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Topic : 11/23 Schizophrenia

Number of Replies: 502
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Created on : Friday, November 18, 2005, 03:44:32 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1

Imagine hearing voices that don’t really exist, thinking lasers are shooting through your walls or believing that people are coming into your home through electrical outlets. For people with schizophrenia, these types of delusions and paranoia are part of daily life. Mary sees angels and demons and has even believed her husband was a demon in disguise. Then, Ann Marie and Tim would give anything to help their mother. She talks emphatically to people who aren’t there and speaks nonsense to her own children. Watch her erratic behavior captured on camera and find out whether her case is beyond treatment. Plus, two sisters, Melanie and Rachel, want to know if their minds could be ticking time bombs. Talk about the show here.

 

Find out what happened on the show.

 

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November 22, 2005, 5:58 pm CST

lots of questions that go unanswered

I want to know how genetic these disorders are and how you distinguish one from the next. I am 22 yrs old. when i was 13 or 14 i started cutting myself. not to die but to release pain. when i was 8 or 9 i remember holding my fathers hunting knife to my temple and pushing slightly but i dont even remember why i did it or what was going through my head. it is so hard to explain what i go through sometimes. i ran my car into a telephone pole at 60mph when i was 18 after i found out my boyfriend at the time was sleeping with all of my friends and i felt very alone.  when bad things happen i try to tell myself not to dwell on it and just move on. but do people who have a mentall illness know that they have an illness? my mom left whein i was 6 months old because she is schizophrenic. i havent heard from her since. over this past summer her cousin contacted me and i found out about her family.(i had never known anyone in her family before this) A LOT of mentall illness (schizophrenia) is in her family going back 3 or 4 generations that i know of. the cousin i spoke with never even had children because she was afraid it would happen to her. it is also on my fathers side of the family. my grand mother had it and all 3 of my aunts have been on depression meds at some point in time. so it is all around me genetically. i know i have problems with depression that i try to work past without meds. i have been on meds but i always feel the same or i feel numb. so i stop taking them and then one day i just wake up and i feel okay again and not depressed. i have had so many bad things happen to me in my life. i was beat everyday for 2 1/2 years when i was small by my step mom and my dad finally left her. when i  was in highschool i was rejected by my peers although i am very beautiful. and since then i have been severely hurt by my last to boyfriends. i already mentioned the first and my last one who i hust recently split up with was even worse. he stole all of my money, got a credit card in my name without my knowing it and many times left me with no money and no food in the house. he was mentally, emotionally and physically abusive. i am worried that if stuff like this keeps happening to me i will end up like my mom. or do i just think i will because people say stuff like this is genetic?! is it just in my head ot do i really have a problem. do people who have mentall illness know they have a mentall illness? i do feel like the world is against me and i feel paranoid that people are talking about me. is that illness or is it because i have been through so much rejection and abandonment in my life. i dont see things or here things i dont talk to my self. i only know how i think, i dont know if what i think is normal or not because i cant get into other peoples minds and see how theres works. i have spoken to councilers but they think i am normal. but what 8 year old holds a knife to their head for no reason at all? i dont think that is normal. all the times i have been on meds it was because i asked for them. i live in a very small area and we dont have that good of doctors around here. i just want to know what is normal.and if i am normal. i havent thought about suicide in a long time i know i need to be strong and just make the best of life. but even besides that stuff i feel like i am not the same as other people. for instance i dream all of the time and i always remember me dreams. it doesnt make for a good night sleep so i am constantly tired. when i think, i play out scenarios in my head. i know it isnt really happening i am just thinking it but its like maybe i daydream more than others. and i need to catch myself if i am around other people when i "daydream" because i  make facial expressions when i do it. and if in my daydream i am thinking about something i would have should have or could have said to someone i tend to move my lips and mouth what it is i am saying in my daydream. do other people do this? do other people dream like i do? see what i mean, i dont really know what is normal and what isnt.  but in general i am normal i think.  i can problem solve. i can think of reasons on why i feel he way i do and i recognize that a lot of my depression problems are just because i have had a rough life. this is getting long but i have one more question for everyone. my ex i think had mentall problems. his mom always said he had bi polar but he was never diagnosed with anything. when he was 8 he found his dad dead due to suicide. he has had drug problems since he was 12. he is a self proclaimed pathalogical liar. he has had trouble with the law since he was 15. he forged his own mothers checks. he steals from everyone he comes into contact with. he is addicted to sex and porn. he literally has no emotions. he was really high on cocaine one night and we talked for hours. he begged me to get him help. he told me he doesnt know what is wrong with him. ever since he found his dad dead he has never felt love for anyone. and he said he thinks like a serial killer he does horrible things to people and messes up thier lives and he never feels remorse for it. the next morning he said he didnt need to go get help and he thought he could handle it on his own. but honestly the only time he ever seemed like a real normal person was when he was on drugs. it was the only time he would talk about anything honestly. and he always wanted to talk, he would keep saying ask me more, ask me more questions i want to keep talking. and if he started coming down he would want to get more drugs just so he could keep talking. his lieing was also part of the reason why he would get violent. if i knew he was lieng and i tried to make him admitt it he was lieing he would get really angry and start pushing me around. i dont know if he really believed what he was saying or if he just did it to try to make me believe he was telling the truth. the reason it took me so long to leave him was because i believe he had a mentall illness and i wanted to help him. but i dont know if he does or not. maybe he really is just and evil person i just dont know. i have looked up many personality disorders but the only one that really fit him was the anti-social disorder which is basically just your common criminal. but when he would talk to me when he was on drugs you could see what a beautiful soul he really did have, and you could see how much he was hurting and how badly he wanted help. and he never ever told anyone the things he told me.  I REALLY HOPE SOMEONE CAN GIVE ME SOME INPUT ON BOTH OF THESE SITUATIONS. I NEED ANSWERS AND I HAVENT FOUND ANYONE THAT CAN GIVE ME ANY.   -tanya 

