Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

What Do You Do When Loved One "Acts Out"?

My husband who is totally blind plus sz has been off his meds 3 weeks (he felt they didn’t work, he didn’t need them, side effects were bad, all meds are the same so why bother). While he still refuses to try a new med, his behavior has deteriorated rapidly. He fights with his voices, loud, angry, threatening discussions 24/7. He doesn’t threaten me or treat me bad at all, but its difficult to get his attention. He can not be distracted. He’ll speak loudly about sexual preferences, killing who ever is in his head at the moment, cusses, make loud noises, yells in his secret language - consisting of making the same sound over and over again. This is at home but also in public so I’ve been discouraging going out (we are both retired-and I am the only one at home with him; we have no children and family is too far to help).

  1. What do you do when this happens? I’ve tried to calm him, but he shakes me off and continues his tirade.

  2. Is this reason enough to have him committed to a hospital? Would they accept him or does he have to be on the verge of hurting himself or others as I’ve heard. Because he is blind, I can not leave him for long periods to get a break and I hate being around him when he’s like that plus I’m scared what he’s going to do next.

I can’t do the tough love thing-he’s pretty helpless and I do love him and will not quit on him. I just know I can’t keep going like this before I say the wrong thing like screaming at the top of my voice Stop it which won’t help, will it?

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  1. You just have to ride it out, honestly. They’re going to scream at you and say awful things, but you just have to ride it out and be patient. I had this happen to me today, all I could tell him was to relax and get the nurses to give him Ativan because he was having a panic attack.
  2. Yes, if he’s acting angry or violent he can be committed. Consider perhaps hiring a caretaker, which will allow you some time for regeneration and to take care of yourself as well.

Thats kind of a relief in one sense that I just have to let it ride and not that I failed because I didn’t do the ‘right’ thing. I will look into the caretaker option-the VA may help with that. Thanks.


I would call crisis line and have social workers listen to his tirades over the phone or come to the house and observe what is happening.

None of us have to ride it out. You have the same choices any other person would have in that situation. None of us have to live with verbal abuse or uncontrolled tirades. We make choices based on our relationships and these can be revisited at any time.

It would be good to know whether he can keep himself under control if others are present.

Everyone’s different; get a professional opinion, not the internet’s.


No problem, I know how it feels to feel like you’re not doing/being good enough for someone or doing things correctly. I got a call back from him in the hospital and he felt better and apologized for reacting that way.

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I agree with @Doctor so long as there is no direct health or safety issue, I ride it out, it usually passes within 2-3 days and is quickly forgotten (or not even remembered) by him (my son) if I made a huge fuss over it just because I didn’t want to be called names or be “disrespected” for a brief time it would make it worse for him and probably prolong the episode which would be worse for me. I also agree wholeheartedly about getting some “respite” for yourself however that is possible, you do need time to regenerate. My best to you @ANNECHANG .

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Hey everyone - I’m not a fan of the ride it out approach if it’s long-running. I did like the idea to call the Crisis line and get their advice. If you have PERT team locally it’s good to get them to come out and speak with him. You need to expect to have a reasonable living situation. We have put up with our son’s threats and screaming for many years before it escalated into abuse to my husband and me. Now we say we love you but you’ll be out if there are any threats or unreasonable behavior.

Trust your instincts and be brave! Get an advocate or two to help be on your side too!


I can look into that. I’ll see tomorrow if they do that here. I’ve been video taping his outbursts-I can go to the VA Mental Health Center too and they may be able to do more. Last tome they offered to have him picked up and taken to the psychiatric ward for evaluation, but he agreed to go back on his meds unfortunately it didn’t last long. Thanks for your suggestions.

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Not sure where you live, but here in Texas we have trained police who are very gentle with mentally ill. If you call 911 or the mental crisis unit they will send someone out to evaluate him. If they think he could be a threat to himself or you they take him to hospital. Long lasting shots might be good for him to try.

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He definitely needs to be back on his meds, my son had to be mandated by the mental health court because he was in denial. From there he,was put on shots twice a month, so you knew the meds were in his system. He was admitted to the hospital because of his bizarre behavior and they had him mandated, because he refused to take his meds. It’s a very sad situation for him and you.

Thanks everyone! It came to a head this morning when he threatened to hurt me so I called the police. They were wonderful. It took 8 of them to hold him down and tranquilize him, but they got him to the hospital and I was told that they intend to commit him. I haven’t seen him yet-I wasn’t allowed in the psych emerg ward. Hopefully this will start him on meds again.

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I’m very sorry to hear that @ANNECHANG ,hope he gets better soon. :sweat:

I’m sorry you both went through that, but really glad he is getting medical help.

Peace and comfort to you, @ANNECHANG.

If he doesn’t take his meds it’s not going to get better. The longer someone is in psychosis the longer it’s takes to get back to their baseline. Just my opinion from dealing with our schitzoaffective son for the last 15 years.

It is heartbreaking. My son has taken monthly shots for the last 8 months it he is doing much better.

If you feel threatened for yourself or your husband then call 911. I had to do it once but it was absolutely necessary

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They can go to court and mandate he take the meds., if he refuses them. Good luck.

Hi Anne,

I agree with Doctor – it sounds like you have to ride it out. You wrote that you and your husband are retired. Was your husband diagnosed with sz at an older age versus late teens and twenties. Just curious - maybe he has something else and not sz. As far as I know most states in the USA will hospitalize a mentally ill person against their will only if they are a danger to themselves or others.

I sympathize not being able to take a break because your husband is blind and needs someone present at all times. It’s an awful feeling when you feel trapped. All I can offer you is what I do to calm myself down. I talk to myself and tell myself – it’s okay, you are okay Molly - everything is going to be fine – over and over again, I talk to myself in a very soothing soft and slow voice. I also practice yoga breathing and that helps a lot. If I’m unable to take a long walk (a real stress reducer) I find an activity I enjoy doing. One thing I do that may sounds terribly tedious and boring is I wash and dry laundry and we have mountains of them. After the clothes are dry in the dryer I love folding all the clothes in a certain way and I have 3 baskets by me for each of the kids and me. I even wash and dry my daughter’s clothes. I just find the folding clothes so calming -----almost like counting prayer beads.

I wish you and your husband the best.


I also like doing laundry:)


I get that - it accomplishes something and brings some order to your life.