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How do you deal with a 19-year old with schizophrenia and changing behaviour patterns?

My lovely son was diagnosed three months ago, with schizophrenia, following months of erratic emotional and behavioural changes.

The diagnosis came after he went from a cheery lad, engaged in studying hard at College (where he was well-liked by classmates and tutors) to a volatile, disinterested ape, who doesn't shower, comb his hair or help around the house.

Now he becomes rather aggressive and a couple of times recently I thought he would hit me. We've always been close, especially since his dad left us (six years ago).

He refuses to take his meds and has missed most of the appointments with the psychiatrist.

Any advice on how to motivate him? Even if it's just to keep himself clean and tidy. Thank you.

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Asked by Anonymous at 11:02 AM on Aug. 22, 2009 in Health

Answers (5)
  • I am sorry to hear about your son. I don't have any personal experience with schizophrenia..but I can offer you a suggestion of a wonderful book that you should read.
    It' s the true story of Danielle Steele's son and his battle with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. When I read your post, it reminded me so much of this book. She and her family went through years and years of trying to help her son , but he would come off his meds when he was feeling "better" and then, a whole new episode would begin.
    Unfortunately, at 19 years of age, her son committed suicide. He had attempted to on several occassions before, but at 19 he was successful.
    One thing that surprised me about this disorder is that people with it are more likely to commit suicide when they are "manic" -- experiencing their high / good days, rather than during the deep depression stages they go through....
    Anyway, check on Amazon to see if you could find

    Answer by lighthousemom3 at 11:49 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • this book. Your stories sound so similar.

    "His Bright Light - The Story of Nick Traina" by Danielle Steele.

    This is such a moving and inspiring story as well. It takes a lot of strength to go through what you are right now, but maybe this book could offer some insight or ideas for you as you go forward.
    Good Luck and God Bless you and your family...
    Prayers are with you.....

    Answer by lighthousemom3 at 11:52 AM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • whatever you do dont wlal yourself up and close yourself off to him he has to do it for himself but knowing that you love and support him even when he is sick will help motivate him to take care of himself. Ask him why he doesnt take his meds. I am not schitzo but I have depression and for me soemdays simply sorting through all my pill bottles trying to figure out what to take is too much of a hassle and I dont take them. Get him a pill organizer (cause im sure hes on a few difrferent meds) and put them in the organizers so all he has to do is open up friday at bedtime and there they are. Missing the psych appointments is porbably social anxiety related soemtimes i just dont want to leave teh house offe rto go with him adn maybe after the appointment take him out to lunch r a movie or a walk in the park. Its a very real illness and hard to walk through just like cancer patients feel liek givin gup soemdays so do teh cont

    Answer by katiekruschke at 1:52 PM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • mentally ill only his illness is a little tougher to cope with because when a person has cancer family adn friends usually rally around them in support when a person has a mental illness family and friends often dont understand and they walk away in self preservation making the illness even more unbearable somewhere inside that unmotivated mess is you sweet adn loving son but you have to go in after him and dig deep untill you find him adn bring him back out something most parents of mentally ill people are not willing to do

    Answer by katiekruschke at 1:54 PM on Aug. 22, 2009

  • I would first try to discuss things with him while he's up, see if something is bothering him. If that doesn't help, try talking with his psychiatrist. Sometimes stressful situations can aggravate schizophrenia. My hubby and I have a friend with mpd, and he has been able to control it without medication for several years. He needed them in high school, but learned how to deal with the voices. However, if he is under a lot of stress, it gets harder for him to ignore what he is hearing in his head. Above all, remember that he is still your son, and he does love you, even when he is an unwashed ape who threatens you. He needs you to stick it out until he can settle out a little. Good luck, and we'll be praying.

    Answer by preacherskid at 2:29 PM on Aug. 22, 2009

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