Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Struggling with brother suffering from psychosis

Hi I just joined this forum tonight. I’m actually desperate for some sort of answer or help or something… My brother is 23 and he has suffered PTSD for the past 4 years he has been on antidepressants and lived off Xanax for anxiety. Last year he completely lost his mind and basically lived in a made up world and ended up in a mental institution for 3 months. For the past 4 years he smoked weed which made everything a whole lot worse he has now quit completely but nothing is getting better he takes Zyprexa and is now on 10mg he was originally on 25mg, 150mg efexor and serequal as needed, mirtazapine to go to sleep. He is still delusional, he thinks we have his cure but we aren’t giving it to him, he thinks he has a family and kids which he doesn’t he is blaming us for taking his life away. I honestly don’t know what to do anymore he sees a psych but acts completely normal to him. I feel like my whole world has come crashing down even when he’s having a good day I’m waiting for the bad to follow. This is torture for all of us… I have 3 kids of my own and I feel as though I have no energy to raise them because my whole life revolves around my brothers mood. I’m so sad but I have no tears left to cry. My heart is hurting everyday looking at him because our hands are tied and we can’t help him. Sometimes he gets really bad but I don’t want to call an ambulance because I’m scared he’ll blame me even more I honestly don’t know what to do I’m so scared

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Hi and welcome to the forum,

I am so sorry to hear about your brother, I can understand how frustrating, heartbreaking and exhausting it is to love someone who is struggling with mental illness. Does your brother live with you and your family? and-What was his official diagnosis, other than the PTSD?

From what you posted it sounds like he might need to have his current medicine regiment re-evaluated and if he sees the doctor alone then it is very possible that the doctor doesn’t get the full accurate picture of what he is experiencing from day to day. The doctor needs as much accurate information as possible on his behaviors, reactions and any side affects that all of these meds could be causing or influencing. Calm predictable stability is the second biggest factor next to having the correct medicine regiment to get anyone with mental illness closer to recovery or at least sound stability.

With all of your responsibilities to your children it is very understandable that you can’t be everything that your brother needs right now. You have to take the best care of yourself so you can be everything your children need. I would recommend to contact the NAMI organization (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) and hopefully there is a chapter in your city. They are a wealth of useful information and support and they offer free classes for families and caregivers of loved ones with mental illness.

The class called “Family to Family” which I took several years ago, was invaluable to me. It also opened up a network of individuals that could relate to me and my situation and some of them are still my friends and support today. I wish I had more help to offer right now, but feel free to ask any questions you wish or message individually if you like. I wish you and your brother the best going forward. In the meantime, be kind to yourself.

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Hi Catherine

Thank you for your reply
He was only diagnosed with drug induced psychosis while he was in hospital but that was a year ago
He has been seeing his psychiatrist but he presents so well that the phychiatrist doesn’t see that side of him that he hides so well. When I call him to let him know the real situation he goes and tells my brother that I’m concerned and my brother just brushes it off and makes it out like nothing is wrong. It is the hardest situation I have ever faced in my life. I’m trying my absolute hardest I am trying to support my parents because it’s seriously breaking them but I’m at a dead end everything I do doesn’t work. My life revolves around his mood and the saddest part is he doesn’t see that he thinks we are all against him.

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I want to thank everyone on this forum for all there support it means allot to me that I can come here when I think there is no hope


Maybe you can write a letter to the psychiatrist and explain how he is able to change his presentation and let the doctor know what you see and experience with him and don’t leave anything out. He will have to at least consider it. I had to do that with my sister who is schizoaffective. She got angry at me but she got a much needed change in meds ( in my experience all mentally ill people get angriest at the ones doing the most to help them-once they get stable they rarely remember the anger they felt when ill) …also as an FYI rarely some people do okay with xanax as a way to curb anxiety but in my own experience it is habit forming for those with a propensity toward addiction and withdrawing from it can be a hellish experience. I just say that is something to consider with caution, it is normally only meant for a short period of use 2-4 weeks but people like my sister took excessive amounts for 5 years until it almost did her in, now she takes wellbutrin with much better results.

