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Thursday, February 19, 2009 Kaye, Community Member, asks

Q: My 23-year-old son was diagnosed as Paranoid Schizophrenic 2.5 years ago right after a TBI.

Neuropsychiatrist has put him on Haldol 5 mg and Amantadine 100mg for a couple months, then Seroquel 900 mg at bedtime and Lamictal 450 mg every morning, and he has been on this regimen for 13 months.  My son is IDDM for 15 years, and the Seroquel cause his blood sugars to go completely out of control to where his hemoglobin A1C was at 13%.  He was becoming very ill.  After 13 months of being on Lamictal tomorrow he is scheduled to take a blood study to get his Lamictal levels.  Last week, they started titrating him off Lamictal and Seroquel.  Today he is complete off Lamictal and taking 300 mg of Seroquel.  He also started taking Perphenazine 2 mg two times a day.

 

I have noticed a change in behavior.  He is a student and is very paranoid to the point where I may have to withdraw him from school.  He is so unhappy because he is different.  Before the brain injury he was a little superman, an athlete, very social and he excelled in academics.  I don't think he is on the best medications to control the paranoid schizophrenia.  He also is challenged with Bipolar, PTSD, and OCD.  I really don't know what else to do for him.  I asked his psychiatrist if there was anything else that can be done to help him from suffering and to prevent the relapse, but the psychiatrist tells me that there is nothing else to do but to put him on Abilify.  I want to keep my son at home with me and not place him in a home, but his behavior is so strange.  He paces the floor at night thinking that someone will will break in.  He constantly worries about what others think of him.  He is challenged with the auditory and sometimes visual hallucinations, but more auditory.  It's like he is so tormented.  I have to avoid crowds and make sure he don't encounter any stressor that can triggor a relapse.  I can go on and on, but one thing I do know is that I want my son to experience some peace of mind soon.  I am a parent and I feel so helpless.  I know there is something out there to help him, but I don't really know where to start.

 

I'm currently researching medications to prevent paranoid schizophrenic symptoms and I am very much interested in possibly recommending Geodon, Zyprexa and Risperdal and maybe Clozapine.  Which are the best in terms of treating all of his mental health issues?  Which ones will give him immediate relief of symptoms? 

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Answers (8)
Christina Bruni, Health Guide
2/20/09 7:30pm

Hello Kaye,

 

I understand your wanting to help your son find relief from his paranoia.

 

I'm sorry, I do not know what IDDM is shorthand for, so I'm not sure how it would effect the types of SZ drugs your son could be prescribed.  Please clarify.

 

The drugs you suggested-Risperdal, Zyprexa and Geodon are all used to treat schizophrenia, each with their own side effects and profiles.  Zyprexa can cause weight gain, as can Risperdal and Clozaril [Clozapine], leading to diabetes and heart disease.

 

Geodon and Abilify are less likely to cause weight gain.

 

I'm hesitant to recommend a particular drug because different people respond differently to each drug, and what works for me or one of my friends might not work for your son.

 

However, I am going to give you an anecdote.  It isn't intended as medical advice, so please don't use it as such.  I tell you what I'm going to tell you because you are so concerned about your son.

 

Clozaril is a drug often used in cases where there has been no prior relief with other drugs.  I have a friend who was really not doing well until he went on the Clozaril and now he's seen a dramatic improvement.

 

This isn't intended as a recommendation, because your son could try it and have a bad experience.  What I'm getting at is this: you should try every drug out there to find the one that works, and if all fails, try every new drug that comes out on the market when it comes out.

 

It's too early to give up hope and if a certain drug has run its course, you have the right to consider if switching would be an option.

 

Never, ever give up hope!

