My 19 year old son began hearing voices his senior year of high school. He has been on Risperidone for over a year and a half along with Prozac with a diagnosis of depression, anxiety and psychosis nos. He’s been somewhat depressed and anxious for a couple of months and woke me up at midnight very upset because he’s been having thoughts of harming me. He says the thoughts scare him and he just can’t take it anymore. After trying to calm him down and get him to sleep (we were scheduled for his regular appt with a psychiatric nurse practitioner he’s been seeing for over a year and a half today) he voluntarily went to the psyche ward of a nearby hospital where he was admitted. It’s been an exhausting night and I don’t know what to expect. I am going to see him at noon. I hope they completely re-evaluate his meds and diagnosis. I am frustrated at him seeing the same person for nearly 2 years with no more specific a diagnosis than psychosis nos which from my perspective is a pretty generic blanket term. He suffers from obsessive unwanted thoughts. He is worried about his job which they only work him 2 four hour shifts a week as it is because he has missed a lot of work from other health issues earlier this year. Any advice or words of encouragement at this time would be appreciated. I know there are other family members with similar stories who wish they could just snap their fingers and make it all better.
My son is 27. The first time that he had full blown psychosis was at 15. He had the exact same diagnosis as your son did at one time. He’s always had the depression & anxiety, but he’s been psychotic NOS, major depression with psychotic features, major mood disorders. I think his doctor was reluctant to slap a label on him that would stick with him for the rest of his life.
It’s good that he was scared enough by the symptoms to go to the hospital. My son was scared back then too. He just had his psychosis come back in full force, he was not scared by it at all and ended up involuntarily hospitalized - and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. He’ll get out on Monday & while not completely well, is much better. Although, I am very worried because he seemed to embrace the psychosis this time - for him, it’s mostly delusions & he doesn’t have command voices, but hears people say things that they don’t.
If you want them to re-evaluate everything, make sure you tell them that. I don’t know yet if my son has a new diagnosis, but they have him on the same meds he could have taken at home. That’s OK because they do work for him if he would take them, and he’ll admit that they work well when he’s in psychosis. We can work on an outpatient basis on getting him adjusted to something he is more willing to take long term.
There are lots of stories here of success & hope, and I found them very comforting. I don’t think I could have gotten through the last 10 days without some of the advice & support I received here.
You should be very proud of your son for being willing to go to the hospital & accept help. It sounds like he’s trying very hard, and that’s so important. Good luck at your visit today - no matter the circumstances, it will be good to see him.
Thank you for your support and encouraging words. My heart aches and goes out to you and all the others dealing with this type of situation. I tried therapy before but after 3 “therapists” it just seemed they weren’t equipped to deal with the problems I have and it helps so much to hear from others such as yourself who have had similar experiences. I’m off to the hospital now.
I went to my first support group for families - it was heartbreaking and amazing at the same time.
I was thinking about a therapist for myself, and one of my son’s old therapists offered, but I think this is better. They were sympathetic and supportive, but very honest about what to do, what to expect, etc.
The therapists will mean well, but they haven’t been in our position, or our children’s position, and I don’t need someone just telling me to take care of myself and not feel guilty. I know all that.
This is the one I went to, but it’s local - maybe there’s something similar in your area:
The founders met through a NAMI family-to-family class, then put this group together. I can’t compare it to other support groups because it’s the only one I’ve ever been too, but it was exactly what I needed at the time - and I was very nervous about going.
Let us know how the visit goes.
Call your local NAMI office if there is one. All around the US there are different groups, mostly staffed by volunteers. Many NAMI chapters provide education and also support groups.
My son had Psychosis NOS diagnosis from his main doctor because the doctor was trying to work with him. The initial diagnosis of schizophrenia that came from a psychologist, he did not accept that. Sometimes not diagnosing is a doctor’s way of becoming an ally of their patient. The treatment can still happen (same meds) regardless of diagnosis.
What a local hospital normally does here in the US state where we live is medicate to the point that the patient can leave. They don’t do anything more than triage.
My advice is: make your requests. If the hospital does not provide all of the requested medical services, that is not unusual. You most likely have to wait until some time after your son is released to get him to a full psychological evaluation (these and counseling are NOT available in our local “behavioral health” hospitals, only at the state hospital). But, who knows, maybe the hospital where your son is has more resources, staffing, and a better protocol.
Keep going by taking care of yourself. You and your son are in a stressful new situation. The first time my son went into the hospital I was shocked by how little treatment beyond medication occurred. I could not believe it, but I now know that the people there did everything they could do for my son. I was able to catch up on sleep because I knew my son was safer than I could keep him.
Insurance might kick your son out of the hospital when he is still very ill. Try to speak to his social worker and start building a solid treatment plan for post-hospitalization. Call your insurance and find out what is covered. Ours did not cover the needed treatment, but some insurance does.
Start contacting the outpatient treatment providers; prioritize safety and stability. Diagnosis is not that big of a deal during an acute episode because the right diagnosis does not always lead directly to the right medications. This can be trial and error. An anti-psychotic for a psychotic disorder is a start, as far as I know.
A note on diagnosis, which will come later, perhaps months after the hospital. There are many different causes of psychosis. Only when your son gets to a point of stability and baseline functioning will most psychologists start testing and Q and A to see what the diagnosis might be. Because all types of psychosis appear similar, during an episode it would be really difficult to determine the cause of the psychosis.
That was a long way of saying, try to take care of yourself. Not knowing what was going on caused me some anxiety, but this is everyday life and work for the staff of the hospital.
I hope your visit went well.
Thanks for the advice… I have heard of NAMI and will definitely look into it Monday. The visit went ok. I was only there a half hour because my son still had not slept and was very tired. He had signed a HIPA form allowing the doctor to talk to me but she was not there when I visited although he had talked to her earlier. He asked me not to come this evening but to wait until tomorrow which I understand as he will likely sleep through the rest of today and tonight hopefully. The nurse and a therapy coordinator were there and very helpful. They have several group therapies he can choose from and they seem to be working with him on what he wants to accomplish in his time there which will I suspect lead to an outpatient therapy program. Thanks for asking and for the information, it is very encouraging and helpful.