 
November 22, 2005, 6:00 pm CST

my story

Hi, I am very glad that there is a show being done on this.  It will be inspiring to see other people talk about how they are dealing with a mental illness. I'm 21 yrs old and I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder last year.  Even though I have this diagnosis I am still worried that I might actually have schizophrenia, but even if I don't I still want to share my story.  I have had mood, attention and hallucination problems my whole life, but I finally saw a psychiatrist after I had a psychotic episode last year.  The reason I went to a psychiatrist was not because of the episode really but because I was in my 3rd yr of university and had been asked to withdraw because my marks were so bad.  I found it impossible to get to class and study because it was too overwhelming to leave the house.  It was way easier to take tylenol 3s and be in a warm comfortable daze all day.  I am being treated now with lamotrigine and quetiapine. i was on risperidol but it caused too many gross side effects.  The reason that I am still scared of having schizophrenia is because I can't help but lie to my psychiatrist sometimes.  He knows I hear voices, but I tell him that I dont know what they are saying and that it's like background noise.  Sometimes that is true but other times I know what they are saying even though it's in a different language.  I am extremely paranoid and I have bizarre thoughts.  I know it doesn't help to lie but now that I have lied I"m scared to tell the truth and admit I was lying.  But at the same time I don't know if it matters because I'm being treated with quetiapine and that can be used to treat schizophrenia, so either way I"m being treated. 

But. all is not lost and I am very lucky because the university allowed me to continue because of medical reasons so this spring I will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree. 

  

The worries I have though are for the future.  I want to go into medicine and become a doctor but I am afraid I will not get in because of having a mental illness.  I am also scared that I will never get married.  The only way I could imagine it happening is if I don't ever tell my future husband about my illness, but that is ridiculous.  Eventually though, I'll have to tell the guy I fall in love with about it and I'm afraid that no one will want to be with me if they know. 

Anyways, I am very excited to see the show tomorrow. 

