Son won't take meds

Hello, my son is 19 and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia about a year ago. He has none stop chatter(voices) that he hears all the time. He smells things that no one else can and has horrible visions of what he calls demons. He refuses to take mess because they are poison . Or that’s what the voices say. Some days are good, others bad. It breaks my heart to see him struggle. He seems to have a different perspective on the world as if in his own words , he’s dreaming. He talks about what ifs all the time. What if we really are not hear and this is all a dream . I am the only one he can trust and talk to. but still stays distant . The voice beat him down , telling him how worthless he is . Any suggestions on how I can get him to start his meds again.

Keep trying new meds. Give each one a month or two. If he finds meds that help him he will be more likely to take them.

Otherwise it’ll take a while for him to realize that it’s all in his head and then he’ll at least be able to relax a bit, which will probably reduce the intensity of the hallucinations on its own.

It’s gonna be a rough couple of years at least.

Be as supportive as possible. He’s going through something that no one should face and unfortunately he has to do it alone.

Sorry this has happened to him.

Maybe find articles about paranoid schizophrenia online and print out articles that talk about how helpful medication is and how people with paranoid schizophrenia who take medication generally have a better prognosis and suffer less than people who don’t. And show him the articles. And maybe if he sees down in black and white it might make an impression on him. And in that same vein, maybe you could find some personal stories of people with schizophrenia and their struggles when they do not take their medication.

Maybe a long acting, time released shot would help him.

Can you get him to elaborate on poison? Perhaps the side effects are upsetting him and he’s interpreting it very vividly. Things that can help calm him (obviously if he is willing, sometimes gentle coaxing can help) are taking him for drives or walks. Nighttime can be good because it’s dark and therefore less stimulating. Take him for ice cream. Normal things to help him observe ordinary life without him having the pressure of socializing with people in “reality.” If there is somewhere you can drive him that he enjoyed before his symptoms appeared, it can help to ground him and pull him back a little. The more he can see and feel of his life before this, the more he can begin to get out of his head. From there he may be more willing to try taking his medication. The reality is that everyone’s reality is different. In psychosis the difference is very extreme. So many things that he can ask “what if” about are valid. That makes it harder to dispel the ideas. For me, the only thing that helped is to use different methods of distraction. Now that things are much better for me, I still can remember the “what ifs” and I can still validate them. I do not dive into analyzing them because I know I won’t get answers, as I know I cannot have answers to questions in my present reality or the reality that is generally accepted by society. I know the pain of having to break things apart. Delving into analysis is painful and detracts from the other things I am doing. I still wrestle with it, but I know warning signs for when I’m becoming too anxious or have brain pressure and try to calm myself with something else. It’s not so much about fighting against him asking questions, but guiding him to questions or activities that aren’t going to cause anguish.

In deep deep states of psychosis (or depression, etc) the person is often incapable of pulling himself back into reality alone. If there are times you have to bring him food because he is too far gone to remember to eat, or try to pull him out of bed because he can’t get up, it’s ok.

Having someone who isn’t giving up on him is wonderful. It won’t be easy on you, but it is great for him. There is a balance between making sure he’s not in danger and giving him space that is a challenge to learn. Make sure to take time for yourself too.

**Its good that he trusts and is able to talk to you. Do a lot of listening and make gentle suggestions. He is not unusual in not taking meds. My son is still not compliant. What did help were the injections. Once a month. My heart goes out to you-this is a long journey for both of you. As long as he trusts you, you will have a leg-up on this illness.
Join a local support group-you will need it.

Please look at these sites: - 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 on YouTube for more videos
Building A Collaborative Relationship “LEAP”

Treatment Advocacy Center - under problems you will see anosognosia
Anosognosia looks like denial but is different.

Does your state have Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT)? It is court ordered treatment which frequently the only way get a person with schizophrenia compliant with meds. If you aren’t aware of it, some caseworkers just won’t tell you about it, even when it is available as an option.