Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Suggestions for son recovering psychosis?


#1

Does anyone have any suggestions for helpful things to do during recovering psychosis.
My 17 year old has had 2 psychotic episodes. The first 2 years ago and the 2nd just recently. Was in the hospital for 20 days. They have now diagnosed him with schizophrenia. He has been at home now for a few days but is still cycling with the auditory hallucinations and delusions. He is on anti psychotic meds, ativan, propanolol and clonidine. I wish I could help him but right now he is in that distrustful stage of feeling he is being judged, doesn’t feel like anything is as bad as everyone is making it. Do I let him just be? Watch over him, but not hover? Let him ride out this cycle? Any suggestions would be so helpful. This hurts my heart so much that i cant wave the magic mommy wand and make it go away. Thank you!


#2

I am so sorry your family is going through this. It is so difficult. Recovery is a long process. A diagnosis is a great first step in healing, as scary as that label may be it opens the door to a lot of treatment options. It is really frustrating as a parent not to be able to “fix it,” and makes you feel really helpless to see your kid struggling and not be able to stop it and protect them from it. It might take a while before they find the best treatment for him. My advise is learn all you can about the illness, this place is a great resource, I’m glad you found it. A lot of compassionate people and examples of those who successfully adjust to this illness. We are here for you to share, and listen.

This illness effects different people in different ways. You’ll have to learn to trust your instincts. Lack of insight is part of this illness. He will not always have the insight to do what is in his best interests. You will have to experiment with different ways to reach him when he doesn’t want to help himself. Some of the best advise I can give is to always show compassion and calm. High emotions can have a very negative effect. Ask him what helps him. You may need to gently push him towards being around other people, self care like hygiene, complying with treatment when he doesn’t want to, but at the same time have patience that he will take on what he’s ready to deal with. Try to listen w/o judging. Try not to feed delusions by agreeing with them but be neutral enough about them that he can talk to you about them if he needs to. They are real to him. A lot of things will be baby steps, like being around other people. He may need to go from getting more comfortable being around you and your family, and then once that feels safe to him, may be going for short dinners out or to parks that are easy to leave when he needs to, and then graduating to more and more social situations. Help him explore what calms him, whether it’s listening to music, doing art, meditation, having a pet, whatever it is that helps him cope.

It seems really dire when someone is in the middle of an episode, but things can be better with time. Reach out to support for yourself, you are going to need it. There are NAMI support groups and practice lots of self-care.


#3

One symptom that 97% of schizophrenia patients suffer from is lack of insight. This means that the schizophrenia patient doesn’t fully understand their illness and the need for treatment. This symptom, in and of itself, can make patients stop taking medication simply because they do not believe they need it and do not believe they are sick.


#4

It took me living in hospitals for a few years before I made any improvement.
“Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”.


#5

Hi,

I am sorry and I cannot imagine how painful it would be for somebody to watch their loved ones helplessly. I actually have put together a few videos directed at helping a family understand our perspective of the situation. For example… I mention in one of the videos, it is human nature to find answers to things that we cannot understand. So, people, regardless if they have illness or not come up with “theories”

Only one problem… Our “theories” are delusions.

If you go to youtube and search for username Voice Of Schizophrenia I only have three up there so far, but maybe they’ll help.


#6

Is his schizophrenia spiritual in nature, because if it is it can be helped by hooking up with spiritual organisations. It stands to reason that spiritual paranoia or concerns are eased by volunteering with religious/spiritual organisations.

I personally had spiritual paranoia and I started volunteering with a religious organisation the Legion of Mary. They helped me back on my feel.


#7

My son is currently in the hospital from having a break. Medications take time to work. It’s a slow process over weeks and months.


#8

I used to basically be your son, now I am very highly functioning and healthy aside from smoking cigarettes which I just can’t stop. He’s 17, had an initial episode 2 years ago- that’s a little bit of an early onset. High school is not a good time to be struck with this illness, I got hit with it in my senior year but was already accepted and offered scholarships to colleges so I was safe. If the antipsychotic isn’t working, try a different one. It usually takes trial and error, even combinations of medications. I suggest seeing a psychiatrist with gray hair, they are proven to be better. I just made that up. But I am probably right, my doctors all have gray hair and say that they work with their experience and not the books they studied decades ago. Mine even called treating psychosis more art than science.

He needs medication. I have been on medication since summer of 2013 and my life has improved dramatically, actually rather unbelievably. Him taking medicine is a good thing and a sign that he has some level on insight.

Get him into NAMI meetings to be educated and support him on the challenging life he has to live. This illness is extremely serious, absolutely horrific and is lifelong. He needs insight and support.

I myself am an honors psychology student, I know that’s ironic, it’s what I am good at- I have a serious knack for abnormal psychology. I am doing well in the most ironic setting, I love it. He needs to find the right life for him- whether it’s in college, working, not working, volunteering while on disability, he needs to find the right life that makes him feel like the day is worth living. Elyn Saks citation needed- she concluded her memoir with stating that mentally ill people need to find the right life, whatever it may be.

I suggest you read Elyn Sak’s memoir “The Center Cannot Hold” and John Forbes Nash’s biography, they are both stories about how life can be remarkable despite severe cases of chronic schizophrenia.

First, he needs the right medication. Second, he needs insight and support. Third, he needs to take time to recover and find the right lifestyle.

About the right lifestyle…lol…this is interesting…I took time last year to try out different lifestyles while still staying in college, I did everything from nightclubbing every weekend to being on a competitive power lifting team. I had never even kissed anyone until around this time last year, now I have done much more than kissing with five people. I had always had some homosexual tendencies and came to terms with being bisexual, which helped me feel better because I had uncontrollable thoughts about other guys and my hallucinations would call me “gay” and “faggot”, which actually offended me personally. I made all A’s last academic year and am finishing up this semester. Dating has been…nah. I just find friends with benefits, that means having sex with people you are friends with but not quite dating or in a relationship with. I fell in love once, it was terrible, and when the guy dumped me, I spiraled down into an episode.

But hey, “man has no control, even over his own will”- whatever your son gets in his head that he wants to do, he may very well do. I learned that I just don’t give up- I see this illness as a challenge and feel proud to be “accursed” like one of my diagnosed friends and I call ourselves. Life will always be harder for him, but he will become a harder person because of it. I went from being legally insane to being asked to write a major journal article by a professor this past week. Life goes on. My life is not all sunshine and roses or whatever the saying is- it is a life that is without a doubt challenging but incredibly rewarding and worth living. I could ramble about how I vomited several times the other day out of nerves (school is getting intense and I am making decisions which will set the rest of my life in motion), but I just leave it at “life goes on.”

I hope what I said was worth something. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I would be glad to answer any questions, I have sort of been there and done that with this illness, I have a not pleasant past that I simply don’t post about- but if your son develops a substance problem, tries to kill himself, gets arrested, I have done that (and more) and can offer some insight that is backed up with no degree yet. LOL

But hey, knowledge without mileage is BS.