 
November 22, 2005, 7:19 pm CST

Schizophrenia

Quote From: jacks_mom

My brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia in August 2003.  He was 23 years-old, he owned his own business, he had been married for 4 years, and he had two children, ages 5 and 5 months.  It all started when he began displaying suicidal tendencies.  He was checked into a hospital 2 and a half hours north of here because there were no beds available here; he had to be transported by ambulance.  My mother came over to tell me he had been admitted to the hospital on Saturday.  My parents made the trip to the hospital several times that week.  On Monday, they went to talk to my brother, his doctor,and a social worker.  On Tuesday I went with them for visiting hours.  On Thursday they returned for visiting hours and Friday they were there when he was discharged.  With a referral from the doctor my mother works with, there was a 6-week wait to get into see a psychiatrist.  The next 5 weeks were hell for my parents.  My sister-in-law had moved out, fearing what my brother might do to her or the children.  They witnessed first-hand the paranoia, depression, and bipolar behavior associated with schizophrenia.  My brother had no health insurance and they paid over $300 for a month's worth of medication.  My mom had to use FMLA so she could take care of my brother.  There were nights he never came home and days he never got out of bed.  The day of his first meeting with the psychiatrist, he cancelled his appointment; the receptionist said another appointment could not be made (this was on a Wednesday).  His behavior became more and more bizarre, and he left my parents' house on Saturday night.  My mom and dad found him Monday evening.  He had committed suicide.  He had no hope.  He could not find peace.  The mental health system failed my brother as well as my family.  The doctor from the hospital he had been checked into called to "follow-up" about 10 days after he died....  Please know that if you or someone you know is dealing with schizophrenia or any other mental disease, you are in my thoughts and prayers daily.  Thank you for letting me share my story.
 I have to say that I am truely sorry about your loss. My cousin was diagnosed with schizophrenia 25 years ago. In fact, I first noticed a change in him on my 17th birthday. He, too, commited suicide 10 days ago. His funeral was on my 44th birthday. He spent almost 10 years of "doing great".  He held a steady job. Had his own house and land. Was caring for his youngest son who also was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I am told that because of the side affects from some of his meds, he was taken off and put on something else. I don't know all the details. I wish I could have done something. I wish I had known. I don't think our health system takes this illness as seriously as it should. These people need more than temporary help. They need a life time of care. I guess my family is lucky to have had him for as long as we did. We'll miss him forever.
 
November 22, 2005, 7:28 pm CST

How to get help for relative with Schizophrenia

My nephew was diagnosed with Schizophrenia about 8 years ago.  He was in his early 20's.  As a student at USC, he began using drugs.  When his mother (my sister) found out, she was already having marital problems with my nephew's stepfather.  They told him he could no longer attend USC due to financial difficulty and the fact he was into drugs.  My nephew was devastated.  He actually stayed at USC living anywhere he could on campus and sitting in on classes.  When it finally got too difficult he came home.  We could all see just how much he had changed.  At a retirement party for a family member, my nephew sat in the corner facing the wall watching the psychadelic lights.  He finally had an incident with his sister where he threatened her and was kicked out of the house.  He got a job the next week and moved in with "grandpa".  One day he appeared at my work unexpectedly.  I had already talked with my physician about him and I convinced him to go to the doctor for a physical.  I took him and sat in on some of the exam where the doctor asked him if he heard voices, etc.  The doctor told me he was almost positive he was schizophrenic.  I asked the doctor if there was anyway his behavior was due to drugs and he said "no".  I was devastated.  I was able to get him to a mental health clinic where he received counseling and medication.  He actually appeared much better and his goal was to return to USC to get his degree.  He spent the last years at USC and was working in his field of music at a Disney owned place.  Unfortunately last year he was fired and we don't know the reason.  He created such a scene that police were called and was arrested and released.  He is now back home and is worse than ever.  It is so difficult to talk to him because he feels we are all against him.  We don't even know if he has medication.  My worst fear is that he may experience an episode and possibily hurt my father (his grandpa) who is 85 years old or else get into a confrontation with someone that will hurt him.   The police say they cannot do anything unless he commits a crime or hurts someone.   
 
