Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

What type of work is good for Schizophrenia son

My son is 32 years old and was diagnosed with Schizophrenia a few months back. He is on Risperidone which has eliminated the voices in his head and eliminated suicide thoughts. He was hospitalized for several weeks and many visits to the ER until we found the right meds for him. He lost his job as a Graphic UI Designer making decent money. He now is trying to work as a cashier at a local Grocery store and living with us - his parents. I do not know how long he can keep it up. He is not happy and complains about a sore shoulder. I know he is waiting for me (dad) to tell him to quit because of his shoulder pain. Am I making a mistake making him work? Thanks

My thoughts are that if his symptoms are well controlled, and if that is what he enjoys and has talent for, he should consider finding work similar to what he was doing before.

What was the reason he is working at the job he has now? Is it for financial reasons? Social reasons?

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I agree with @vallpen. Plus, I think computer work is ideal for someone with social anxiety. A lot of Graphic designers can work from home.
You’re so lucky to have him so functional at this early stage that I would be more concerned about his well being and happiness than him working for the sake of working.
Plus… STRESS is a HUGE problem and symptom trigger for SZ patients. You definitely have to consider that.

His Doctor felt that working full time at a job as a Graphic UI will require him to probably move out of state again (no local jobs) and live alone. He has tried free lance but with no luck - he gives up quickly. Also, he seems to have lost interest sitting at a his work station doing anything graphic related. He stop playing with his playstation, no social media and anything that requires sitting down performing a task on his computer has stop. The job he has now is part time and is more busy work and being around people. I have tried to get him back on his work station but he loses interest so fast. I try to stress that it is important to keep your portfolio up to date but he is not ready.

Vallpen - my son just wanted to make a living and not depend on me for support. He was also hoping that if continues to work that soon he could move out. However, I cannot see him living alone yet.

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Some of this is good - he has self-motivation to be employed. It is awesome that he has the desire to be independent. Sounds perhaps that he is putting this stress on himself, which really is not surprising, since he has been successfully employed. Sounds like you are providing him with good emotional support and trying to give him the best guidance. Hopefully he will understand that his brain needs time and patience to heal.

Maybe he just selected the wrong thing, and should continue to look around. If he has any interest in volunteering, keeping his professional skills up in that way might help, and the feel-good of volunteering might provide enough motivation, plus allow him to limit the time to what works for him at this time. That drop in pleasure in doing what was previously enjoyable is one of the Negative Symptoms of schizophrenia. If you aren’t yet familiar with what those are, you might want to learn about them, and help your son understand what he is dealing with.

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You and your son are so fortunate that he has a job and can work…my son has been out of work now for so long he will never step back into the routine …my opinion is don’t stop work, do the best work ethic ever and set a goal to move forward as and when you can…Got a job…gets a job…but if you don’t have a job you have 4 purple heads! doin the best job everyday. Builds self confidence…changes are challenges

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Hi there. I have been browsing these forums just to see what family caregivers experience for a while. I am diagnosed with schizophrenia and am on the autism spectrum since age 21. I am now 30 and have been working full time for 2 years. It was very difficult as sometimes I go on disability leaves for a month at work, but I stuck with it. I did not have a job or life at all for 8 years until I found my job. I am working at a bank as an analyst. I would encourage you and your son to never give up. I failed and quit school at least 5 times. I quit several jobs a week into them. It took 8 years, but I got my life back now. There are many things you son can do. I think his work as a graphic UI designer is perfect for someone with schizophrenia as there doesn’t need to be too much social interaction and he can work from home.

I did not have motivation to work at all and thought my life was over first two years of my illness, but then one day it just clicked and I decided to keep trying to study and work again. Do not ever give up, because when you give up, it’s really over.

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Thank you so much for all your input. We have not had much luck that offers work from home. His patience on his workstation has really dropped. For now, he seems to be doing fine working as a cashier part time. The real issue for now on the job is his shoulder blade pain. We really do not know where that is coming from - we need to wait until this virus thing passes to have that looked into. Also, he still paces and is very much still experiencing a lot of anxiety. I brought that up with his Doc and she suggested they may have to increase his dosage of Risperidone. Something I do not want to do.

I am glad to hear success stories like Lirik and others. It is very encouraging. I hope my son can resume his life and his real ambition.

Interesting you mention he is pacing a lot, but I am guessing he isn’t pacing around when he is standing hours there as a cashier? Also interesting is how he seems to want to work as a cashier, pardon me no offence, but a relatively menial job compared to his previous one. I think he is, like me in my first two years, thought that my life was over because of schizophrenia. I think if he can continue with his cashier position, he can gradually develop back his confidence and look for more challenging work. My first medication was risperidone and I suffered from some side effects and had to switch. I don’t think there is anything wrong with increasing dosage of medications, as long as there are no side effects. I am on two anti-psychotics, latuda and ziprasidone for example. I also take cipralex for my anxiety.

His Doctor didn’t think he was ready for work yet because of the stress level. We just wanted to find something that would get him out there in the workplace and establish a routine. The pacing is really only when he is not giving something to do and is limited at home. He really needs help with direction and keeping himself busy. He is really trying - spends a lot of time drawing all day.

