Schizophrenic son does nothing all day. How can parents try to help him?


My 23year old son who was diagnosed 5 years ago continues to spend his day doing completely nothing. As his parent how can I convince him perhaps to join the local Clubhouse. Any advice would be welcomed.

I don't know what to do! koo 8

That kind of behavior is not uncommon from all I have learned and experienced. Quite often the only way to get them to do anything is with consistent redirection or to even do it with them when it is possible. In the case of my own son he does less it seems as he gets older, he is 32, and he does do an occasional AA meeting with other AA members he has known for years and on a rare occasion he will go to the gym by himself but for the most part he does what I do. He prefers to go on errands with me and shopping and even the gym he would prefer to go when I go and so I do try to plan for things like summer festivals or local concerts or an occasional hockey game which we both like…so that he does have a more rounded experience. He doesn’t trust easy or enjoy making small talk so he doesn’t pursue close friendships and he gets anxious when pressed to do more alone. With anxiety comes instability so I don’t press him anymore. He sleeps a lot and is a night owl anyway, he likes his music and TV and collecting coins and he manages the household recycling that we do. I do whatever I want in the morning as I am up with the sun and when he gets up we do things together he enjoys (or seems to enjoy) With the usual flat affect it is difficult to know. I look at it like if he is wanting to go with me and do mundane things or even things I have planned for us then it must be a good thing and maybe 2 or 3 days a month he still wants to do nothing so I let it be. I no longer work as I went out on disability 5 years ago but when I did work he did nothing or he did strange things that made no sense until I got home. I worked about a mile from the house and sometimes I would come out of work and he would be sitting outside on the curb waiting for me. Self direction and motivation are hard to come by with many schizophrenics, not all, but many. I would maybe start out with a shared activity that you both enjoy but that he could do on his own if he chose to like with me and my son it’s the gym, but it could be a local park or an arcade or even the library. Once you establish the experience together for awhile, Then see if he is willing to do it alone, it may take time but eventually your shared thing can become his thing. Good luck.:four_leaf_clover:


@Catherine, we SO seem to be walking similar paths! My son spends most of his day laying about, but will go out with me a few times a week. He may just be enjoying the fairly recent quieting of the voices after the introduction of clozaril.

A few days ago he ALMOST went with me to see a neighbor, but stopped midway and said, I don’t feel like I want to meet him today. He has brief interactions with the people we see at our regular stops, and most of the people who work at our regular stops are getting comfortable and friendly with him. I take him for a haircut monthly, to someone who knows him well. I think case management is getting ready to drop him because he hasn’t been answering the door when they stop to see him.


@Vallpen Yes indeed! very similar…glad to have an opportunity to converse. My son also does not always answer the door either-nor will he usually return phone calls to anyone. I recently had an old friend of mine from high school drop by for a visit and my son would not come out of his room while she was here.

You said that your son has recently had a remission of the voices, that is such good news!

I recall about 6 months into my son’s clozaril therapy his voices began to fade away and it kind of amazed him…like a new reality. It definitely takes a lot longer for my son to process changes-internal and external,

My son has lived with me since his diagnosis a little over 10 years ago except for a brief time when I tried to having him live in a monitored group home and he almost killed himself there, so I gave up on that idea all together.

He has had a case manager for the past 5 years and I just recently told the case manager we were good without him because the case manager did nothing to help any aspect of my son’s life. No offense to the case manager, I already had everything covered, so…there really was nothing left for him to do…so since even attending appointments stress my son out and he has to go to all of the medical and psych ones-I decided that this was one appointment we really didn’t need. The guy was a nice guy but he made no connection with my son in the 5 years he was his case manager. Maybe that’s normal I don’t know but for now I am ‘case manager’ …


@Catherine, lol, I just basically told my son’s case manager the same thing! My young man has been on clozaril since January, and certainly the voices are fading, tho they might still be around somewhat.

After trying lots of different living arrangements, a couple of years ago I decided to purchase a small house near where I work. He pays a rent to me with his SSI funds. I stop in almost every day, cook up a little dinner and chat a little. We go out mostly on the weekends, tho he sometimes comes with me on errands during the week. He recently starting sitting in his back yard for a bit.

I would like him to live in a SMALL group residence, but there is nothing like that in this area. I would like to create one! I recently learned about the brain foundation on this forum - here is a link - That is pretty close to the model I would like to see.


This lack of motivation is common in schizophrenia - part of the negative symptoms. See this discussion:

Some people are reporting some success in this area with sarcosine:



Also - you can also read in the “Diagnosed” forum about what has helped people with motivation:


@Vallpen I really love the idea and wish my son wasn’t so anti room mates or house mates…but who knows what the future will bring?..I think the Laura houses are a great idea and much needed everywhere…what state are you in if I might ask? I’m in Ohio.