November 22, 2005, 7:59 pm CST

Bright, intelligent young adults

Quote From: kafm48

Hello, I'm sure my story is not unique, but I want to say it. I need to say it. Get it out. The last 3 years have been a living hell. Right now, our 20 year old son, Michael, is in short term residential treatment for paranoid schizophrenia. He has been unable to attend school or work since his senior year in high school. It's been 3 years. He got accepted to FSU on a Bright Future Scholarship the summer before his senior year. WE were so proud so happy. He was happy.  

  

But as quickly as the excitement came, it disappeared just as quickly. A month later, he broke up with Emily, the love of his life that summer and slowly spiraled into a deep, deep depression. He turned to alcohol and drugs to self medicate and starting experimenting with harder drugs. He stopped getting up for class, followed me around the house sad and in despair. He wouldn't seek medical help and I was at a loss to reach my beautiful, gifted child. His first psychotic episode happened while visiting friends at FSU and using mushrooms that fall. He came home talking of aliens and being taken up in space ships and speaking rapidly and incoherently. His father and I hospitalized right before Christmas.  

  

He was angry and resentful and embarrassed. He was in denial. All the things in his head were now real to him and we were the enemy trying to ruin his future in college, and with his relationships with his friends.  He was being left behind and he didn't understand why. Everyone now thinks he is crazy. The football player, wrestler, community service award recipient, Calendar Couple, honor roll student etc. etc. etc. was gone.  

  

Now, his life was involved with lawyers for a DUI, a BUI, a drug paraphernalia charge, probation, home schooling, a 3 month stay in a dual diagnosis center in South Florida, another stay in the hospital, a 3 1/2 month stay in another local SRT unit. We went to AA together, we went to family therapy, we went individually to therapy.  

  

My husband and I separated. I filed for divorce. I needed to protect my 2 younger sons. They told me either Michael left or they were. They thought he could change if he wanted. They wanted their older brother back. Not this person that scared them, embarrassed them, made their mother cry. 

  

No insight. Michael was still in deep denial. He only took  his medications while in residential treatments which never lasted  more than a few months. He didn't need the meds, he gained 40 pounds, he hated the way they made him feel  and now look.  

  

He stopped. No more Geodon, no Zyprexia, no more drugs period except the Zanax that quiets his panic attacks but is addictive and harmful in the long term. It is the only drug he wants or takes and it scares the hell out of me. Why do the doctors give it to him? 

  

But, we are the ones with the problem, Michael believes he has no addictions to alcohol or Zanax. He has no mental illness, if everyone would just let him be, he would be fine. But, he has spoken in tongue, he gets messages from the TV. He reads the Bible for hours at a time. He can find no rest, no peace, no sleep, no happiness. He is trapped in his body and mind. He feels ugly and unloved.  

  

His dream for the future are distant memories. He has days he thinks he can go on to college, days he can make a difference in the world, but morning comes and his demon keep him locked up inside his fears and paranoia. He can't break outside the paranoia to move ahead and he can't  see it. The doctors keep saying no insight, no insight, no insight......................................... 

  

But he has times during each day, he hugs you, says "I love You", helps you, smiles at you. He still loves football, the news, music, good food, fishing and friends. He reads voraciously. His conversations are speckled with wit and intelligent, caring, a glimpse of the past. Then the demons step in and push everyone away. No one knows what to say, it is so hard to hear the crazy stuff you simply stop talking, stop calling, making eye contact actually doing anything and everything that may upset him. 

  

I would gladly trade places with my child. Any mother would change places. I do not want to give up hope, but I am tired and scared Michael won't come back to us healthy and whole.  

  

I don't know where to turn anymore for help. I read, and read, and research and talk to agencies and professionals and no one can help us find a safe place for Michael.  

