Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Son Just Ran Out - Schizophrenia - Advice?


#1

My nineteen year old son was in a hospital a month ago. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, however, I don’t think he hears voices, however very delusional. In the hospital, they finally got him to take Zyprexa, but when he got out, it was a Friday night, and the prescription they gave me had not been authorized through my insurance and long story short, we didn’t get it for two days. That Monday we went to the pdoc and he told her he didn’t like Zyprexa so she put him on Risperdal. He took one and the night that he did he had an episode. He HATES taking pills and I can’t stress how much the pill taking sets him off. He complained of Risperdal 1mg (remember, only took one pill) and so we got Invega 3mg. He has refused to take them.

I have tried LEAP ( in process ), NAMI, read I think just about everything I can on this subject of non-compliance. I have left my job to take for him and now I am severely depressed. His dad, who lives a half mile away, and has been good to him in the past, has refused to answer my texts or emails. I am by myself.

This morning, I said that I needed a break. I wanted him to go stay with his dad for a bit. I just need a break. He called the Suicide Hotline and then came upstairs. We talked for a bit as I asked him if he felt like killing himself and he said he felt like jumping off a bridge. It crushed me so as we were sitting on the stairs talking, he started getting very angry and I felt like he was going to do something to me. I said “don’t yell at me” and he started screaming and walked out the door.

He has never hurt me or his dad, or his sister. But he has talked of it. I’ve seen this coming for about a week now and I know that what he needs is hospitalization. To start on meds again, so we can reach him.

Does anybody have any suggestions? Thank you


#2

Hi Holly,

That sounds like a really difficult situation. Is the issue your son has around “pills” or more broadly with “medication”? I’m just wondering because there are the options of long acting injection medications that can last 1 to 3 months - which make the issue of ongoing treatment much easier.

Also - are you in contact and discussion with the psychiatrist your son has? Does he know the status and what has been happening? You can always leave a message with the doctor (and send a letter as a backup so that there no question that they know) so that they have a full picture of the struggle your son is having?

We have many suggestions here that may be of help in your situation:

http://schizophrenia.com/family/FAQgen.htm#whattodo

I hope this helps.


#3

And also this link:

http://schizophrenia.com/family/FAQgen.htm#law


#4

The hardest part of this is that it sounds unlikely that you have guardianship, so it may be difficult to get him hospitalized. What was the basis for his previous hospitalization? If he is talking about self-harm, that would be all you need to initiate a hospitalization. Or if you feel he might be harmful to someone else.

Your son’s behavior sounds similar to those I and other parents have experienced, and it is very difficult to remain cool and clear-headed and not take it all personally. You will develop more coping skills over time. It all feels very personal, but it probably doesn’t really have so much to do with you as it does with the internal struggles your son is experiencing.


#5

Thanks Vallpen. His first hospitalization was because he had no money to buy weed so he took a Starbucks giftcard and purchased two extra large sized cups of espresso. They equaled to 72 shots of espresso. He called me to come pick him and on the way I got a call from the paramedics who had been called to Starbucks because of his peculiar behavior. I told them that he needed to be taken in for a 72 hour hold and had actually been waiting for an opportunity for it to happen. Up until then, he refused any sort of counseling. They diagnosed him almost on the spot.

And as an update, he came home today and found himself locked out. I left him clothes, money, longboard, phone charger, and a list of numbers to call for help by the front door. He called the paramedics himself and is now back in the hospital


#6

When I was med. non-compliant what eventually brought me around was the timed released shot of Haldol decoate. They have time released shots of other med’s too. You might broach this subject with your son’s doctor. You have my sympathy. When I was psychotic I thought I was the one who was reasonable, and everyone else was irrational. I constantly thought of ways to try to scare people away from me and get them to leave me alone. Needless to say, it backfired.


#7

So sorry you are on your own with this, it must be unbelievably difficult
Hospital is probably the best option

The docs there are very good at getting people to take meds


#8

Risperdal and zyprexa can be harsh. I would suggest something lighter, like say Goedon or Abilify. Neither worked out for me, but for some people they work well with fewer side effects. Just the same, risperdal is consumer reports top recommended antipsychotic. I take it, 3mg. That said, going on and off these meds can make it worse with withdrawal. Be careful about that. If you force him on them (not saying you shouldn’t try) if he decides to go off them he might become worse.


#9

I am impressed that he checked himself back in! Good for him!


#10

theres a range of anti psychotics to choose from…he might like to try clopixol or clozapine. If he doesn’t like meds period, then some people find comfort in spirituality. I as a schizophrenic have found great comfort in spirituality. I overcame my paranoia by volunteering with a Christian organisation The Legion of Mary. Spirituality was the answer for me.


#11

Me too. When the paramedics came, they assumed it was me who called and I thought it might be a neighbor, but it was him.


