Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Schizophrenia with OCD

My daughter, age 32, has a diagnosis of schizoeffective disorder. She is relatively stable now. In the past, she was quite manic, shopping quite a bit and leaving and walking for hours, I think. I say I think since at the time I was working and she was home. Since my husband passed away, I had to work to care for us both. She does receive survivor benefits since she became ill before the age of 22.

What I see now, and usually I am patient, is severe OCD. She does not want to use a plastic cup more than once, will not recycle bottles since she says they are used, expired, one time use and that is it, and refuses to sit in the same room with me to eat. She also has some contamination issues with respect to clothing. It feels exhausting today, for some reason. We go tomorrow to see her psychiatrist. Does anyone else have a family member with these issues? If not, is there anything to recommend? Today, it feels like I am loosing it,and what put this over the top for me was the her not willing to recycle the bottles. As you know, she can’t be reasoned with at all. Thanks for listening.

My son will not eat with me. When I’m not home he’ll sit at the kitchen table but if I come home, into the room he goes. He washes his hands anytime he touches a doorknob and it has to be soap from a dispenser. Regarding the bottles and plastic cups… you could sort them out of the garbage when putting out the recycling. If that doesn’t work, even tough, I’m pro-environment, I think I’d let that go. I can definitely see how it pushed you too far, however : ) You could also put a photo of a garbage dump above the trash can?

After the last 5 days with having my son home, I have realized how vastly important it is to have interactions with “normal” adults on a daily basis. A rule for myself when traveling alone is to have one decent conversation a day. I think I am going to use that rule in my new living situation. That and leave the house for at least a few hours a day when not working. Which is not a problem.


@DianeR, it is exhausting. I normally let so much go, as you say, it is either that or go down that endless hole with her, and get no where. I think because it was plastic bottles, and it is about the environment, it set me off. My daughter refuses to use a cup more than once, hence, so many plastic cups wasted it is a good thing the EPA does not know. Lol.

Oh my gosh - so she won’t even use like a mug? Could you get paper cups? I’m finding that I have to watch out for getting sucked down that endless hole as well.

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Hi AlwaysHopeful. We deal with OCD challenges here as well. Yes, they are exhausting.

Over-the-top concerns about germs and the constant question of “Did you touch it?” are ongoing. We also constantly battle the doors and cupboards being opened and left open “to let the bad air out”.

I try to be patient, but often I have nothing left in me to be that way.

Our son was never this way before he became ill.

Yes DianeR. Having normal conversations with people is so important to me as well. You can only take so much of the other.

I’m very fortunate to have my adult daughter living at home with us for a bit while she works and saves money. I can have those normal conversations with her, as well as my husband, and she also helps by giving my son companionship.

I stopped working for a year while things went from hell to relatively in control, but I then went back to work part-time just a few months ago. My job has helped me a lot, to get away from the stress of being home all the time.

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@DianeR and daybyday.

It is good to know I am not alone. My daughter uses the big red Costco cups, 1 cup per glass of water. Maybe I should buy stock in that cup company! I have to laugh at times to keep from crying. I accept her illness, and the challenges she must live with. Sometimes, it is exasperating. W

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I hear you. Mostly, it’s just frustrating as there are things my son needs to do (like apply for AND - a program where he can get some $ while waiting for ssi) but he does these things at his own time. Mostly, I pray he goes to get his court ordered shot tomorrow or they will come and get him (so they say). Can you wash the cups and re-package them without her knowing?

Good luck with the shot tomorrow. I know the feeling. It creates a ball of stress in my stomach every month, as I always wonder if my son will refuse at the last minute. Miraculously, we’ve made it through 10 months. I just keep telling him that he “seems to be getting less scared” and the meds are “keeping him at home instead of the hospital”.

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Yup, a lot of that happening. I take Rescue Remedy. Have you tried it? It’s natural. My son insists on taking himself so I have to trust. He knows if he doesn’t go (apparently) they will come and get him since it’s court ordered.

@diane R, applying for benefits is a big task. Sometimes, there is a social worker at the psychiatrist’s office who can assist. When my husband was alive, he started the process. It takes awhile to go through. The psychiatrist today called in sick. Sigh.but my daughter knows she has to go to these routine visits. She is completely medication compliant. In fact the other dsy, I forgot to leave thr meds out, and she called to tell me to come home and get them! Have a good day.

They got him started through the transition house and scheduled our first appointment for us. He has signed paperwork from the psychiatrist. They said we’ll likely get turned down the first time. So we’ll see how it goes - slow going I would think. A year or so perhaps?

Yes- sounds familiar. I’ve wondered how much of this type of behavior is a paranoia based attempt to cope with those fears. As such I’ve wondered why we aren’t trying adding anti-anxiety meds in addition to the anti-psychotics to try to reduce the paranoia that seems to be at the root of the OCD behavior which seems to be an attempt to address the things she’s most afraid of. I’ve tried to reason but that hasn’t been too successful. I know what you’re talking about-

@RM46. I agree. My daughter is on an anti anxiety, mood stabilizer and Prozac, for the OCD, along with her anti psychotic. She is stable. The OCD is not completely under control, but it is so much better. As her psychiatrist says, what symptoms are the most disturbing, and need to be controlled? Clearly. The psychosis, but for my daughter, the OCD as well. Her illness can be treated, not cured, i remind myself each day. Being stable is good for today.

Hi my 19 year old son has been diagnosed schizoaffective , he has been in hospital since June 21st last year , on 2 6 month compulsory treatment orders , started on different medications with slight improvement in the last few weeks , however recently he has developed some ocd symptoms, like touching the wall a few times before he comes out the hospital and rubs his knuckles and exhales heavily before he answers me , apparently this is a side effect of the medication so I’ve been told , I don’t know what meds your daughter is on but that’s what I was told when I questioned his new behaviours xx

@lanne, Thank you for the information. I am sorry your son continues to be hospitalized.

There is an OCD gene in my family. My daughter has had schizophrenia for 14 years, and I have seen it change and be relabeled all these years. When she first became ill, it was delusions, hallucinations, and some mania. It is what it is today, and that could change. For about 8 months now, since retirement, she has been stable, but still ill.

My very best wishes to you and your son.

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And all the best to you xxx

My son has constant ocd issues. He always has to check at least once when we go to run errands if he locked the door. He checks all the time if his paperwork is where he put it . He obsesses about where he put his vape pen that he constantly smokes.It is annoying, but now when I pick him up I just expect that he will get out of the car to check the door is locked. He always checks that his keys are in his pocket many times a day. It is so sad that a young man has to live in this constant state of fear and paranoia but not much I can do about it. I am very patient with him because I know he can’t help this behavior. I am very close to my daughter and have a partner who lives with me and a very part time job. I think the job helps a lot because when I am at work it is one of the few times in my life when my mind is off him for a bit.

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Luckily my son is also totally med compliant. He always reminds me when his med are down to 8 pills left each month so we can go to pharmacy. I am lucky he can keep track of this.

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A relatively new OCD behavior that started for our son, in addition to what I already mentioned earlier, is his need to “air out” dirty clothes.

His dirty clothes can’t go in his dirty clothes hamper. Instead they line his bedroom floor, flattened and spread out, so they are exposed to the fresh air.

Although this new behavior developed while on AP meds, many of our son’s other obsessive-compulsive behaviors started before he went on meds.

Our son was never like this before he became ill.

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