Discussions By Condition: Mental conditions

manageable schizophrenia?!?!?!

Posted In: Mental conditions 3 Replies
  • Posted By: Ingrid Marquez
  • July 27, 2007
  • 02:47 PM

Howdy,
My son--diagnosed with schizophrenia in November of 2005--has now been unmedicated since April 4, and is relatively stable. From 11/2005 until then, I was (on the recommendation of four different psychiatrists, although only two actually saw him) medicating him without his knowledge...first Olanzapine, then Risperdal, and for the last eight months, Abilify. They were all nominally helpful. (On April 4, he found out about the medication and stopped taking it cold turkey.)

His symptoms in November 2005: uncontrollable anger, disinterest in hygiene, inability to concentrate, insomnia, refusal to consume anything besides water from 4 p.m. until the following day, lots of other restrictive eating habits (and resulting near emaciation), hypersensitivity to "noise" (anyone talking) touch (he simply didn't want to be touched), and light, magical beliefs (he started seeing a psychic and nearly got arrested several times while trying to convince people in hospitals to abandon "useless" conventional medicine), strange smell perceptions (he would say, "Can you SMELL that?!" when, according to the rest of us, there was nothing to smell)...voices in head (he told his sister that a friend was sending him jokes), and hallucinations (he insisted that he could "see death" over his left shoulder, and that we could too--if we concentrated a little harder).

During the year and a half that I was secretly medicating him, all of that subsided--but not completely. His moods stabilized. He left the psychic but got involved in a very strange cult based on the belief that a Columbian "philosopher," long dead, has the answer to all of life's mysteries. (But...many "normal" people seem to believe that this is the case.) He was able to establish social ties and went back to school part time. The Olanzapine was too sedating, though. Switched to Risperdal, which helped him..but even at a reasonably low dose (4 mg/day), it gave him tardive dyskinesia. Switched to Abilify, which I had to combine with Akineton because it gave him the shakes. Apart from that, though, I thought it was working quite well.

Until...he found out and said, "That's the end of that." (He was very understanding and says that I was doing what I thought was right--but that I was wrong.) I assumed he'd have a psychotic break, but the hallucinations and delusions have not returned AT ALL (except for the religious business, but each person has a set of beliefs and that isn't symptomatic), and his moods are just fine. He does have trouble concentrating and sometimes "spaces out" in the middle of a conversation.


I have absolutely no idea what to think. He refuses to see a doctor, and I REALLY CAN'T BLAME HIM! I started researching the possibility that someone could have schizophrenia and be "functional" without medication. IS THAT POSSIBLE?

But I wonder why the hallucinations haven't returned...? I don't even see him fighting to control them, because they simply aren't there. It was totally obvious when he was "seeing things"--and he isn't.

Thanks so much for any ideas y'all might have!

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3 Replies:

  • Your child may have a condition which falls within the spectrum of schizophrenia such as schizophrenaform disorder where the symptoms of schizophrenia are not persistent. They are chronic for a period and spontaniously remit. They may or may not return. Jon
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 21, 2008
    • 11:51 PM
    • 0
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  • Hmm, it's really not schizophrenia.It sounds like son of my mothers coworker! He has not schizophrenia and not schizophrenaform disorder, but he has severe depression with some psychotic episodes (he has hallucinations and is obsessed about end of earth). He is also hypersensitive. His father has definitively Asperger's. He is got dyspraxia, asperger's-like behaviour and severe depression. Hyper sensitiveness can sometimes cause schizophrenia-like behavior. He might also have imaginative friend. It is very common to see film about Ben X. Sometimes he appears like he has schizophrenia, but he really doesn't. He is autistic. According to what you've written out there, I can find similarities with boy from the film.He may be bipolar or borderline either, but not schizophrenic.
    Anasthasia 22 Replies Flag this Response
  • Howdy,My son--diagnosed with schizophrenia in November of 2005--has now been unmedicated since April 4, and is relatively stable. From 11/2005 until then, I was (on the recommendation of four different psychiatrists, although only two actually saw him) medicating him without his knowledge...first Olanzapine, then Risperdal, and for the last eight months, Abilify. They were all nominally helpful. (On April 4, he found out about the medication and stopped taking it cold turkey.) His symptoms in November 2005: uncontrollable anger, disinterest in hygiene, inability to concentrate, insomnia, refusal to consume anything besides water from 4 p.m. until the following day, lots of other restrictive eating habits (and resulting near emaciation), hypersensitivity to "noise" (anyone talking) touch (he simply didn't want to be touched), and light, magical beliefs (he started seeing a psychic and nearly got arrested several times while trying to convince people in hospitals to abandon "useless" conventional medicine), strange smell perceptions (he would say, "Can you SMELL that?!" when, according to the rest of us, there was nothing to smell)...voices in head (he told his sister that a friend was sending him jokes), and hallucinations (he insisted that he could "see death" over his left shoulder, and that we could too--if we concentrated a little harder). During the year and a half that I was secretly medicating him, all of that subsided--but not completely. His moods stabilized. He left the psychic but got involved in a very strange cult based on the belief that a Columbian "philosopher," long dead, has the answer to all of life's mysteries. (But...many "normal" people seem to believe that this is the case.) He was able to establish social ties and went back to school part time. The Olanzapine was too sedating, though. Switched to Risperdal, which helped him..but even at a reasonably low dose (4 mg/day), it gave him tardive dyskinesia. Switched to Abilify, which I had to combine with Akineton because it gave him the shakes. Apart from that, though, I thought it was working quite well. Until...he found out and said, "That's the end of that." (He was very understanding and says that I was doing what I thought was right--but that I was wrong.) I assumed he'd have a psychotic break, but the hallucinations and delusions have not returned AT ALL (except for the religious business, but each person has a set of beliefs and that isn't symptomatic), and his moods are just fine. He does have trouble concentrating and sometimes "spaces out" in the middle of a conversation. I have absolutely no idea what to think. He refuses to see a doctor, and I REALLY CAN'T BLAME HIM! I started researching the possibility that someone could have schizophrenia and be "functional" without medication. IS THAT POSSIBLE? But I wonder why the hallucinations haven't returned...? I don't even see him fighting to control them, because they simply aren't there. It was totally obvious when he was "seeing things"--and he isn't. Thanks so much for any ideas y'all might have!I have two thoughts on the topic. First of all, people with schizophrenia are generally very intelligent. If they can focus enough to use it, it's a powerful form of control. Think of it like this: any mind powerful enough to create convincing delusions is powerful enough to fight them off with the proper focus. For everything in this universe there is something equal and opposite. I don't know if you're a Star Wars fan, but the mind is much like the Force, in my opinion. It's good and bad. I've met quite a few people with a variety of disorders that are totally functional without medication. I happen to be diagnosed (wrongly I might add) with schizoaffective disorder. I never had it to start with, but my parents' particular form of crazy brought me into the path of a lot of people who really did have their specific disorder. I learned that everyone has their own path with it, and some people don't need medication if they want to manage their disorder. If the case is that he is actually schizophrenic, and he's managing it on his own, then support him and let him go on with it. Just make it very clear that if he needs some help with it on a temporary basis even, if he hits a rough spot, you will not force him to continue taking medication once he feels he doesn't need it any more. Two: On the flip side of the coin that people with schizophrenia are often very intelligent and some are focused enough to manage their disorder on their own, some simply don't want to manage it and put all that effort into hiding it. You're his mother, and you know him best. I imagine that you would be the first to even have a little bit of a chance of knowing if this were the case. I give the same advice for thought number two as I do for thought number 1. If he is truly intent enough on hiding his disorder that even you don't know he's not actually managing it himself, then force medicating him while he's perfectly functional could destroy the fragile bond of trust that might be the only bridge he has left to cross over one day when he does want help. You can't force anyone to "get better" from a mental illness. It's not like a broken leg or an infection. If he doesn't want to be proactive in his treatment, and he doesn't actually want to manage it, medicating him won't help really. It might make him easier for you to deal with, but it won't address the larger issue of him being able to actually live with the disorder. That's my opinionated insight. Hope it helps out a bit.
    outofthedarkness 6 Replies
    • August 31, 2009
    • 05:34 AM
    • 0
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