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I have a friend who has been schizophrenic for years now, since he was 20. He's been hospitalized, homeless at some point, etc. His illness was brought about by a bad lsd trip while in college. He is now 37 and has been off his meds for months now. He gets disability and still goes to his PsychDr and counselor. They don't know he isnt taking any meds, so he just gets the seroquel and abilyfy prescriptions and stores the crap in his room in case his rehab counselor asks to see them. So basically he is lying to his docs and such so he can get that ssdi money. Recently he started working part-time at some thrift store that hires mentally ill people. My thing is what are the signs to look for that he is sinking back into the illness? I am not familiar with schizophrenia, besides the hearing voices and seeing things that is described in books. I do know that he paces back and forth in his room, always doing something. I can't tell whats his personality and what is the illness. He does have affective(sp) voice, meaning his voice has no inflection, its very low and monotone. he also tends to ramble and talk too much at times, until I get angry and tell him to stop cause I can't keep up. Any insights would be helpful.

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I have a friend who has been schizophrenic for years now, since he was 20. He's been hospitalized, homeless at some point, etc. His illness was brought about by a bad lsd trip while in college. He is now 37 and has been off his meds for months now. He gets disability and still goes to his PsychDr and counselor. They don't know he isnt taking any meds, so he just gets the seroquel and abilyfy prescriptions and stores the crap in his room in case his rehab counselor asks to see them. So basically he is lying to his docs and such so he can get that ssdi money. Recently he started working part-time at some thrift store that hires mentally ill people. My thing is what are the signs to look for that he is sinking back into the illness? I am not familiar with schizophrenia, besides the hearing voices and seeing things that is described in books. I do know that he paces back and forth in his room, always doing something. I can't tell whats his personality and what is the illness. He does have affective(sp) voice, meaning his voice has no inflection, its very low and monotone. he also tends to ramble and talk too much at times, until I get angry and tell him to stop cause I can't keep up. Any insights would be helpful.

For me the first thing to go when I'm about to lose it is my immune system so I start by getting physically sick, like a chest infection or gastro that I generally have a good iimmunity against. Then I get poverty of thought and go stupid... after that all sense of self awarenesss goes and I lose it and to be honest never really remember much of it after I'm well again... so reallyy I'm probably no help...

But the flattened affect thing MAY be a sign, so might the rambliness (particularly if it sounds illogical or jumbly). It might pay to visit www.schizophrenia.com and go to the web board for loved ones and family members of sz people, they might have more insight about that stuff than us who actually have it since lack of insight tends to go with the turf.

You could also PM DMF, she might have a better idea.

Dan

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First, I'm no expert but I am, like you, someone who cares deeply for someone else who is suffering. I can only share what I've come up with from listening to others (who are much more of the experts) on this board, doing research, and talking to health care experts.

It seems as thought the "signs" of SZ (or any disorder, for that matter) are different or at least not "all inclusive" for everyone. Everything you said could certainly be symptoms of SZ, some could be symptoms of other disorders, and some could just be symptoms of day-to-day stress. It's REALLY hard to differentiate at times. The issue is, whatever the cause, are those symptoms creating a signficant problem for the patient.

The other thing is that most people have some "residue" of symptoms even when they are being effectively treated for these mental health issues. They don't always realize it but someone from the outside looking in, and knowing what they are like at their best and their worst, can see it. I wish you could convince your friend to get on his meds for a length of time. I recently connected with someone who spoke at an educational conference that I went to. His expertise is in the area of violence, mental health, and young people. He reiterated something most of us "healthy" people know - it takes TIME for a medication to achieve full effacy. In many meds you start to see improvement in days but it can take several months to get achieve the full potential of the drug. Most people have a difficult time getting through the side effect stages and give it up. Most meds don't "cure" anything and aren't intended to - they simply help. I don't know the answer except that, for me, I know when my dd is starting to "sink" because I clearly see how she is when she is healthy (by virture of medication compliance - and even with medication compliance there are environmental and other issues that can cause them to deteriorate). So, my point is that your friend may always have some symptoms.

