Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Should there be consequences for not taking medication?

I’m torn if I’m doing the right thing. My 28yo admits to me he is not taking his meds. He moved into his own place ( our rental, 2 miles away). He has slept at our place the last 4 nights, so I know he is having issues being alone… He’s paranoid schizophrenia. I told him if he doesn’t take his meds , we don’t want him here, and tomorrow he has to go back to his house. Also today we took our boat out, he wanted to go. Again I told him if he is not on meds he can’t do stuff with us. I felt guilty because we are the only friends he has. But without his meds he is a person I don’t want to be around. I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing.

PS… I hate this disease


@Shallcro, I don’t think it’s a question of whether there “should be” consequences for not taking meds. The reality is there are consequences for not taking meds. Based on my experience, the biggest one is that people just don’t want to be around a person who is unmedicated. It’s often not a pleasant experience, to say the least. That’s a clear consequence.

It’s the same with the whole hygiene issue. If a person refuses to maintain hygiene, the consequence is that people don’t want to be around the person.

I think you have to set your boundaries and live your life. You didn’t cause this and you can’t fix it. I know guilt plays a huge role in what we tolerate, but we have to live our lives.

I hate this disease too. It breaks my heart every single day.


there’s no known solution on how to get someone to take their meds. Sometimes they hit rock bottom, sometimes law enforcement gets involved, and other times they just decide it’s the best.

I don’t know if isolating you kid is going to help him. In the world of sz it’s hard to tell up and down. What are the meds doing vs what is happening without them and someone with sz is usually poorly equipped to make the right decision.

I would get him on a injectable medication that you can drive him to the dr for. You can try to reason with him and explain why it is good (I recommend this) but if he can’t be convinced to take pills maybe he’d agree to a shot

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You have to decide what you can live with and what you think is best for your son. You can set boundaries for your own well-being (and for other family members). You can also set boundaries to help push your son in a direction to get help (take meds). I have several times told my loved one he could not come home and that he could go to a homeless shelter (he had no money at the time). He did not want to be homeless so he complied with a treatment program. Even then, he ended up in the hospital again, but I told the hospital he could not come home. So they found a place for him to stay (with my involvement…there is a significant cost for many of the options like this although government options do exist for those who qualify and I have heard of good results), and guess what? The requirement to live there is to take medication. It has been 9 months and he is doing very well!

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I can totally empathize and was eager to read responses to your question. I keep trying to equate my daughters bpd with a physical illness like diabetes which requires certain medication, precautions and limitations. How would we react if our loved one with diabetes refused to take insulin, refused to test their blood sugar and intentionally indulged in sugar? And while i know that failure to acknowledge having an illness is part of the illness, I am beginning to feel that my daughter has to be held accountable for her actions and inactions. How else will she be able to take responsibility for herself? How else will she become aware that she does have an illness that needs to he treated?

I’ve been hospitalized 5 times for bipolar disorder. I always took my meds. Getting on lithium was the thing that controlled it for me.

How do you intend to hold your daughter “accountable”?

I am referring to anyone who has the awareness that they have an illness and that medication will help. For my daughter, she now knows that if she does not take her medication, she will go out of control and act in a way that is harmful and destructive. When she first became psychotic, she was not aware that she was. At that time, she was in no way accountable for her actions. She was taking meds that were not working. Again, not her fault. She is now on meds that are working better. She knows that if she does not take them, she will act and feel in a way that she doesnt want. In this situation, i believe she can be held accountable for taking her meds.

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I’m glad to hear that she has some insight now, but what does holding her accountable mean. Even with meds the problem is not entirely solved.

I’m not sure if you’re referring to punishment or something else. I’m not being critical I’m just curious.

With my wife and I we usually fight and make up, but I also take my meds

I think @Katee means “accountable” as in ethically and intellectually aware of the facts and circumstances to a degree that her daughter understands that not taking her meds is a destructive choice.
This is one of the blurry lines of Schizophrenia.
At some point, most Schizophrenics are not able to understand the implications of refusing medication due to the symptoms of the disorder.
When a Schizophrenic person eventually regains that degree of insight necessary to understand their choices and the implications of; they are intellectually and ethically responsible to make choices which are not destructive. Being responsible for a decision means a person is then accountable for their choices and their actions, emotional, legal and physical fall out included.
That is to say;
Without the capacity to understand, a person is not equipped to make a decision on that subject and is therefore not at fault if decisions made are destructive…
And the other way around.

I talk to many people that have insight and are still delusional and hear voices. Having insight means that you’re aware the voices are a hallucination. This doesn’t mean they don’t influence the person or affect their lives. Voices can play games discouraging med use too

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It’s a complicated disorder.
It seems like it effects each person a bit differently and there is no one single solution to any of it. But, certainly as caregivers, the underlying goal is to try to help the DX’d regain their independence, peace of mind and quality of life.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to err in both caution and optimism.

Look at it this way. Before modern medicine sz patients ended up in asylums for their lives. Medicine offers a chance to live a better life but being compliant is just the first step. Then you need to get the right meds that work for the individual, this can take time and having the right dr is crucial.

When I went sz my dr put me on invega, and it worked but took 2 years for voices to go silent. Often the solution is a combination of meds.

There’s no easy way to know besides trial and error. Except for one I heard. You can do a dna test to see which is most likely to work now.

It’s a long road with sz. 2 years is a short time to recover from hallucinations. Delusions by bebthe worse.

It’s not possible to imagine what is going on in the mind of an sz patient. It’s very different


It can be like this

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This is good information, people often ask if Invega can take time to provide relief.

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I’m struggling to get my daughter to take her meds daily right now. She says, “I forgot.” I know she dislikes them because she says they make her tired, gain weight, etc.

I also have a diabetic sister who went through a stage where she would eat and drink what she shouldn’t and didn’t want to take her meds. I think that sometimes ill people get tired and exhausted with it all, which I can’t blame them.

I am also struggling because my sister with diabetes said that she often felt like my mom was constantly nagging her about her meds and diet growing up. I feel like I am now doing this with my own daughter who has sz.

My heart goes out to all of you caregivers and individuals struggling with this illness…I wish I had the answers to things. I do appreciate hearing all your stories and advice. It makes me feel less alone in this struggle.

Forgetting to take meds can be a real problem. The best thing to do is get weekly pill boxes. For each time you take pills you fill one box. Fill it in the morning and by night it should be empty. It’s also key to set alarms for each dose. I have 3 alarms

Make it a routine

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My daughter doesn’t like taking medication…particularly pills in general…
But she can tell there is a big difference when she does take them, so she is eager to take them… sometimes she does forget, especially her anxiety meds because she isn’t used to taking them… she had some minor side effects, nothing severe… I know that she abhors shots of any kind, so she will not want to take it in injection form…

Originally she was going to get her AP in liquid form like she was when she was in the hospital, but that doesn’t seem to be available at the pharmacies around here.

I have the pill box and text her to remind her. At this point, I feel like I have to sit and actually watch her take them. It’s exhausting and I want her to take accountability, as in a couple of years she will turn 18. I really don’t like the idea of an injection at this point, as we are still struggling with meds and doses. Does anything else help you? I don’t want to nag her all the time…

What meds is she taking?

No I wouldn’t want to nag her either and I’m sure she feels the same way. Sometimes nagging does work. I want to shower once a week and my wife wants 2. She reminds me when it’s time to shower.

But back to meds… it has to become a routine, a process she gets used to. Reminding her is not the way. Checking her pill box at the end of the day is and asking about why she missed the alarm.

Texting her will actually make her think your responsible for remembering