#12

The behavioral specialist who admitted him into the ER called me yesterday. My son said some things to him which prompted him to call me and tell me that is was necessary for him to file a police report. I don’t like to downplay my son’d mental state, whatsoever, but he acts and says things for attention. Everything is so dramatic to him. He has never laid a hand on me or anyone in our family. Not even close. So I am wondering if anybody has any experience in this area. What happens when that police report is filed. Obviously it goes on his record which is going to damage his record permanently but as far as evaluation. Could his violent talk get him situated somewhere more ling term? I cannot believe this is happening. I am beside myself right now


#13

I don’t quite understand why they feel they need to file a report if he didn’t actually do anything, was just talking about it. Maybe they want the police to just check into the things he is talking about. The last time my son was hospitalized, a police report was filed because there was some actual violence involved. His case was funneled to the mental health court, which is a process of following people to make sure they stay on meds, work with case management, etc. After a period of 6 months to a year, if all goes well, the case is removed from a person’s record.


#14

Hi there,

You have my sympathy for what you’re going through. I’ve gone through a lot of what you are experiencing. My son was diagnosed about 5 years ago and has never been consistently med-compliant. He has had five hospital stays. We’ve had to commit him two times ourselves.

Finally in May 2014, his last hospitalization, he was placed on a monthly injection, Invega Sustenna. With all he had been through (a couple of stints in jail too) I think even he finally realized he needed something. Like your son, he always hated taking pills and has been completely on board with the injection, which works quite well, I might add. Sounds like your son would be a good candidate for an injection. I have even taught myself how to administer it:)

When unstable, my son too would have spells where he would lose his temper and scream at me and his dad. It’s so unsettling and scary. I would literally be shaking so bad that I could barely hold anything in my hand, wanted to cry but had to put on a calm, brave face. I have learned in these situations that silence is golden. There is no way to reason with him and if I did he would just get angrier, so I’ve learned to convey a calm and quiet demeanor when he’s like this. Hard to do.

I’m a little perplexed about the police report on your son too. Not sure about that. Maybe it will work out to your advantage where they might make him go through a mental illness court. I can only say that I’ve had to really learn to let things go as best I can. What is going to happen is going to happen. My son has a police record now, all because of his illness.

Hang in there Mom, things will get better, although I know how terribly difficult it is going through it. It’s a process it seems :worried:


#15

I used to be like your son. Violent and unreasonable, totally deluded too. When i was 17 (am now 18 and on meds), my parents had to literally force me into the car to go talk to a therapist who after a couple of months convinced me to go to the hospital.

Just know that your son could use all the love you have. For me i was really dying inside during the violent psyhotic break. Its really confusing.

Good luck with everything. i really hope it turns out well


#16

Visited him tonight. He is taking risperdal but said they are going to switch him to clozapine tonight. I’ve heard this helps with extreme cases. There is a lot of bloodwork with this med which is scary. He is not taking these meds because he wants to. He’s taking the pills because he said otherwise they would give him an injection. Just so worried about when he gets out. Really don’t know what to do. I am fearful already


#17

Clozapine is widely recognized as the best antipsychotic out there - if the person doesn’t react negatively regarding the white blood cell count.

But - you might also talk with the doctors about the injectable options to make his life easier. There is a new three month injectable:

Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Tuesday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new version of a Johnson & Johnson schizophrenia treatment that only requires four doses per year.
The FDA approved under a priority review the long-acting version of J&J’s Invega — called Invega Trinza — for patients with the often disabling neurological disorder, Janssen said Tuesday. Drugs approved under priority review tend to “offer significant improvement in the treatment of serious conditions,” according to a news release.


#18

This is good to know. I’m going to check this out. Thanks!


#19

Thanks. How old is your son? I’ve had people in my NAMI groups tell me that their young adults became easier to handle as they matured. Have you found that true in your case?


#20

My son is 26, diagnosed at age 20. I do think it’s true that as they mature, it does become a bit easier. But honestly what has made it easier for us is the monthly injection. Getting to that point was 5 years of hell though. He was in and out of psychosis and did some horrible things to me and his dad, and sister.

Things went really well for many months after starting the injection, but for the past month or two he has been doing worse and I’m sure it’s because he is doing illicit drugs. He has always been addicted to something, whether it be marijuana, alcohol, or who knows. We are still struggling with that. I don’t even know what else to do. We have had him in a dual diagnosis center, counseling, talked to him till we’re blue in the face, etc. I have to try and let go of it because obviously I can’t control it, as much as I want to. If my son was not doing these things, things would be so much better.

I recall doing the NAMI classes when son first became sick. We were so bright and full of hope. The couple who sat next to us seemed beaten down. Five years later, we have become that couple :frowning: .

I think in your case, if somehow you can get your son med compliant, whether it be pills (which we never had any luck with) or injection, it would do wonders for him. Do you think you the courts could force him to do it? It’s usually easier when an outside higher authority orders them to do it. Also, I would sure let the police/courts know that you are in fear of your safety with him in his current state, and that your son talks of hurting you.

My son actually likes the Invega Sustenna injection he is taking. I can tell it makes him feel better. He had so many really bad experiences with hospital stays and jail stints, that he knows he doesn’t want that again. It seems in so many cases that they have to hit rock bottom before things start to improve.

Please keep us posted on his situation.

Take care,
A friend in the struggle