My best advice is that if you see a decline that is significant enough to cause him or others injury (hallucinations that he is reacting to, delusions that may be causing him to do things that cause harm, etc.) then you should call his PDoc or therapist. I'm sure that is exactly what you don't want to do but sometimes it's just plain necessary.

I give you a lot of kudos for sticking with your friend. Most people suffering from SZ either alienate themselves (by choice) or (and I'm sorry to put this so frankly) run their friends and family off. It takes a special person to be there for someone when it would be just as easy to turn away.

I also want to share that I am absolutely, 100%, convinced that the only CRAZY people with SZ are those that are not medication compliant or whose PDoc's aren't aggressively pursuing adequate medication options. Medication always helps to some degree or another - it's their life line and we've got to find a way to keep them connected to it, kwim?

Hugs to you!

DMF

I have a friend who has been schizophrenic for years now, since he was 20. He's been hospitalized, homeless at some point, etc. His illness was brought about by a bad lsd trip while in college. He is now 37 and has been off his meds for months now. He gets disability and still goes to his PsychDr and counselor. They don't know he isnt taking any meds, so he just gets the seroquel and abilyfy prescriptions and stores the crap in his room in case his rehab counselor asks to see them. So basically he is lying to his docs and such so he can get that ssdi money. Recently he started working part-time at some thrift store that hires mentally ill people. My thing is what are the signs to look for that he is sinking back into the illness? I am not familiar with schizophrenia, besides the hearing voices and seeing things that is described in books. I do know that he paces back and forth in his room, always doing something. I can't tell whats his personality and what is the illness. He does have affective(sp) voice, meaning his voice has no inflection, its very low and monotone. he also tends to ramble and talk too much at times, until I get angry and tell him to stop cause I can't keep up. Any insights would be helpful.

For me the first thing to go when I'm about to lose it is my immune system so I start by getting physically sick, like a chest infection or gastro that I generally have a good iimmunity against. Then I get poverty of thought and go stupid... after that all sense of self awarenesss goes and I lose it and to be honest never really remember much of it after I'm well again... so reallyy I'm probably no help...

But the flattened affect thing MAY be a sign, so might the rambliness (particularly if it sounds illogical or jumbly). It might pay to visit www.schizophrenia.com and go to the web board for loved ones and family members of sz people, they might have more insight about that stuff than us who actually have it since lack of insight tends to go with the turf.

You could also PM DMF, she might have a better idea.

Dan

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The only reason why I am concerned is that we argue alot and he totally debate me about why he doesnt need or want to go meds. He is convinced that he is fine and that the meds make him sick. Meanwhile he overspends and buys frivolous things with the ssdi money. Like mp3 player, and other electronic junk. He calls it manic spending and finds it funny. I get tired of his rambling and his inability to focus when I am talking. Whenever I try to talk to him he's either looking all around or chimes in with a totally different topic. It has caused me to distance myself from him. Whenever he would come to my place he is pacing all over the place, looking in my kitchen cabinets, which causes me to yell. And then he's off to the balcony to smoke, its like an add child. Then he will alienate himself and not answer calls. And then blame it on me, like he didnt want to hear me talking about his friend so n so.

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This has a lot of bipolar characteristics.....seriously. A lot of the bipolar meds are no where as "affecting" as the ones for psychosis. Can you get to a site and print off the symptoms of mania? I've been there, though, as a caregiver and when they are manic it's very difficult to get them to "see" what's going on.

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going along the lines of that last post, there are depressed schizophrenics and bipolar schizophrenics.

no matter what he thinks, it is just his illness talking, and he does need to take his meds. i know he's going to battle that one, but he needs those drugs. i don't know what else to say. if he's not taking his meds he's not taking them. you could call his pdoc or tdoc and let them know, or just try to nag/guilt trip him into at least giving meds a fair chance. what does he have to lose by giving them a fair chance?

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