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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.


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November 23, 2005, 9:42 am CST

Lost my brother

On the show today, Dr. Phil mainly discussed schizophrenia as developing in teen years or later in life. I believe my brother showed signs of the disease from age 5 and on. When I look back at pictures of us as children, I can see a total change in his expression. He also would rock on his bed for hours. As his playmate, I never understood why he thought this was something fun to do. I believe my mother knew something was wrong, but she was afraid for him so did not seek help. Because we grew up in the 1970's, the odd way he dressed and acted didn't get the attention it might have at another time. Sometime before my mother passed away, my brother said he had a physical deformity and sought help from countless doctors who took his money and gave him all kinds of medications. After her death, the decisions fell on me to try to help him. A few years later, he threatened several times to kill himself with poison and was finally committed to a hospital ward for 30 days where he was diagnosed as schizophrenic. Imagine my surprise to learn that he did not have a deformity and was hearing voices. He was put on medication that seemed to help him be able to go to the store and function at home. He still believed he had the deformity and continued to seek treatments. Several years later, he stopped taking the medication for schitzophrenia because a doctor told him that it contributed to his physical problem. It took a couple months before I realized he wasn't taking his medication, and then I discovered I couldn't force him to take it. I called the local mental health place that he had to visit every month and they promised they would urge him to start taking it again, but he killed himself less than a week later. I don't know of anyone else in my family that ever had this disorder, and I am always watching for signs of it in my children (especially when they are depressed about something) and myself. Could he have been helped if someone had recognized his problem as a child? I live with the guilt of not doing enough to help him his entire life and I worry about my kids. Do my grandchildren have a chance of having schizophrenia? There are so many questions that are unanswered. Why did those doctors he went to for his supposed physical deformity give him medications when he had no problem? Why would a doctor tell a person taking medication for schizophrenia to stop taking it?        
November 23, 2005, 9:44 am CST

Seroquel Works

Quote From: karenrye

 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.
My son has been on Seroquel for about five years.  It is the ONLY thing that has ever helped him.    I can only hope and pray that Seroquel continues to be effective for him. 
November 23, 2005, 9:46 am CST

Schizophrenia Topic

I have not yet seen the program about schizophrenia but am looking forward to viewing it tonight.  I want to have a better knowledge of what my mother went through.  My mother, who passed away about 10 years ago, was diagnosed as schizophrenic and had to be hospitalized for the remainder of her life after she tried to kill me believing it was what she was supposed to do because of the "voices."  The diagnosis answered a LOT of questions my sister and I had.  She was a single mom during a time when "single moms" were rather a taboo subject.  She was marvelously talented and carried on her own decorating business and even though she had only an 8th grade education, she was extremely bright.  But she was tortured by "voices."  Her illness made her extremely abusive to my sister and to me;  by the time my sister, seven years older than I,  left home for college, she became her most sick.  Family members didn't know what was wrong with her-- everyone just thought she was "different" and "mean."  So I grew up thinking my mother hated me; grew up being physically and emotionally abused; I watched her mental health fail as years went by to the point where she believed she was God's prophet.  Days would go by where she wouldn't allow me to sleep so she could preach to me.  She suspected that our telephone was bugged by whomever.  These are only a few memories--most of them I have blocked.  When my mother died, no one wanted to give the eulogy-- because no one liked her-- including my sister who still carries a lot of anger.  I can say with complete sincerety that only through the Lord, I have been able to forgive her and the things she did to me even though I still bear physical and mental scars-- and I was able to speak at her funeral and talk about the good things of her life that she accomplished as a single mother who was ill and to talk about how much I look forward to getting to know my "real" mom someday.   In any event, I look forward to knowing even more about the tragic disease that for so many years messed up so many lives--especially hers.
November 23, 2005, 9:59 am CST

To Mary

Hi Mary, 

I just saw the show and I want to tell you how an amazing woman you are, I saw my brother in you, and I realise that what we take for granted is for you like running a marathon everyday. I admire your courage , honesty and williness to take charge of your life, and I realise how hard it is , which make it more amazing to me. You are my Hero ! 

    My brother was not as courageous as you, and no matther how much we wanted to take some of his burden, and shower him with love and courage , we  were not able to reach him. I read some post about bi-polar , depresion ect....Schizophrenia is a unique challenge , where you can change you physical and psychological response to other mental illness in order to have a certain control , it seem impossible with this illness, because the coping mecanisme are so different but you have found ways to cope with this condition that seem to work well. My brother could not predict what would come next , maybe it's just me , but you seem very in tune with what is going on with you and can react before it gets out of had , and reaching out is one of them , I read you went to the hospital twice this year , and I want to tell you , this was a wonderfull decision for you, a hard and difficult one , probably , but you did exactly what needed to be done and you should be so proud of you , because courage is making and doing very difficult choice,  and it is something you have to do many times a day. 

