help my son

Submitted by maria, June 15, 2012

how can i help my son. he hasnt been told that he is paranoid schizophrenic but he was hospitalized. he stopped taking his meds and i can see that he started having a lot of symptoms again. what can i do to help him.

Hi Maria, You didn't say how

Hi Maria,

You didn't say how old your son is or why he was not told that he has paranoid schizophrenia. Does he know why he is supposed to be taking medication in the first place (e.g. to quiet the voices, etc.)? He may have stopped because he doesn't know why he is taking the medication.

Also, many people with schizophrenia stop taking their medication. This is usually due to one of three reasons: 1) The side effects are not tolerable (most antipsychotics have some unpleasant side effects, but sometimes an adjustment or change in their medication can help); 2) He feels fine and sees no reason to take medication (which is why it may be important that he be told his diagnosis and that medication is necessary, even when there are no symptoms); or 3) The medication wasn't adequately addressing his psychosis and he is experiencing delusions and / or voices that are making him resist medication (e.g. he may believe the medication is part of a conspiracy against him, or voices are telling him not to take them, etc.).

I suggest that you talk to him (ask him why he's not taking them) and then contact his treatment provider (e.g. his psychiatrist, therapist, or caseworker). It's important that this is addressed sooner than later. If his symptoms continue to get worse he will very likely end up in the hospital again.

At some point he needs to know that he has schizophrenia. I'm not suggesting you tell him just yet, as there may be some reason his treatment providers feel he isn't ready - so work with them on this issue.

I also encourage you to contact your local NAMI chapter (National Alliance on Mental Illness). NAMI is an organization that advocates for mentally ill individuals and provides support for them and their families. Their website is NAMI.org, and you can find the nearest chapter in your area by going here: http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=Your_Local_NAMI&Template=/Custo...

I hope this helps and I wish you the best.

Dr. Cheryl Lane