 

Regards,

Christina

 

 

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Donna-1, Community Member
2/21/09 4:28pm

I agree with Christina -- it is possible that your son has to try a number of medicaitons before finding the right one or the right mix.  I tried several mood stabilizers and antidepressants that did not work.  Then I tried ECT which didn't help much if any.  Then I was put on Zyprexa, which works.  I have also tried Seroquel, Haldol, Risperdal, Abilify and Geodon, and still, Zyprexa is the only one that works. And I take it with Zoloft and Wellbutrin for depression.  I'm not saying this is what your son needs, I'm just saying it may take a while and several trials to find what works best.  It seems to me that each medication has its own set of side effects, and some of the side effects seem worse than the disease.  But if your son is like me, he will have to put up with the side effects of medication in order to reach a satisfactory level of recovery.

 

Carolyn

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Kaye, Community Member
3/22/10 1:38am

Thank you.

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SpandaDevi, Community Member
2/22/09 8:28pm

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Dear Kaye,

 

Have faith that you will find the right treatment for your son; you will! It just takes time.

 

It is super that your son has your support. Eventually, your son will have to take a strong interest and become an active participant in treatment. For now, the reassurance of your love will go a long way.

 

A decade ago, I was on three of the drug you mentioned simultaneously and more. I was diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, rapidly cycling bi-polar and with PTSD.

  

Risperdal is a horse tranquilizer. In my experience, it works well to suppress violence and aggression and there are pretty immediate results from the med although it took 2-3 months for me to see full spectrum results. Risperdal can have a zombie like effect if the dose is too high which means you will lose the ability to communicate effectively with your son, he will be too far gone and unfeeling. This also happened to me. The doctor increased dosage too quickly. Risperdal can be can be an effective option.

 

I had a bad experience with Zyprexa. I had TIAs for it. This caused permanent white spots on my brain from lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain. This later lead to seizures and impaired cognitive function for a few years. I suggest avoiding any med with serious side-effects, such as TIA. There are plenty of alternative meds. 

 

Seroquel knocked me out. A bomb could have gone off in my bed and I wouldn’t have noticed. I took it only at night for insomnia. The Seroquel was useful to allow for sleep without remembering my dreams and having to experience flashbacks and symptoms that interfered with sleep. Although I gained weight, I found it helpful for a period of time.

 

You may wish to better understand why your son’s doctor is choosing the drugs he is. You may also wish to consider keeping a log/journal of your son behavior so that you can offer that objective feedback to the doctor. It may go a long way to help identify what treatment is working. I also want to encourage you to switch meds and practitioners as many times as it takes until you see marked improvement based on results of treatment. 

 

For what it's worth, I had tremendous success with the vitamin 5HTP; a Naturopath recommended it to me. It's possible that you could speak to your son's doctor and discuss a drug which functions like 5HTP. Alternatively, you could consider adjunct therapies such as working with a MD and an ND to help find the right combination.

 

Other than drugs, you may wish to consider other forms of therapy such as walks in nature. For me, the awe and serenity of beauty offered some temporary relief from symptoms. Eventually my disorders went into remission from a solid meditation practice. I encourage you to consider all options for your son. There is a lot out there. Good luck!

 

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sbrandenborg, Community Member
3/19/10 11:33pm

I recommend you read about orthomolecular pschiatry. It invloves the use of vitamin supplements and niacin (the vitamin B3). It was founded by the psychiatrist Dr. Michael Lesser who is still in practice in the San Francisco bay area. Dr. Lesser has even made speeches to the US congress about his work. He got his degree from Cornell University. He even wrote a book called "The Brain Chemistry Diet" where you can learn about your brain personality and find out what foods you should eat and what specialty vitamin supplements you can take depending on your brains personality type. If you dont like your medications this diet and vitamin therapy specialized to your case will even completely get rid of your need for debilitating drugs that a lot of people say you will need for the rest of your life. Dont believe that bullshit. You dont need those bogus medications (drugs) at all with the help of orthomolecular pschiatric vitamin medicine. I hope you read into this field of psychiatry because it sounds like you could use it.

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Kaye, Community Member
3/22/10 1:39am

Thank you.