  Good Luck , you are an example and I hope life gets easier for you. and I hope the kind word you read will make their way into your heart to support you in time of need. 

November 23, 2005, 10:08 am CST

11/23 Schizophrenia

Quote From: jonseymom

Oh my goodness!  I'm so glad you are doing a show on this!  My mother just passed away on the 9th of October.  It has been terribly hard!  She was a schizophrenic AND a drug addict.  I have been living with terrible guilt and shame for the way I treated her before she died.  I had NO patience for her....because I did not understand her illness and how it had progressed over the last few years.  It was not until after she died that I began to do research on this disease.  It saddens me that it took her death for me to finally learn about it.  If I would have known more BEFORE it happened I believe I would have been a better daughter to her.  There is ALOT more to this story but I do not need to go in to that right now....just wanted to thank you for doing this show.  I hope that there is at least one child of a scizophrenic out there that learns something vital about their parent's illness so that they will not have to be where I am today...wrapped up in guilt and shame.  

Let go of the guilt & shame.  Don't live you life thinking what if.    You could not help your mother.  My sister has been bi-polar paranoid schioprenic for nearly 20 years.  There are times when I thought I'd loose her to suicide but i still lost patience and lost my temper with her.  ( I still do at times and feel like a complete ass) We are human and as humans were have human frailties.   


Your poor mother had 2 strikes against her- with the drugs and the illness.  No wonder you were frustrated.  Make your peace with your mother isn't to late, it's never to late.  You mother knows that you did the best you could at the time.  She knows that you did not understand the illness-----my Mom never understood my sisters illness, thought she was just trying to get "attention".  Your can honor your mother best by forgiving yourself.  She would not want you to go through life with such guilt & shame.  She'll understand. 

November 23, 2005, 10:11 am CST

not giving up

Quote From: karenrye

 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.
We meet with his doctor at the SRT next week, your reply was very timely and Seroquel has not been mentioned or tried in the last 3 years. Thank you.
November 23, 2005, 10:28 am CST

The lack of medical care

Quote From: r_u_4real

I have several in my family that has schizophrenia. "IT RUNS ON MY MOTHERS SIDE". My brother has it to. He causes us the most trouble. My brother has been jobless & homeless before to. Hes finally on disabilitly and draws a state check for about 500.00 & 60.00 in foodstamps a mth. and he does odd jobs. People knows when his check comes and often takes advantage of him. They either borrow money, have him buy them cigerettes or beer or they all go to the bar. One night his "so called friends" got him drunk on a cold December night. They had him take his clothes off and had him run around several houses naked. When he got back into the party they had him lay down naked and they all gathered around in a circle and had him sing "Here comes santa claus, while he was playing with hisself". "I HATE HIS FRIENDS".  He rides or walks everywhere "It doesnt matter how many miles what kind of weather". Several yrs. ago we all couldnt find him. We thought he was "MISSSING OR SOMETHING HAPPENED". He was gone for over a mth. He finally came back. We asked him where did he go and where was you and why didnt you tell someone where you were at. Well we all live in Missouri. He said he went on a vacation and hitch hike up to 'NEWYORK". He said "He had a wonderful time". He slept under bridges and overpasses. Caught fish and went to those shelters who lets you stay overnight and eat free. He said "He caught rides from time to time". Weve tried gettin help for my brother to. We didnt have the support of the family & police or the judge. "My brother dont see that hes mentall ill either". My brother had a van load of my dads guns after dad died. We finally got him to give the guns to dads brothers for "SAFE KEEPING". My brother was in the state mental hospital to. They had him on meds and let him out. They didnt do no follow up care on him either. "THERE IGNORANT". Were also extremely angry at how our state of Missouri takes care of our mentally ill. Im also angry at my sister, dads family, the police, judge "THERE IGNORANT". My husband and I we tried our best to help my brother. I met my husband through my brother, they were best friends in school. He snapped in 1979. We called the police and had him arrested and the police took him to the state mental hospital. The DR. told us "If my brother could stay on his meds for 1 yr. that he would be well enough he could go off the meds and leave a normal life". I also feel like I dont have a brother or a mother. Mom was mentally and physcially abusive to dad and us kids. If you have time read my post on "CHILD SECRETS". Theres alot of questions Id like to ask mom. But shes mentally ill. As I look back and think of all the abuse mom has did "MAYBE SHE WAS MENTALLY ILL BACK THEN". But then there were times when she seemed like a good mother. I dont blame your mom for being scared. "IM SCARED OF MY BROTHER TO". Its really hurts me & my husband to see my brother the way he is and we feel so "HELPLESS". I want the brother I grew up with. I can remember the time I was in JR HIGH and my husband would come over to visit my brother or go riding around. My husband would always want to wear my softball cap. Dad got sick with cancer and we moved to town and lost touch with my husband. A yr. later we all got back in touch. I was in high school and they had graduated. We started dating and got married. Well yrs. later my husband started talkin about when he liked me. He wanted to date me I was in JR. HIGH, but my brother told him I was to young. "HE WAS A BROTHER THAT PROTECTED HIS LITTLE SISTER". Now when my brother needs help or protectin "I CANT EVEN PROTECT HIM".

