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Old 03-12-2009, 09:30 PM
 
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I am desperately needing advice on how to convince a relative that he needs help. My nephew has schizophrenia and has not been on medication, he of course thinks all is well but we know he's not.

He is almost 20years old so we have no control over him but know he needs to be back on his medication.

I have read that the longer one goes without meds the more convinced they are that they are not sick.

He gets very defensive and angry when anyone questions his actions or suggests that he see a doctor.

Any advice is welcome, thank you.
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Old 03-13-2009, 06:17 PM
 
Location: CT
1,888 posts, read 2,945,108 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mousetrap View Post
I am desperately needing advice on how to convince a relative that he needs help. My nephew has schizophrenia and has not been on medication, he of course thinks all is well but we know he's not.

He is almost 20years old so we have no control over him but know he needs to be back on his medication.

I have read that the longer one goes without meds the more convinced they are that they are not sick.

He gets very defensive and angry when anyone questions his actions or suggests that he see a doctor.

Any advice is welcome, thank you.

Hmmm, that's a tough one. To be 20 is tough enough, but have emotional problems on top of it too... Have you tried to enlist his friends to talk him into seeing a therapist? Sometimes someone other than family has a way of breaking through.

Good luck and I wish your nephew the best, he's lucky to have you as an Aunt/Uncle.
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:53 AM
 
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A couple things. I would first suggest trying to find out why he quit taking the meds. Often people will become non-compliant if they are on the wrong dose, are experiencing bad side effects, or are convinced they are cured. It may simply be that he was on the wrong drug or dose and feels better without. If that is the case, could you get him to talk to a doctor about alternatives?

Perhaps he would be willing to talk to a psychotherapist, as opposed to a psychiatrist. If he doesn't won't take meds right now, it may help having a therapist to talk to and may be less intimidating that a doctor that just whips out the Rx pad.

Are you absolutely positive he was diagnosed correctly to begin with? Perhaps he was misdiagnosed, or has multiple disorders, and that is why the medicine didn't help or made it worse.

In some (most?) areas you can attempt to have someone involuntarily committed. However, this will often involve filing a court petition, usually the person has to have harmed or threatened to harm their self or others, or be unable to provide basic self-care. Also, most patients even when involuntarily committed have the right to refuse prescription medications. I would do this as only an absolute last resort, not if he is highly functioning. Remember, a big part of being able to get well is to have family support, if you alienate him by doing this it could make things worse.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:19 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there...
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Leave him alone, if he truly has problems they will manifest and the county will end up getting involved eventually. Then his life will be a awful downward spiral of medicated foot shuffeling sadness, locked away in one institution after another. Once the process begins you can not stop it. Your once good intentions of getting him help will turn into years of watching this persons life waste away while he lays around in a drug induced mummbeling state of mind. Let him live and be happy before his life disappears.
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:10 AM
 
790 posts, read 2,528,491 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tetto View Post
Hmmm, that's a tough one. To be 20 is tough enough, but have emotional problems on top of it too... Have you tried to enlist his friends to talk him into seeing a therapist? Sometimes someone other than family has a way of breaking through.

Good luck and I wish your nephew the best, he's lucky to have you as an Aunt/Uncle.
Getting his friends involved would be very difficult because he lives 5 hours away from me and his mom and what makes this even worse is that his dad is in total denial and his convinced that he can work through it

