and he will try to explain his contributions to the song.

Terry never became withdrawn. He spends his days going for walks around town, and everyone knows him by name. He often attempts to keep up cheerful conversations with people he meets in town, unaware of his incoherent speech. He hasn’t any people you could call his ‘friends’, but he is rather well known amongst the area, (mostly as an example of ‘what drugs do to your brain’).

Anyway, I always wondered can you acquire Schizophrenia by taking to much drugs? Or is this something else? Whenever people have asked me in the past what exactly was wrong with my brother, I could never exactly tell them, without sharing a whole long personal story.

What are your thoughts on this, if I may know? Thank-You


#2

Very simply, I believe you can.


#3

Hi,

Yes - it does, in my experience, sound like schizophrenia.

Here is some information on drugs and triggering of schizophrenia:
http://www.schizophrenia.com/prevention/streetdrugs.html

Here is a little about “disorganized schizophrenia” - a subtype of schizophrenia that your brother may have:
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/disorganized-schizophrenia/basics/definition/CON-20029138

People who have schizophrenia don’t have all the symptoms of schizophrenia at the same time - typically they wax and wane (come and go) and depending on the person some symptoms may be worse than others (for example some people become very reclusive, others may be social but not have longer term friends, or some are just quieter than normal).

I recommend you read up here:

http://schizophrenia.com/ami/index.html


#4

You and your brother are pretty bright, right? Small wonder you and your brother want to view him as a drug burn out.

I have schizophrenia. I have taken LSD a number of times.

For years I let on that I was a drug burn out. I was treated pretty well by the community. I was viewed as seeker who had gone wrong. I was generally viewed as harmless but likable.

Then, I got into describing myself as a schizophrenic. It seemed more honest. As a schizophrenic I was viewed as an unpredictable malinger who might turn violent for no apparent reason.

Now I describe myself as someone who is chronically anxious and depressed and on medication for such. I’m again viewed as likeable and harmless.

Of course, once you’ve come out, it is hard to get back in the closet! My girlfriend of greater than twenty years is a RN who simply adores me. But members of her family who should know better advise her to give me up based upon stereotypes of what schizophrenics do. For example, such is the advise of her older sister who is a Catholic Nun with a Ph.D. and who teachs college.

Jayster


#5

i took the lsd trips a few times, few other hallucinogens.
always heard the talk about bad trips, or people that go somewhere and never come back.
didn’t happen to me, think i always find my way back,
just keep traveling farther and farther away.
maybe that’s something similar to sz,
really i think sz can be lots of different things,
but hey, there’s more plasticity to the human mind than you’d imagine,
bet if it takes 6 years to dissassociate it like that,
you could re associate in 6 more, if you really wanted to.
thing is, doubt you’d want to.
so the question is, is the brother contented,
happy to be in the famous band, understand the universe the way he sees fit,
the way that makes sense with the sensual reality he has developed,
because there is probably nothing anyone can do in a positive way by interfering,
\unless he’s reaching out and suffering and asking to be medicated or relieved.
otherwise, i’d let him be free,
and appreciate him not only for what drugs can do to the mind,
but as a shaman, who can see realities that maybe we can’t,
who maybe has some value and worth to his very different view of the universe.
maybe he’s not in those bands, but maybe he is saying something important about his contribution.

onderdonk


#6

I’m pretty sure getting extremely high is what triggered my son’s first break and certainly contributed to every one after that. Not everyone becomes socially withdrawn. My son is pretty social and wants to get out.
Some other sites you may want to look at since he is living with you:
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
http://www.nami.org/ - National Alliance on Mental Illness.


#7

my problem with the drug explanation is that my abuse happened 3 years b4 i started taking drugs and my only paranoia was about being attacked whilst walking at night, which is not so strange considering a school friend had been attacked in the same area of london. drugs didn’t help though at all. they just heightened my sense of fear of everything. i wish now that i’d never touched them. if i had my time again, knowing what i know now, i wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole. they certainly didn’t help matters years down the line.