Jane, my son is also a pacer. Drives me crazy at times. I wish there were two cases alike with sz but each person seems to be different than the next, the illness itself and the medications/side effects. But my son is also 25. He was just switched from the Paliperidone (Invega Sustenna injection) to Aripiprazole (Abilify injection). We are hoping he does a little better with mood, motivation and less pacing. It’s always nerve-wracking when he switches meds because what if it’s worse?
My son paces for two reasons. When his psychosis was really bad he would pace fast, hard, sometimes I’d see him throwing his arms around, kind of angry, talking to whoever he was seeing or hearing. It was a constant pace. Now he paces because “I think” of the medications. His doc said it’s part of akathesia. Makes sense. Now it’s a gentler pacing and he can actually talk to me while he’s pacing. He just can’t sit still sometimes. He paces and thinks or paces and talks to me. He’s not in the mental turmoil he was in and this pacing seems different, gentler.
He is taking propranolol 40 mg/3 x day right now to help with the akathesia. It seems to calm it down but it’s still a bit there, maybe out of habit. He often forgets his midday pill. My son is doing pretty well right now but if he slipped back even a bit I doubt very much he would take any of his pills.
When my son’s pacing was driving me a little insane I would (this is a bit creepy - haha) go outside at night and try to see in his window if he was talking to himself or someone. I couldn’t understand if he was still hearing or seeing things. When he thinks he’s by himself he’ll talk or thrash around a bit more if he’s in psychosis. The hospital had cameras in the rooms (patients didn’t know this) and they could always tell how bad their psychosis was by watching them when they were alone. So, if he’s having psychosis or it’s just side effects of meds would make a huge difference in how to help treat it.
I wish my son was well enough to go out and live on his own and succeed at it. I think he would be back in six months and worse than he is now. So for now he’s at home. He does the best when everything is calm around the house and I tell him he’s doing very well and he’s welcome to stay as long as he wants. He doesn’t have friends really and it makes me so sad. My hope is someday he’ll want to do a little more and have a friend or two he can get together with, even if they too are very low functioning.
And my son wears a winter coat with a hood 24/7. Even when he sleeps. It’s the oddest thing ever. I think it’s his security blanket. I’ve given up on getting him to take it off around the house when it’s hot outside. If we go places I’ll say, you should leave your coat in the car…it’s 80 degrees out and it’s a winter coat. He gets the picture and will leave it in the car. Who knows why but I think it makes him feel safe. He has two that are nearly identical so I can wash one while he’s wearing one. I’ve given up fighting him over his coat. haha
~~ hugs ~~