Thank you for your reply
He is currently taking 10mg Zyprexa (Olanzapine) and 150mg Effexor he takes serequal as needed which is usually twice a day. He doesn’t take the Xanax anymore he did take it for a long time along with weed and he was in a really bad way. He doesn’t refuse medication now but I feel it’s not enough I told the doctor and he said it’s a really hard situation and he doesn’t know what to do he’s worried if he changes medications that it will make him worse for a period of time, I feel as though the doctor doesn’t completely believe what I tell him because when my brother sees him he acts completely normal and in control

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That is such a tough situation to be in. You said he will take his medications, that is good but is he taking them properly? On time etc…correct amounts…and is he doing anything that might interfere with them working like drinking or adding something unknown that he could maybe get from friends? Other things that can interfere with effectiveness is lack of sleep, poor diet, or excessive smoking…do you think any of these things might apply? Has he had a physical recently? Sometimes unknown physical ailments can contribute to erratic behavior. Just trying to think outside the box, hope you don’t mind. My heart goes out to you. :heart:

He was smoking weed up until 8 weeks ago which he has stopped and is getting voluntary drug screens, he is taking his medications properly but we have been trying to wean him off the Zyprexa due to excessive weight gain which is contributing to his depression the doctor has him down to 10mg but can’t change his meds until he is completely off the Zyprexa which is pretty much impossible. He was supposed to go see his doctor today but he asked me if I called the doctor and told him that he wasn’t feeling well and I replied yes, now he doesn’t want to see the doctor anymore because the doctor is going to ask him why he was ‘angry’ he is completely delusional he thinks my kids are high on drugs and that I am keeping his cure from him. He is saying that if I don’t give him his cure by 8pm he is going to go crazy, he thinks he has a wife and kids that we aren’t letting him see… I’m so scared of what is to come im trying to be strong for my family but part of me wants to escape all of this and run away but I can’t this is my reality I guess I just don’t know how I’m going to cope with all of this.

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I hear how stressed you are. It is extremely stressful. If you have any option to receive personal counseling I would try to take advantage of it if only to have one more knowledgeable person, perhaps with more resources to confide in. I was in counseling for several years dealing with the aftermath of caring for my own sz son through the worst of illness. He’s much better today thankfully, but I neglected my own self for a long time and it took a toll. Call NAMI if you get a chance this week and see what resources or ideas they can offer. I wish you a better week ahead.

Find a psychiatrist who will listen to you and is licensed to treat him with Clozapine. The med protocol you describe doesn’t sound like a very good one to me. My son is 24 and he took latuda with no affect, high dose of zyprexa (10 mg is nothing) next and it was not good and finally seroquel. He was on 650 mg of Seroquel every day (not just when needed???) and it was the best of those he had tried. However, he still needed marked improvement so we went the Clozapine route (the only med that works when nothing else does) and it lives up to its reputation as being the gold standard for treating this dx. There are side effects and hoops to jump through that are inconvenient but totally worth the effort. My son’s problem with substance abuse is the marijuana and we are continually working on that. In the meantime, being personally familiar with Xanax and Effexor, I would not want him on those. They are highly addictive and can cause deadly withdrawal. Furthermore, Xanax really messes with memory and is not good for maintaining cognition, which you don’t want him to losel Seroquel is highly sedating and will knock him out at night so long as he takes it at a sufficient dose, every single day and at bedtime. With that, he should not need anything else for sleep. My son fooled the psychiatrist too but I made a separate appointment of my own and gave him the clear picture and then the psychiatrist had a better understanding of the situation. I hope this helps. This is a wicked dx and not for the faint of heart. My son also takes Cymbalta and has all along with the other meds.

I find this post so concerning. Perhaps a change and doctors overmedicated with wrong doses in the wrong family of meds from our experience Seroquil isn’t even at a maintenance dose and that’s your anti-psychotic. Is he just starting Seroquil and building up to his dose overtime? Until the antipsychotic gets to a dose which Well control of the delusions he will continue to be unstable it took six weeks for us to get up to the correct maintenance dose of 400 onSeroquil. At each dose decreased paranoid delusions anxiety all continue to decrease why so many meds? Once The antipsychotic medication gets up to the correct dose anxiety depression delusions and psychotic episodes should be under control. We take one med guy and a psychotic when it’s at the right does it controls and decreases all symptoms do not need the antidepressants or any of that other stuff. Of course this is just our experience and our doctor but we have everything under control successful with the least amount of meds and side effects she is very successful a controlling her symptoms on this regimen working full-time no psychotic breaks know depression anxiety is At a minimum. I wish you the best of luck and I urge you to perhaps do a change in doctors I am very concerned

I to accompany my daughter to every doctors appointment to make sure that he gets a clear vision of exactly what is going on as her answers tend to be the standard fine to everything