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sbrandenborg, Community Member
3/19/10 11:30pm

I recommend you read about orthomolecular pschiatry. It invloves the use of vitamin supplements and niacin (the vitamin B3). It was founded by the psychiatrist Dr. Michael Lesser who is still in practice in the San Francisco bay area. Dr. Lesser has even made speeches to the US congress about his work. He got his degree from Cornell University. He even wrote a book called "The Brain Chemistry Diet" where you can learn about your brain personality and find out what foods you should eat and what specialty vitamin supplements you can take depending on your brains personality type. If you dont like your medications this diet and vitamin therapy specialized to your case will even completely get rid of your need for debilitating drugs that a lot of people say you will need for the rest of your life. Dont believe that bullshit. You dont need those bogus medications (drugs) at all with the help of orthomolecular pschiatric vitamin medicine. I hope you read into this field of psychiatry because it sounds like you could use it.

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Kaye, Community Member
3/22/10 1:33am

Thank you very much for the information.  Earlier this week I was watching public television and there was this guy, Dr. Daniel Amen, Neuropsychiatrist who wrote a book called "Change Your Brain Change Your Life", and it describe how specific structures in your brain work and what you can do in terms of changing your diet to prevent impulsivity, depression, anxiety, etc.  I think this orthomolecular pschiatric vitamin medicine, diet and therapy could possible help my son.  Thank you for the confirmation.

 

Sincerely,

Kaye

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sbrandenborg, Community Member
3/23/10 3:45pm

Your very welcome. I use this field of psychiatry everyday. Don't forget to read the "brain chemistry diet" by Dr. Micheal Lesser and always take niacin (vitamin B3) everyday. A nutrient rich diet with vitamin supplements and plenty of exercise and rest will dramatically change a mentally ill persons life and even get rid of the need for pysch drugs which i dont think anybody wants to take. If you have anymore questions please e-mail me and spread the word of orthomolecular medicine to anybody who expresses a desire for help with their mental illness or thier medications.

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Palmtrees, Community Member
5/ 3/10 1:51am

Hello, I will be brief as possible.  My son is 22 years old and was diagnosed with Paranoid schizophrenia at the age of 19.  After trying a series of medication, I will tell, get your son off of all that the doctor has put him on a request/demand that he either be put on Risperdal Consta, which is a twice per month injection that works extremely well for paranoid schizophriena.  You have described my son to a tee, both before p. shizophrenia and after.  I had to demand this medication.  An even better drug is Invega Sustenna which is a shot received once per month.  This is what my son is on now because although the RC worked very well, he was having severe weight gain and the most horrible eye disorder/pain as a result of his eyes.  In addition, it actually caused my son to hear voices and see shadows.  With an exception of the side effect, it worked very well for him, to the point, that my son has returned to college, is 100% normal.  Switching to Invega Sustenna, the weight gain and the increased appetite has stopped, and he absolutely has no side effects.  The best part of it is that he only has to go once per month for the injection. My son is on no other medication except the injection, and he loves it.  The medication has brought my son back to me.  He even now lives in his own apartment, has a part job and goes to school full time.  When you switch to either one of the shots, the doctor will taper off his medication that he is currently on when he received his first injection.  In all honesty, I would just go straight to the Invega Sustenna because it works so well for my son.  I had to demand that he be allowed to try this drug, and I'm glad I stuck to my guns.  I do have to add, my son also demanded because he told the doctor that if he didnt' get another drug that would not cause the unbearable side effects that he would just go off the medication. I didn't want to go back to that.  Unfortunatley most pyschiatrist really don't care about their patients, they just medicate and do not listen. If you would like additional information or would like to talk, you can email at t.fralin@yahoo.com.  God has healed my son, and he has carried us through.  God bless.