  

I believe his only chance at a healthy life is to go into a long term residential facility with a structured day and medicine supervision. Perhaps a year  maybe longer i hope not but, he is no longer on my insurance and is now on Medicaid and there is no where or no one who wants to help anymore.  Money talks, money finds the best facilities, the best  psychiatrists. I am a only a teacher my husband is self employed.  

  

I was forced to drop Michael  from my state school system insurance  because he wasn't a college student and was living with his father at the time.Thank God, we have since reconciled and I have come to understand that it is not our fault, we did not cause this and we need each other to hold on to because no one else could live through what we do each day. No one could love this child as we do and no one will fight for his recovery if we don't.   

  

I am a teacher specialist/trainer, I have a degree in psychology and i spend my days offering parents and teachers hope for their children with disabilities. I can teach  them about behaviors or ADD/ADHD or learning strategies or brain research in learning. You name it i will find  them help, I will teach a class, I will develop a power point, I will put on a family conference for hundreds. But I can't help my own child........and what happens to Michael when his father and I are gone?  

  

I am so afraid for Michael .  My heart is broken and aches but I will not give up. I believe in the power of collective prayer. I want to believe in miracles. Please pray for Michael's  insight into the illness, please pray I locate a transitional home for him that takes Medicaid, please pray for my younger sons that they will find the courage to forgive.  

I just submitted my message on my nephew.  I was reading the message board and came across your letter.  When I took my nephew to the doctor and then to the mental health clinic when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, I was told that this mental disorder affects usually bright, intelligent  young men and women.  For whatever reason they cannot handle the pressure and this is what happens.  It is such a shame because most of these young people are so intelligent and have such a bright future ahead of them and then this happens.  We are in the same situation with my nephew.  He doesn't want to take any medication because he doesn't like the way it makes him feel.  He, too, took drugs in college and I asked the doctor if this could be a result of the drugs (mushrooms) and he said no.  I worry all the time not knowing what he could do if he has an episode.  He has already had several within the last few months where he just goes berserk, talking to himself, waving his arms, trying to climb telephone poles, etc.   

  

As you stated, all we can do is pray for for them.  I pray each day for a miracle and I'm not giving up. 

 
November 23, 2005, 6:34 am CST

Mental illness and maintenance

Mental illness is manageable, but not curable.  Drugs, therapy, and other positive feedback can help.  But I do believe that if you take the psyhcotic drugs, you absolutely cannot stop taking them.  So once you start drug treatment, it's imperative that you stay on the drugs.  GENETIC!>>>it is in my family.   Dr. Phil, and his experts on the show are on point with their discussion.  But, people for most of the mental illnesses, such as the illnesses described on Dr. Phil, medication is a given.
 
November 23, 2005, 6:59 am CST

help for schizophrenia

 I was moved to tears when Mary said she can't be pretty anymore because of her medication side effects and that it's a trade-off.  There ARE antipsychotics that are associated with minimum side effects, including weight gain.  Seroquel (quetiapine) is one.  The average weight gain on this medication after 1 year of treatment is approximately 4-5 pounds as compared to 25 pounds with Zyprexa.  In the most recent comprehensive study "CATIE" done by the National Institute of Health found a 1.1 pound weight gain with Seroquel over the 18 month study period.  All the second generation antipsychotics are effective in controlling hallucinations and other symptoms of schizophrenia but there are some very important differences in the side effect profiles of these agents and Seroquel is the safest and most tolerable.  NO patient should have to accept living with side effects until they have tried all the available therapies at the appropriate doses.  There is even data that demonstrates that patients who gained excessive weight on other agents lost some weight when switched to Seroquel.  Seroquel is also the only antipsychotic (except Clozaril) that has no more neurologic (EPS, akathisia) or sexual (prolactin) side effects than placebo at any dose.
 
