Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Substance Inquiry

Hi,

I feel this is an odd question but no professional has been able to answer it. My Son has been struggling since he was 18 and officially diagnosed with schizophrenia unspecified at the age of 27. He is 30 now. My Son has a history of substance abuse since 18 and many trips to hospital and rehab.

My question is:

Can someone with schizophrenia have the insight to understand sobriety. My Son thinks alcohol Pot Meth helps him when in fact he ended up in very bad situations with the law hurting himself. I am exhausted trying to make him understand that he can’t use. His answer is I am mentally ill I am disabled and I am an addict. He tells me to give up on him. How can I do that?

Thanks
Vivian

2 Likes

I have sza, and used to be an addict. For me, I had to be alone in the world without support, as well as an overdose before I realized I needed to change. I think you should stop supporting him so he hits rock bottom, because that’s often what it takes. Others here may have a better solution but that’s mine.

I struggle with this sort of thing with my brother. He thinks it’s “acceptance”, I think of it as elaborate denial in disguise. His argument goes like this: I’m an alcoholic. I drink because of symptoms of my illness. My illness isn’t my fault, I have super special genetics that are stacked against me that I can’t change. Conventional treatments don’t work, because of my ultra special super secret type ABC negative tiger blood and on and on. Useless to argue with him when he’s drunk. When he sobers up and dealing with DTs and nosebleeds and other symptoms, he invariably say he “needs” to drink to sleep, for muscle relaxant to stop his muscles from twitching (DTs), and comically his last explanation was he needed the “brain cooling” of alcohol because his thoughts were too intense and it was overheating his brain.

So far the only things that seem to get through to him are hitting some form of rock-bottom, involuntary hospitalization (often due to arrest for some offense) and interventions by fellow alcoholics. The difficulty is his alcoholic friends also tend to send him off the wagon, because they don’t like to abuse alcohol alone. Almost got him into rehab once but he didn’t follow through. It’s tough, and I don’t have much in the way of answers other than to do everything in your power to limit his access to alcohol and drugs and anything that can be converted into them. And hope and pray he’ll find his way.

Edit: he has bipolar disorder, not SZ. I’m diagnosed with SZA which is typically considered a more disabling disease, but because of his drinking and lack of compliance with conventional treatments, he does much worse.

Hi,

Thank you and sounds familiar. My Son can use and drink alone. It’s tough I have exhausted pretty much everything I can do and as you know it makes the whole family ill. I understand his medical issue but the addiction is a bad demon.

Vivian

Hi,

Thank you so much for reaching out.
My Son has been in some situations where honestly I don’t know how he made it alive. I guess it’s the support that he still has from his Parents us.

He has been out there on his own not for long but cops told us to take him back because he would not survive.
It’s almost like he doesn’t have any survival skills or maybe the insight or maybe it’s too much and no longer cares.

Thanks again
Vivian

1 Like

Hi, my son (got ill around 15/16, and is 25 now), he would drink if he wasnt on his meds, and wants to smoke pot and thinks it helps him, although doctors say its not good.
I had a DNA test, its a cotton swab on the tongue, paid for by medicaid, and it tells what meds will be helpful, which are bad, ect…
So far, since I had that done, in March 2019, I got him on the meds…prior he was getting paranoid and running around our town, and wouldn’t take meds, or go to hospital…even escaped when the judge sent him there…I have to make him take am and pm, he wont remember, and takes about 3 days off of them and he gets very psychotic…
He is on trintillex, oxcabazene, and another… he hasnt gotten angry or out of it for a year now, and very occassional drinks a mikes hard lemonade. (Prior he would go by a gallon of Vodka and drink it all and throw up). He still isolates himself, and doesnt want to do much but video games and is just starting a little job.
I suggest everyone try to get the DNA test and get the right medicines. I tried to get him to do the 30, 60 or 90 day shot, but he refused. The doctors said those dont have the side affects.
We have had a lot of ups and downs, 9 hospitalizations, DV against me, jail, car crashes, gambling addiction, ect…so far with covid…his behaviors seem more normal if we go somewhere and people dont notice. Everyone acts a bit schitzophrenic paranoid out there…ha…
It is sad…glad he is not on the alcohal still…trying to get him to stop pot, but then I wonder if I was having these issues, maybe it would help…
I want him to go to groups for addictions, and just with the condidtions so he can have friends and understand the illness…

My son is an example of someone with scz who gained insight to understand sobriety. There was a stretch of time for several years where he used pot, alcohol, probably meth, was on and off psych meds, and in and out of the psych ward. I convinced/required him to go to rehab a few times and he quit each time. Since his last hospitalization, in 2018, he’s been clean, takes his meds, goes to his p-doc appointments. I don’t know all the reasons why, really. He doesn’t want to be homeless again. (Which he will be if he uses.) Maybe some maturity? He’s 27. One thing, though: don’t give up.

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Hi,

Thank you. I have not yet but getting close to it. My health is failing me and all this takes the little energy I have left.

Vivian

Hi,

I Totally understand. I don’t know if my Son will ever get off pot alcohol and meth has been an issue. Sometimes I think he does not fully understand the consequences. He thinks it’s survival for him. Right now I had to stop talking to him for a few days. I have suported him in everything but this addiction is bigger than we imagined.

Vivian

Dual diagnosis is very difficult to deal with.
And few practitioners are trained in dealing with it. My son was dual diagnosed and would say the same thing. Finding the right medicine won’t work as long as they’re taking drugs and taking drugs give them no insight. I found dealing with the drugs first helped but it’s very difficult. I tried everything. ALANON helped but
they emphasize not “enabling” which is a difficult concept for our loved ones. I found unconditional love, loving him through the worst of times and not react it poorly helped him get over the drug use. He hated himself and that’s why he took the drugs. Bathing him in love eventually showed him he was worthy.
It’s difficult to describe. It’s like being a horse whisperer. Eventually he calmed down, stopped taking drugs and the climatology kicked in. We are 18 years into it and he finally came through. I don’t know if it will last but I’m happy to see him take his meds on his own every morning and night because he knows they’re working. This population has many sensitivities and once you find them and eliminate them they will thrive. Sometimes, you can’t listen to the illness. You have to listen to your gut. Best wishes to you all.

Vivian, meth is so addictive and harmful to the brain. You need to get professional help ASAP or I hate to say it - you will lose your son. We have list so many if my sons friends, wonderful young men, to drugs. Just last month one overdosed on heroin. I cried fir a week as he was so sweet and because I know my son was close to that many times. Not talking isn’t enough. That may have helped you but not him. Talking and acting on it is what they need. I don’t believe in kicking them out but giving rules for staying such as being in treatment.

Hi,

Thank you and yes I know. I am encouraging him to go back into rehab but he does not want to. He has been many times. He is doing an out-patient program but it’s not offered daily.

Vivian

Hi,

Thank you for replying. I tried all that as well. My Son is 12 years into it and I know he wants to stop and does periodically but goes back. All I gave him was love and encouraged him but it has to click in his own head. Right now I have been going through my own depression as a result of loss in my family and I don’t know how to help him anymore.

Vivian

especially the meth. I do know one person, who finally got off of it, was on it since 20 to 45. He was homeless, he went to church, goes to church now, is off all drugs, got false teeth. doesnt talk much, but most people think he is pretty normal, works, makes good money now, got of cigarettes too a few years back after pnuemonia, and said he still desires it all, and thinks of it, but got off of them, just by deciding, and stayed off for about 12 years now.

Wow. Thank you it’s hopeful.

Vivian