Thankyou for responding. This illness is so unfair and ruthless. It takes away almost everything our love ones can do. My 23 year old son is on clozapine and lives on his own in an apartment we bought for him to live in. I continue to clean wash hisclothes and prepare his dinner most nights at our family home. He did attend a gym for a short time last year but seemed to lose interest in it after a period of months. I have to constantly remind him to shower, wash his face and clean his teeth. Also to tidy his apartment.
My husband and I transport him since he will not catch a bus. I often feel that he thinks his life is rather normal as he does not question anything. I would like him to attend Pioneer Clubhouse which is walking distance to his home. How do I convince his to go there? He has contacts there.I just want him to do something different which does not involve us his parents as much.
It can be so heartbreaking at times.


@dibby I hope your son’s daily living skills improve over time. My son also lives on his own with help from me with some house chores and dinner preparation.

I also can’t get my son to take the bus. Since he has some contacts at the clubhouse, the only thing I can think of is to get someone from there to swing by and get your son to walk there together.

One thing I have found helpful is to provide spending money in small daily amounts instead of in a lump sum on some less frequent schedule. It is provided based on a “good day” the day before, and I occasionally reduce the amount if there is some conflict or he falls thru on something. But there is always the next day to do better.

@Catherine, my son also says he prefers to live alone, but when he did live in a group setting, I saw him doing some healthy socializing. But I never want to put him in a large group home again. No matter what they say, it is more institutional than home-like. I like the Laura house model, since it still provides privacy, but gives the opportunity for interaction. I’m in Missouri.


@Vallpen, I couldn’t agree more…:rose:


I had not heard of this before - looks like something like this would be great for people who have schizophrenia.


Oh, I was referring to Laura’s House run by The Brain Foundation -


Ah - thanks! Here is the video on it:


The Pioneer clubhouse located near my son here in Sydney is a drop in centre. He is a member and has been once before to meet. His last hospital admission was last christmas due to medication non-compliance. He said he would go to clubhouse when he got out of hospital. But he declined the offers to attend there regularly. It would be good for him to just drop in, have a coffee and leave.
Thats all my husband and I would like, to take that everyday pressure off us. He does have a case manager who he sees fortnightly now, but he seems to be getting tired of her.
I do mention the clubhouse on a regular basis, and get little response from him.
I guess more insight and maturity is needed from him before he takes this step. He rarely discusses his illness with me. Any advice would be appreciated.


I wish I had more suggestions for you. I’m in the same situation, having a young man who doesn’t want to initiate social interaction or try to sustain a relationship with a case manager.

I think this is a chronic problem resulting from negative symptoms.


Yes, those negative symptoms of the illness are relentless. They never seem to go away as far as my son is concerned. He used to be full of energy, talkative and eager to please. Now he is completely lacking any motivation and seldom talks about anything. He is calm, so I guess that is a good thing. The clozapine does help in that regard. The illness is so complicated. Lets hope the scientist will invent something for him to take for the negative symptoms. Also how do I get him to discuss his illness with me? I try but nothing seems to work. He just walks away to avoid any conversation with me.


Just wondering - how long has your son been on clozapine?

My son’s dad has been researching rTMS and how it might help with negative symptoms. It is not currently approved in the US for schizophrenia.


My son has been on Closapine since 2012. Currently taking 325mg daily at night. Has to have monthly blood test undertaken to check for blood abnormalities. He does not seem to mind all of this. I don’t think it has helped the negative symptoms at all. I just wish he would talk about his illness with us instead of pretending it does not exist.


As a struggling schizophrenic, I find it hard to find motivation to do anything either. Let me try to help you understand him. When he hears voices, which are usually negative, all day and everyday he gets tired mentally. Tired of trying to figure out what’s real and what’s in his head, and tired of trying to convince himself that what he’s seeing/hearing isn’t real. He’s so mentally drained he doesn’t have anything left in him to even want to try sometimes. You know and I know that if he got out more maybe it would help him. However, you still have to find a way to convince him that it would be worth the efforts. For me, new environments/people are triggers and cause me to hallucinate more because in that new situation I have NO idea what is already real in order to tell what isn’t. As for familiar situations such as meeting up with family or running a short errand, maybe he’s like me and is afraid of public humiliation by way of a random mental breakdown in front of people he respects and looks up to. Try asking him if any of this is a concern for him, and if it is, just let him know that isolation and doing nothing productive will not help and might make things worse like it does for me. Ask him to start small and just poke his head into a support group meeting for a minute or maybe even just do something simple like walk into the grocery store with you just to get a bag of ice (I say this because ice is at the front of the store and can be obtained quickly and painlessly).


Thanks for letting me know what my son is experiencing. It certainly would be very confusing and draining to him everyday sounds and new situations. We do his grocery shopping together once or twice a week, so going into a supermarket where he knows where everything is does not seem a huge problem for him. It would be good if he had a case manager or someone he could really talk to. At this stage he really does keep it all to himself. There is a hearing voices group I think. But I would like him to go the Clubhouse to socialize there .