Teen Brother with Schizophrenic Symptoms


#1

I am 30 years old and have a much younger brother, 17 years of age, that has exhibited symptoms of Schizophrenia for the past 2 years. His therapist has him currently medicated for depression/ anxiety within the last 4 months. Since he has been on medication, he has become more talkative about his symptoms. Prior to medication, he was very withdrawn and quiet. Detailing voices that he has heard on one occasion, thinking that he was a robot and that everyone knew but him, and most recently believing that a few of his favorite movies were directed towards him and his life specifically. He has portrayed many physical symptoms, but has only begun detailing his inner thoughts to me within the past month or so. Our uncle is also schizophrenic, and my little brother understands some of the symptoms, but shrugs the idea of this possibility for him as a “crazy” idea. My mother has not told his therapist about the symptoms, and continues to push off the possibility as well. How can I bring this topic up to him regarding testing without causing him to feel as though I am violating his trust? I don’t want him to feel as though I think he’s crazy. I just want him to get treatment as early as possible if he does have schizophrenia as well. What are ways to bring this up to him?


#2

The sooner you get him help, the sooner he can get on track to healing. I would say, don’t go at it from the SZ angle, get him talking about his anxiety and depression. If he’s taking meds for that, then he’s accepted that.

Just check in and if He brings up the other symptoms, reassure him that you’re not upset by this, and you can tell him, “I don’t know anything about what your feeling, but there might be a doc out there who can help you feel better. Did you want to try?” If the doc does the diagnosis then the doc is the bad guy and not you.

I went through a period where I didn’t want to believe I had this. Why would anyone admit to this? You see it as much as I do I’m sure… Sz gunman flips out and kills children in a theater, Sz guy flips out and kills man on bus, Sz guy flips out and kills a baby… and that wasn’t me. I wasn’t some baby killing monster that the news keeps talking about, so I’m obviously NOT SZ. (but I am.)

You say you have an Uncle who is fighting this illness… you could get some books and just read up on them and if your brother asks, your trying to understand your Uncle better. But don’t try and diagnose from the books. There are a lot of things that could be factors.

Bipolar has a lot of our symptoms
Schizoaffective disorder has a lot of our symptoms
There is a long list of illnesses that have a lot of our symptoms.

I’m reminded of this too…

So you really need a pro to look at him.
The best thing you can do is listen and reassure and let him know you love him.

Good luck and keep your options open and read up on what SZ really is, and most of all, keep being a friend.


#3

Love can go a long way in my opinion. I would say to help him to realize that acknowledging that he may have sz in no way diminishes who he is or will have an affect on how you feel about him.

With my son it seems to help that we don’t discuss sz much. We discuss anxiety and about 6 months ago, I don’t remember exactly when, I started talking about regulating neurotransmitters like dopamine and seratonin rather then trying to ‘fix’ him. He doesn’t need fixing. Just last night he was discussing/asking which neurotransmitter his Gabapentin/Neurontin affects as we can’t figure out why he is getting an affect from a anti-convulsion med but he is.

Ask him if you can attend one of his therapist meetings with him. Do your best to let him know that you are acting or speaking from a space of love. I find when I ask my son if I can speak/talk to his workers I get a better response.


#4

I agree with J and Barbie. The fact that he talks to you means you are already ahead. Yes, it would be a good idea to see if you can convince him to talk to the doctor himself…and that you will go with him if he wants. If not, give him some time, he will come around. Good luck to you.


#5

Maybe call up the therapist and tell him/her yourself?
They can’t tell you anything because of confidentiality, but from what I have noticed on here you can tell them things.
The sooner this get managed the less time he has to get into trouble. Like self medicating.
What do you guys think?
I’ve never been in this situation.
I’ve just read a lot of self medication horror stories on here.


#6

It is my understanding that yes even though a therapist or psychiatrist can’t give out information they can listen. I do believe there is a growing trend for this to happen as family input can be very important considering how common anosognosia and lack of insight can be.