Yes, I agree the work is nothing like what he used to do. He has a college degree and a decade of experience as a Graphic UI. Many of the jobs that he is interested in were out of state. He is no way ready to be on his own. We are hoping that he will feel better about things if he can work and make money and eventually move out and maybe go back to his career. Am I to optimistic?

You are not too optimistic. However, your doctor is probably right that he is not yet ready to live on his own and take on something too high stress. He has only been diagnosed for like a month right, so it’s good that he is on medication. Early treatment of first episode psychosis can significantly improve outcomes. It took me 8 years, not saying it will take your son as long. After all, your son got his illness at 30, so he has developed significant life skills already. He just needs to gain them back. I know nothing about graphic UI, but it sounds like drawing is related to it, so it’s good that he is kind of keeping up with his work. My old psychologist told my parents to not expect me to do anything with my life and my old psychiatrist once told my parents to apply for mental incompetence. I say they are both incompetent at their jobs. But if someone judged so like me can work as an analyst, then I think a lot of people can work too. It just takes perseverance.

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I’m hearing 2 things: 1) can’t get work out of state and 2) can’t sit at the computer and concentrate (plus pacing)

Everyone is working from home now, so it would be a good time to strike while the iron is hot to get a job where he could WFH. However, 2) seems to be the big concern about that. When my son took Abilify (different med) he was restless and stopped taking it. Maybe that is what is affecting his concentration. Would decreasing it help with concentration? I think if Graphic UI is a 10-year-old profession, then that’s his profession. It’s a trade-off, but maybe he has to try to back off the meds in order to concentrate again. My 2 cents, as always.

I mentioned cutting back on his meds to his Doctor a few weeks back. She was very much opposed to that. It took awhile to find the right medication to control those darn internal voices. She said that if we cut back on his meds now and has another psychotic episode that will delay his recovery and possibly cause more long term damage - his baseline will be changed forever. She claims that he needs to recover from hearing those voices and suicidal thoughts. He went through a lot for almost a year on his own without consulting anyone. He drank and smoked marijuana to smother the voices. I wish I could of done more for him. I really feel guilty about that.

The Doctor believes the concentration and emotionless attitude is a combination of meds and sz. I wish I know for sure. I really want him off the meds and get my son back. She did hint to me that possibly in a year or so he can be put on a “maintenance” medication to control any future episodes.

I really appreciate all your feedback. This really helps. I am working hard to get him back on his workstation. Thank you.

I wouldn’t put stress on myson to work…I don’t think he can handle it…the stress would exacerbate his symptoms, and he would probably end up back in hospital. in any case he is claiming welfare off the govt, that bit of money is doing him well.

if I were you iwouldnt stress your son over work.

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My son hears voices all the time also, but lately they’ve gotten friendlier he says. He is able to concentrate enough to read and sell stuff on eBay, but makes little money doing that. He’s currently on 125 mg of Seroquel at night, which knocks him out and lets him sleep. He says CBD helps to an extent with the voices.

He went through a period of alcoholism, also, in an attempt to self-medicate, but thankfully gave that up 6 years ago because he drank too much in a single sitting and it almost killed him. He’s 32.

I would encourage you to be more open towards medications. There is nothing wrong with medications unless there are side effects. Your doctor is absolutely correct that maintaining medication will be crucial for his recovery. Without medication, I would never be where I am today. It also took a long time to develop coping skills for anxiety and depression. Tell your son to stay away from all alcohol and marijuana as they only make the voices worse. I have seen it happen to someone with schizophrenia I know, he is stuck in a vicious cycle. Something about concentration and other cognitive abilities is that you can gradually gain them back even if you have schizophrenia. The first two months of work for me had been extremely difficult. My concentration and memory were extremely poor and I had made a ton of mistakes at work, but I gradually got better. Your mind is the same as a muscle, the more you exercise it, the better it can get.

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I can’t agree more Cara! The loved-one’s health is TOP priority, in my mind, and should not be sacrificed for the desire to be “normal” again. I, as a father of a son much like vvicin01’s, have come to realize that pushing him any harder than HE is able to handle, does more harm than good. After so many failed attempts to work in the past 10 years, he is best able to recognize what he can or cannot do. Not me nor his mother! The other KEY component in all of this is that the illness manifests itself differently among each individual.

Besides, as much as I long for the days of the original “normal”, I am resigned to the reality of accepting a new “normal”. (My son, however, has never been able to work a “real job”, unlike vvicin01’s, since he was in college when his prodromal phase emerged).

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Yes! Meds are not intrinsically EVIL. Only when they are misused, abused or the wrong ones to begin with do they become problematic (again, based on MY 5-year experience).

My son would likely be dead had he not been opened to his meds by WANTING to get better.

Thank you so much. I think my wife and I will have to accept the new “normal”. When we brought our son home to stay with us he would often mention moving out. Now, he does not mention it anymore. I think he has adjusted but is not happy with it. The only real joy I see in him is when I am getting ready for dinner after work. He wants to help us cook and prepare for dinner. Then he really looks forward to watching Netflix with me in the evening.

I just want my son to have his identity and his career and life back. He lost everything.

I think I will have to take the advice that many of you have already mentioned. For now, I should focus on my son’s mental health and not worry so much about work. I know that he will probably not stay at his current job for long - just my guess based on some things he has mentioned.

I just wish he could show us some humor and emotion. SZ has stripped my son of his personality and his life.

I am not bailing - I am very persistent and time is on our side.

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