Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Son 19 w/schizophrenia

Hello, I am new to this forum feeling so relieved that this exists for families. My son is 19, he was misdiagnosed at 16 with Bipolar and recently last year with Schizophrenia - this diagnosis feels like an immense loss of the child I once knew and the idea of the adult he would become.

Maintaining a healthy relationship with him is utterly important to me. I try to exhaust all options to keep him safe at home but its exhausting at times. I have 2 daughters that I also have to think about. Like most people my husband isn’t very educated on serious mental illnesses. He is supportive but I’m the full-time caretaker and oversee all his care.

There are so many struggles but right now medicine compliance - he’s been off his meds for 2 months and psychosis symptoms have reappeared. I don’t ever want to be the type of parent to hospitalize him for any discrepancy but how can I best support him right now??

Thanks for your time.

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It is a long journey. Do not put all this on you. Try to talk clearly with dad and daughters abt your son’s condition. Try to see how all can help because it is hard on only one person. Your son needs meds. No way out of it . He being 19 doctors will not give you much info if he is in the hospital, nor his doctor’s visits. Advance medical will help if you can get your son to cooperate The other extreme is guardianship if you think that would work, but this is a hard decision. He needs to find a doctor he likes That is very important. Injections rather than daily pills improve compliance. Motivate him to do hobbies, exercise, or something he enjoys to take his mind off his illness… Wishing you the best.

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Thank you so much for your time and kind words. Greatly appreciate the advice.

I know your heartache momof3. My son was also diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 19. I have to work hard at keeping my ‘mother’s grief’ at bay and focus on the fact that after some very difficult times he is now on medication that works and is happily living with us and slowly creating a life for himself. It hasn’t been easy but we got there in the end.
I’ve had to be a pretty strong advocate with the health system (in Australia). For a while he was in and out of hospital - just wouldn’t comply with his medication regime and would get quite unwell and we’d have to take him back to stabilise him. This went on until we found the righ medication for him and a doctor who was genuninely wanting the best outcome for him. He is not the man he might otherwise have been - he has to deal with the ‘negative’ symptoms of the illness (lack of motivation, apathy, some difficulty getting organised, shying away from social interaction) but he is slowly finding things he enjoys (fossicking, rock polishing at a gem club, fishing) and tells us he is happy. I could write a book on the journey we’ve been on. In brief what I would offer is:
Look after yourself - you can’t be an effective advocate for him if you’re not well yourself;
Recognise that he may not have the life you thought he would, but he can still have a happy life;
Get him on medication that works for him and don’t shy away from hospitals and doctors. People with Schizophrenia absolutely need medication to help them live their best life. Getting him the treatment he needs is number one priority - its such a challenging illness - they don’t really understand that they’re unwell so you can sympathise with them in that they don’t want to take medication, but without it they suffer terribly.
stay connected with caregiver groups and forums. Its hard to suddenly find yourself a ‘member’ of this community but use them to draw strength and encouragement.
I wish you all the very best momof3

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