But thank you for the suggestion
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DNaomi View Post
A couple things. I would first suggest trying to find out why he quit taking the meds. Often people will become non-compliant if they are on the wrong dose, are experiencing bad side effects, or are convinced they are cured. It may simply be that he was on the wrong drug or dose and feels better without. If that is the case, could you get him to talk to a doctor about alternatives?
This is the crazy thing he was doing great on his meds but when his dad saw the price he said it cost to much and took him off of them.
Never asking the family to help out as well all would have pitched in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DNaomi View Post
Perhaps he would be willing to talk to a psychotherapist, as opposed to a psychiatrist. If he doesn't won't take meds right now, it may help having a therapist to talk to and may be less intimidating that a doctor that just whips out the Rx pad.
That might be a good idea, because if you say the word doctor he gets very angry and will not even consider it. We have even thought of tricking him and saying it's a motivational counselor who would help him use his brain to become successful, really at this point we just fear he is lost forever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DNaomi View Post
Are you absolutely positive he was diagnosed correctly to begin with? Perhaps he was misdiagnosed, or has multiple disorders, and that is why the medicine didn't help or made it worse.
Oh no it was the correct diagnosis, like I said when he first got on the meds he was back to his normal self. He is a textbook schizophrenic, in fact I have a book on it and it's like I am highlighting the whole thing because 95% of what is typical is exactly what he does. We really lucked out in the beginning and he had a great doctor, admitted he was sick, got the meds, got better but then his egotistical father decided "my boy is not sick"
It's beyond frustrating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DNaomi View Post
In some (most?) areas you can attempt to have someone involuntarily committed. However, this will often involve filing a court petition, usually the person has to have harmed or threatened to harm their self or others, or be unable to provide basic self-care. Also, most patients even when involuntarily committed have the right to refuse prescription medications. I would do this as only an absolute last resort, not if he is highly functioning. Remember, a big part of being able to get well is to have family support, if you alienate him by doing this it could make things worse.
Yes I agree last resort for sure, we have thought of this just because the thought of him never living an independent life is so sad to us not to mention his safety is something we worry about. He has already had 2 car accidents and gets tickets left and right.
Basic self-care is something he struggles with, when he was staying with us we had to tell him to shower and brush his teeth. He doesn't wear deoderant and would wear the same clothes over and over again. But like you say at this point we cannot push him even further away, as it is he isolates himself on a daily basis.

Thank you for your input.
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:28 AM
 
790 posts, read 2,528,491 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asitshouldbe View Post
Leave him alone, if he truly has problems they will manifest and the county will end up getting involved eventually. Then his life will be a awful downward spiral of medicated foot shuffeling sadness, locked away in one institution after another. Once the process begins you can not stop it. Your once good intentions of getting him help will turn into years of watching this persons life waste away while he lays around in a drug induced mummbeling state of mind. Let him live and be happy before his life disappears.
Sorry but I am not going to just "leave him alone" I actually care about my family member and want him to get better.
And you think he is happy living in his mind that he cannot control????
Oh and I want the county taking care of things I don't think so!

Please no more advice from you.
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:14 AM
 
Location: California
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My family went through the same thing with a family member over 40 years ago. He was diagnosed after the men in white coats had to take him away. It got so bad he was talking to himself about death and killing and believed others were trying to get him. It scared everyone out of their minds. He was also 20 years old. Apparently schizophrenia hits around this age. He wouldn't take meds, nor did he think he was ill. He eventually left home and is lost to us.

Our family does not see him anymore. We know he is a working schizophrenic, but he is not well. We occasionally read his writings which are incoherent and full of fantasies about people and places and things.

I will say this from my experience. Your brother is an adult. The laws will not allow you to force him into anything and he may never think he is ill. He may in fact turn away from all of his family. You can not commit anyone without proof of danger to himself or society, and an institution will not keep him unless he is a danger. This is very difficult situation for all of you.

His father needs reeducation, he is thinking like a neanderthal. If your nephew still lives with him, I think you must work on the father before you can reach your nephew.

Good luck with this. I hope you have a better outcome than our family did. I wish there was some sort of intervention for this horrific illness. Please speak to a professional in this field. Perhaps there is something they can suggest or at least to help your nephew's father realize how important treatment is for his son.
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
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Quote:
And you think he is happy living in his mind that he cannot control????
I have known a couple of schizophrenics, and the very weird thing is that both of them were much happier living with the uncontrolled hallucinations than they were living with the medications. They both talked about how the meds made them feel like zombies. One of them said that when he was taking them, he felt like he had been replaced with a "cloudy reflection" of himself. He told me that he would rather hear voices than not recognize himself. I understand this is a fairly common sentiment and it can be difficult to get them to stay on their meds although it sounds like this might not be a factor in his case. How close are you? Maybe you could take him to dinner or something and work the conversation around to his meds? Perhaps he would take them if you provided them?

I don't really have any advice, but hang in there and best of luck. You are a good person to care so much about your nephew.
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:48 AM
 
790 posts, read 2,528,491 times
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Thank you Beth56 I too hope my nephew does not go down that same path as that is our biggest fear.

Tilli
, Luckily when he was on meds he was great and was not at all like a zombie, he even said how much better he felt. I actually live many hours away but will be calling him frequently and hope that he can open up to me. He is quite paranoid so I am very careful of what I say.

Thank you both for offering your advice.
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