Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Son has fled due to court order- Looking for advice


So my son left his last hospital stay after a court ordering him to have an injection if he refused to stay compliant with his medication. He was on 15 mgs of Abilify. He took the pills orally for about two days and then told me he no longer wanted to take them.
We went in for an appointment with an advocacy team team today and they found out that he had not taken his meds for a day. Once we left, they called and said they were going to come pick him up. I told him and he bolted.
As of now he is most likely trying to find somewhere warm to stay. I did talk with him and he said he is trying figure things out, and I am hoping he is trying to decide that maybe just taking an injection isn’t so bad, and that he can come back home if he does.
Thoughts, experiences, and advice are welcome please….


If side-effects are at fault (assuming you’ve asked him about that), can a different med be tried? Abilify gave me way too much akathisia and flat-affect for my liking…

Seroquel XR/‘extended-release’ seems to do the trick, delusion-wise, etc., without too much side-effect “damage”. (The IR/‘instant-release’ version of Seroquel really sucked, though. It was like a completely different brain-numbing, sugar-gobbling, zombifying med.)


Unfortunately, treatment usually works best when the person chooses it of their own free will. It is a scary thing, because the wrong med can mess you up so much worse. But, sadly, some people need to be forced into treatment for their own safety. You can call a medical arrest on him. The cops will track him down. Then they will put him inpatient on lockdown and they can give him the injections. Only do that as a last resort, though, because it can be a very traumatizing experience.


That sounds scary. I’ve been forced in to treatment but it wasn’t by the police tracking me down. I would freak out.


If he isn’t actively suicidal or aggressive, you might be able to get him to try the CBD pill when it is ready. Since he is pro-marijuana, that might seem like a more appealing drug to him. Sadly, it is only in the testing phase right now, so you would have to wait until I think early 2017.


Its great that you’ve been able to talk with him and contact him. The fact that he only took the medications for two days means it unlikely had any effect on him and unfortunately thats bad. Life on the street is very hard, and stressful - and could make things worse for him.

Sometimes people’s bad experiences like this will spur them to work harder on getting good treatment, and I hope this is the case with your son.


He hates medications so much. I think Abilify has been the best, but he’s only been on it for about three weeks. Every ache, pain, or discomfort he blames on Abilify, so I never know when it’s an actual side effect. I think his age and complete lack of insight have so much to do with all of this. He called me this morning and said he wants to find a ride to California. He said he’d rather rot somewhere than have an injection.


The two days was out of the hospital. He had been hospitalized for over two weeks and had been taking it then. He’s so stressed right now. I hate this. If he comes home, the hospital wants me to call. I know I should, but it is going to be such a betrayal to him. Breaks my heart….


I would too. It feels like he’s being treated as a criminal


That’s where we are now. I am expected to call enforcement if he shows and I’m not sure if I can do it. What if it makes everything worse?


One time my parents were trying to get me into a psych facility where they would make me take the antipsychotic drug Haldol. I waited until their attention was diverted, hopped in my car, and drove to Oklahoma City, about 150 miles away, where I spent some time on skid row. The cops found me sleeping in a park a few months later and took me back to Muskogee.
Abilify isn’t that bad a medication compared to Haldol. The years I was on Haldol were the worst years of my life. Tell your son that if he doesn’t comply with court ordered medication he might find himself on much stronger and more unpleasant med’s. If he shows the doctors that he’ll stay on his med’s they will probably be willing to work with him to find the med’s that suit him best. Different med’s affect people differently, so it might take some trial and error to find the right med’s for your son. It’s even possible he might like Haldol, and not like the med’s I’m on - Geodon and Seroquel.


Dear Holly67, I don’t know what the right or wrong thing to do is. I am going to tell you what my family did.

During a second major psychotic episode (no illicit drug use), our family member was placed on a “grave disability” hold by a physician in the ER and ran out. The hospital called the police. The rest of us went home, where our family member showed up awhile later, much more calm, still having a psychotic episode, but not breaking things or yelling verbal abuse.

He asked for no police and I called and told them not to come. The next couple days were rough. He lost control of his behavior again and then chose to leave home for about a week. He returned in relatively good shape and is always welcome here when everyone is treated politely, is safe, and there is no illicit drug use or any substance abuse. Cigarettes okay outside.

