Son refuses medication

My 29 yr. old son refuses to take his medication and is having worsening symptoms every day. I know I can’t force him to take medication but his anger and thoughts are directed at me his mother. I cannot be home alone with him as he thinks I am saying very inappropriate things to him and fear he will become physically violent. Does anyone have any positive feedback?

I’m not a family member, but I’ve been in the position of your son. I was very angry at my mother, and she dreaded physical violence even though I had no intention to be violent against her. I took on and got off medication for a few years, and it took me 10 years to come to terms with the anger I had in me. All that time she just took it, knowing that in part my anger was justified (there were a lot of bad things happening when I was a child and she was a big part of those things, to say so). She just took it like a mother would, hospitalised me by force when my symptoms worsened, then apologized for it even if she had no reason to do that.

In time, my symptoms got better, I had my own kid and husband and am taking my meds regularly.

So my feedback would be: do whatever you can to help him, show him positive attitudes, show him you have faith in his recovery and have all the patience it takes. It’s a lot to ask from you, but it will pay off when he realizes that being sick is not such a big deal.

Have you tried suggesting him to contact other diagnosed patients? (like those on the forum, for instance) If he’s just been diagnosed it will help him vent his anger and maybe see that other people feel or have felt like him too, and maybe that you are not to blame for his problems.

Thank you so much for your super quick response. I have suggested he talk with a peer support person around his age but I’ll tell him about the forum too. Your positive response helps me to see it doesn’t have to be a black hole.

My son is 20. He is currently med-compliant. It took 6 hospitalizations…

Using LEAP I think helped as it stopped us from arguing over it. - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner. - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.
Search Xavier Amador and LEAP on and you should find some long videos

I looked into how to discipline ADHD and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder)

I started discussing his medications in terms of anxiety relief (we both agree he has anxiety) and regulating dopamin as I think his brain produces too much of it. He didn’t like feeling like I was trying to fix him.

I have to remind/convince my girlfriend every night to take her medication. I programmed my phone to alert me with popup and alarm every night at 8pm. It also automatically sends her a text to remind her. Sometimes it’s difficult convincing her to take them.

Recently, a close friend of mine stopped getting his injections. He has a long history of becoming seriously ill and getting into dangerous situations when he goes off his medication. He lives in the UK and I only can talk to him on Skype or the phone. I am seriously concerned and worried about what’s going to happen. I try to convince him to get the shot but my words fail.

I too am at a loss for ideas.

You might have to have him move out of the house for your own safety. Sadly - its most often family members that get hurt in these situations.

Its also helpful to approach this issue as a problem of what does your son want better in his life and how can he get it. If you can get him to understand that the medications help him achieve what he wants in life - he’s going to be much more likely to take it.

We also have a good section on the site of how to deal with people who are having a psychotic episode:

Also - detailed Frequently Asked Questions here that might be of help:

There were times when I was psychotic that I saw the medications as punishment and not therapy. I was indignant that they were making me take them. You might think about having your son hospitalized and confronted about his behavior. If you are afraid of him you can make a good case that he is a danger to others. (The criteria for commitment in the US is that a person must be “a danger to himself or others” to be forcibly committed.) Hopefully they can get through to him that he has to stay on med’s.

Hi Artemisia and welcome to the forum.

Every time my son reached the point of what you describe we had him committed when he would not go voluntarily. That would be my suggestion to you. It is a very hard thing to do, but worth it in the long run. From what you describe you have grounds for commitment since he seems to be a threat to you.

My son has been hospitalized five times and he is FINALLY med compliant and I know without those hospitalizations we would not be as far along as we are today.

I’m sorry you are having to deal with this, but hang in there, things can and will get better.

I’ll definitely look up the website! I’m open to any ideas possible to improve the situation for the whole family. Thanks for your input.

Thank you for all your comments. There are very hard decisions to make and it is helpful to hear all the possible options.

If he becomes physically violent, you can court order meds and once he takes them he’ll feel better and think better.