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justme, Community Member
10/27/10 4:36pm

My 21 year old son was diagnosed with Paranoid schizophrenia also.  He was diagnosed Bipolar 1 at 17.  He was intellectually gifted, an elite athlete and had musical talent.  His history of hospitalization, getting jailed and continuously going off meds led to his needing another option.  Invega Sustenna is his miracle medication.  He also takes Depakote and Seroquel (when he has trouble sleeping).  For six months now, he has worked full-time and is leading an independent life.  We believed there was no hope for him.  Long term hospitalization appeared to be the only answer. We are so full of hope now and are grateful to his determined doctor.  These medications are very expensive, but in my son's case, there were no other options and insurance has covered him.  He laughs now (I so missed this) and playfully jokes around.  He is happy.  I never thought I would use those words to describe him ever again.  Invega Sustenna brought my son back.

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stacy, Community Member
4/ 3/12 3:52pm

Can you recommend your son's psychiatrist? It is a hard process to find the right one.

Thank you...

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danceswthwords, Community Member
10/14/10 3:03am

Hello,

My son also suffers (suffered) from many of the symptoms / disorders as your son.  My son is 80-90% better now, for over six years because I used orthomolecular medicine for him.  I followed Dr. Hoffer's advice and put him on high doses of Niacin, Vitamin C, zinc, and salmon oil.  I also use some cal mag.  I also had him tested for food allergies (blood tests) and did food eliminations with him.  It was hell.  The food is hard to figure out.  I had to put him in homes at times because I am alone and could not do it when he was violent.  He can be very angry and aggressive.  But when I started the treatment and took him off dairy and sugar he was much improved.  He stopped having seizures and started learning better. He then started sniffing things.  The psychiatrist said it was OCD.  Hoffer told me he was getting his smell back from the zinc and it would pass.  It did.

 

My son has not needed to be hospitalized since soon after starting the vitamins and diet.  I took wheat out and the violence stopped immediately.  If he has it we pay the price.  He is that sensitive.  Doctors say this isn't possible. I lived through it.  My son is much better.  I have witenesses.  They all saw the difference and remind me when I can't believe it myself.  

 

Why not try it?  You can go to dryourself.com or to Dr. Hoffer's articles or books or to Orthomed.org as a place to start.  It can't hurt and I am sure you will find it helps.

 

Doctors today would have us believe drugs are the answer to health problems.  But we are made of bone and blood and tissue and organs and vitamins and minerals.  Our lives and health are sustained by food.  It's really a no-brainer. 

 

You can also find similar info on Jenny McCarthy's page - on how other child hood disorders with symptoms that cross over are treatable with diet and natural therapies. 

 

I wish you well and am sending you hope and encouragement in healing your son.  I believe it is possible.  Also try to do things every day to take care of yourself.  It is a big burden to carry.

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sabrina, Community Member
7/ 7/11 2:12pm

my son was just given saphris, worked like charm, sublingiul.hope all goes well.

 

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Anonymous, Community Member
8/30/11 11:30pm

Hi,

 

I read your entry and I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia too but at 41 years old.  I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital because I refused to believe that I had this problem.  I was forced to take risperadal injections once every two weeks.  It had no effect on me for about 6 weeks but I became gradually better and better.  The injections were too painful so I chose to take Risperidone tablets 1 mg twice a day (which is a very small dose) and I feel perfect.  My symptons are gone and I feel completely normal.  I will be returning to work shortly.  I feel like my old self prior to the illness. The only thing is that when a person is on risperidal or risperidone they tend to want to eat more but it's not the same for everyone.  I gained about 30 pounds and my weight is starting to decrease slightly but some people never gain any weight at all.  People who are on this medication should continue exercising so that they don't have weight gain.  People who take this medication have to take blood tests probably once every six months to monitor thyroid, liver and blood cholesterol levels.  If people gain too much weight, they may get diabetes so it's important that they try to maintain a normal weight at all times.

  

When I first got sick, the psychiatrists tried me on all kinds of different medications and it never did any good.  Sometimes, I would feel so groggy that I couldn't get out of bed.  Seroquel didn't work, abilify didn't work, only risperidal and risperidone has worked for me.  It has less side effects than the other medications.  Weight gain, I would say, is the only side effect I've had to deal with.  Hope that helps you.  Take care

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By Kaye, Community Member— Last Modified: 04/03/14, First Published: 02/19/09