November 23, 2005, 7:11 am CST

genetic predisposition to schizophrenia

 While the etiology or cause of schizophrenia is not understood, there is clearly a genetic link and a higher incidence among people who have a family history for the disease.  The young women on the show with family members who suffer from schizophrenia are right to be concerned for their own health.  The prognosis for schizophrenia is much better for patients who have fewer psychotic episodes.  So it is VERY IMPORTANT that they seek help and aggressive treatment if they should start experiencing any symptoms.  Researchers are trying to find out how to prevent schizophrenia in people with strong family histories for the disorder.  There is some research out of Australia on prophylactic treatement with antipsychotics  for young people with parents who suffer from schizophrenia.  There is also some compelling data on the relationship between the use of marijuana and the development of schizophrenia, so anyone with a positive family history should absolutely avoid this substance!  I advocate everyone having a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner to help ensure brain health but certainly anyone with a strong family history of schizophrenia or other serious brain disorders such as bipolar disorder should seek professional help to maintain their mental health.
 
November 23, 2005, 7:24 am CST

Not giving up

Quote From: snuanez

I just submitted my message on my nephew.  I was reading the message board and came across your letter.  When I took my nephew to the doctor and then to the mental health clinic when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, I was told that this mental disorder affects usually bright, intelligent  young men and women.  For whatever reason they cannot handle the pressure and this is what happens.  It is such a shame because most of these young people are so intelligent and have such a bright future ahead of them and then this happens.  We are in the same situation with my nephew.  He doesn't want to take any medication because he doesn't like the way it makes him feel.  He, too, took drugs in college and I asked the doctor if this could be a result of the drugs (mushrooms) and he said no.  I worry all the time not knowing what he could do if he has an episode.  He has already had several within the last few months where he just goes berserk, talking to himself, waving his arms, trying to climb telephone poles, etc.   

  

As you stated, all we can do is pray for for them.  I pray each day for a miracle and I'm not giving up. 

I cried reading your reply. It helped so much to know others have experienced what we are dealing with our oldest son. The loss of a bright, creative mind with the world at their door and it slams shut. Thank you and I will pray for your nephew as well.  The holidays are especially difficult  for us to get through.
 
November 23, 2005, 7:56 am CST

11/23 Schizophrenia

Quote From: snuanez

I just submitted my message on my nephew.  I was reading the message board and came across your letter.  When I took my nephew to the doctor and then to the mental health clinic when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, I was told that this mental disorder affects usually bright, intelligent  young men and women.  For whatever reason they cannot handle the pressure and this is what happens.  It is such a shame because most of these young people are so intelligent and have such a bright future ahead of them and then this happens.  We are in the same situation with my nephew.  He doesn't want to take any medication because he doesn't like the way it makes him feel.  He, too, took drugs in college and I asked the doctor if this could be a result of the drugs (mushrooms) and he said no.  I worry all the time not knowing what he could do if he has an episode.  He has already had several within the last few months where he just goes berserk, talking to himself, waving his arms, trying to climb telephone poles, etc.   

  

As you stated, all we can do is pray for for them.  I pray each day for a miracle and I'm not giving up. 

 I am a psychiatric healthcare professions also in Florida and understand your frustration in finding an appropriate treatment facility for Michael.  You mentioned that Michael refuses Zyprexa and Geodon.  Zyprexa is associated with an average 25 pound weight gain over 1 year and often much, much more, not to mention the risks it poses for diabetes.  Geodon is a very activating drug and can cause a patient to feel very anxious and agitated.  No wonder he is not interested in continuing these treatments and not interested in the next idea for medication. Unfortunately, "lack of insight" is part of the disease.  You are right about the addictive nature of the Xanax.  It's a very effective anti-anxiety medication but risky.  Perhaps he should try Seroquel.  It is an antipsychotic indicated for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder but often used for it's "calming" effects as a substitute for drugs like Xanax in patients with addictions, anxiety disorders, and other psychiatric disorders.  Doctors frequently report that patients like their Seroquel and how it makes them feel.  The added benefit for Michael would be that if dosed appropriately (at least 600-800mg) Seroquel is an effective antipsychotic and could help improve his psychosis, depression, cognition and even improve his insight so he could move forward with rehabilitation.
 
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