The worst part of dealing with this illness is the medical & insurance systems.  3 years ago I had to have my sister committed because of the illness.  The kept her overnight.  She was in and out of the hospital for several months.   Each time she would come home, I knew she was still sick.  She was delusional, hearing voices and paranoid & suicidal.  The Dr.s said that until she "did something to harm herself or someone else" they could not keep her based on insurance requirements.  So we went for months-----in the hospital 3-5 days and out again.  It was a nightmare.  My brother & I reconciled ourselves to the fact that she would kill herself & we would be helpless.   


We were lucky,  she won the battle but the medical & insurance companies didn't do much to help her. 



November 23, 2005, 10:37 am CST

11/23 Schizophrenia

Quote From: cenobia

My sister was just diagnosed with this illness.  It has been hard to accept, especially when she is doing odd things.  It started out with her believing in this cultish religion having to do with "twin flames" and "spirit guides".  I tried to talk her into getting help, but it didn't work.  Her husband finally got her to a hospital, but he had to lie and say there was a priest there who would do an excorsism on her.  She believed/s that she was/is possessed by an evil spirit after she did some ritual to call her spirit guide into her body.  This illness is very frustrating and scary.  My Aunt also has it, so I grew up around it, and I know how to deal with some of it.  She has had the illness for over 20 years.  Now she is in a good place, she lives on her own, does her own thing, and is generally happy.  She understands her illness, unlike my sister who still is in denial.  I do worry that I may have it sometime in the future, or that my kids may, since it is genetic.  But I will cross that road if it comes.  I saw that my chances are pretty slim, which is good, about 9% or something like that.  I wish they had some dna testing they could do, cause I would like to know.   

I hate the sterotype about people with this.  It doesn't cause violence, it's not a reason people with it become violent.  There are a lot of great web sites out there that give the facts.  I know a lot of people who automatically assume they are not safe around my family members, and that is sad.   

Anyway, my sister was in a mental institution for nearly 6 months.  She was on so many different medications, sometimes the meds seem worse than the illness, with all the side effects she had.  I may be seeing her this week, she lives quite a distance away from me, so I will be able to see if she is doing any better.  I can't really picture her with it yet, so I need to see her for myself I guess.   

It is one of the hardest things to go through, it's almost like the family member dies, because you have to say things like, "remember when she would do this before..."  or "She was so funny/talented/etc before..."  Just watching someone I love go through this kills a little bit of me each day.   

I hope everyone who has this in their family, and everyone who has it, can find peace in their lives.  Don't let it get you, you can still be a productive member of society, you can still do anything that you want, as long as you learn about the illness, and listen to the doctor, and believe in yourself.   


Don't think of your sister in terms of what she used to be like.  My sister has suffered with this for 20 years and she is so totally different from the girl I grew up with.  It used to tear me apart too!  Then one day I came to realize that I'm not the same person either.  We all change---that's a part of life.   


You said that your Aunt has been coping with this (successfully) for 20 years, well so has my sister.  She even has a sense of humor about it.  When asked why she picked out a horrid wall paper she responded,  "what do I know I'm crazy".   


You are is just now going through the tough part.  It will be very hard and you will see that she has changed but you will come to love the person that she has become.  Give her time to respond to treatment but give her love and encouragement.  Just remeber throught this whole thing you will change too.   

November 23, 2005, 10:40 am CST

amazing mary!

Quote From: congomama

WOW!  Mary, you are AMAZING!   You carry on with your day-to-day life, despite your illness.  That in itself,  is a major VICTORY!  You keep hangin' in there and God Bless You!!


    i have to tell you mary that i commend your courage as well. you're truly amazing and i know a lot of other people think so too. thanx for making the world aware of your illness. i know i understand it better now. i think you also have a great man on your side too. good luck to ya'll.  

November 23, 2005, 10:54 am CST

schizophrenia spectrum disorder


My 26 year old son was very recently diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorder.  He has been treating for OCD also. His neuropsychiatrist tells us that he believes he has had this for many years.  He recently had a psychotic episode and was hospitalized for two weeks.   For many years, he has been smoking a lot of pot and has had problems with alcohol.  In addition, he suffered a very serious closed head injury when he was 15 years old.  For years, we thought his difficulties were attributed to the head injury and the excessive drug use.   He has been from one doctor to another, therapy, etc. 


He is now on Lexapro, Lupron, and Risperdal.   Has anyone out there had any experience with this disorder, and the medications involved?   We know our son has to take these medications, however, he believes if he didn't take them he would be okay.   We are worried about the potential side effects, perhaps years down the road.   It is very hard to explain this illness to other people.  Any comments would be appreciated. 



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