Six months later, he had another psychotic break (3rd). We did wind up calling social services, who brought the police and took him to the hospital. Since he was in extreme distress, not eating, suicidal, my goal of safety was more pressing than my unwillingness to involve authorities. My family member felt extremely betrayed, for which I am more sorry than maybe he will ever know.

The hospital stay did not fully stabilize my family member. After weeks, they sent him home extremely paranoid, delusional and suicidal, experiencing many distressing symptoms. One of us was with him 24/7 and he eventually became less psychotic. He chose to quit taking medication about six weeks after leaving the hospital.

I told him that I only want him to do things that help him, which is true. The rules for living in the house are not based on medication, but on safety and healthy-enough lifestyles for everyone.

I would be interested to know whether my family member might benefit from the right medication. He has “continuous psychosis,” and is also great to spend time with.

Due to neither of us having a job or status quo place in the world, it is difficult for me that he remains untreated, but I have tried to force treatment (not just medication) in numerous ways on numerous occasions and it did not happen. My family member is not consistently able to care for himself on a day to day basis. He sometimes does not eat or sleep, if not prompted. He has a hard time determining who is a trustworthy person and has been mistreated by people.

At the beginning and end of the day, I am on his side. I want him to be safe. Yes, I want him to receive treatment (not necessarily medication) that really works and helps him feel better. I will not go against his wishes unless he is unsafe or threatening harm.

I guess I make my choices based on what is actually happening.

However, it seems that some of the diagnosed people on this forum who were forced to receive treatment seem to be doing much better than my family member… So who knows?? But why force if a person is basically safe and can respect the rights of others??

Impossible questions to answer in a general way, I hope you find the way that helps your son and you.


I like that and appreciate your input. I saw him today and did not call the authorities. I couldn’t. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able but today I couldn’t. I think the Abilify has helped, but he is not going to take anything until he is ready. Question is, do I risk losing his trust and causing more trauma in the meantime. Very difficult decision to make and I need to think more about it. Thank you…


I will tell him this. The clinician told me something similar. Sadly, we had just hooked up with an advocacy team which was going to help him get job training, write a resume, join a music group, and get a free phone. This is the same group that is now trying to track him down. That will leave a very sour taste…


In the mean time, if you haven’t read this yet, you will likely find it VERY worthwhile to do so:


The usual line in the sand is, is he an active danger to himself or others? Is he taking dangerous risks that could endanger his life? As long as he is not violent or suicidal, it is probably worth it to just let him come around to the idea of meds in his own time.

If you are worried he might get himself or someone else seriously injured, then you have to intervene to restore safely. But if he’s just throwing his life away and not reaching his potential, well, a lot of us had to do that for a few years before we found ourselves. People on this site have dug their way out of homelessness, addiction, abusive relationships, and tons of other horrible situations. We are stronger and smarter after having gone through those experiences. It hurts to watch someone you love suffer, but it pays off eventually.


Holly67, I also need advice all the time, every day. I have no idea whether I’m doing the right things and I am afraid that what I do makes things worse…

So, if you figure something out, please tell me.


My son continually checks himself out of the hospital. As soon as he gets a little better out he goes. The system stinks they just don’t hold people long enough in my opinion. I hope your son gets better soon. Wish I could e of more help


The person I take care of went through this treatment and it is the cruelest most inhumane invention that will drive patients away from medication for all time. Several were chosen, way overdosed, causing serious breathing disorders, heart rate to 210 beats per minute. Heart arrhythmia, coma, brain freeze, high temperature, swelling of the face and arms. One medication put him in the psych ward for 5 extra weeks with confusion, amnesia. When on an order, we found no professional would help and appeal processes were imaginary. The medication was life threatening. He spent a week in hospital with Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome. I was treated with contempt when I complained. This never happened when he was on pills. It is harder to switch medications running a big risk of making things worse. This treatment is so cruel there is a much higher risk of suicide after treatment starts. It is terrifying if it is forced. It is harder to get the right dose as vials are not as tight. We found psychiatrists did not have a good grasp of depot injections and downplayed the serious errors.


Have you tried Invega Sustana? I haven’t heard my son complain about side effects yet. We’re hopeful.