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Monday, December 27, 2010 Worried Mom, Community Member, asks

Q: My son is 18 and hearing voices and paranoia, will the voices stop with the right medicine?

My son is 18 and has been hearing voices and paranoid for about 5 months, he has been hospitalized twice.  The voices are telling him that he is going to hell and that God doesnt love him and also that he will die when he goes to sleep.  My son believes he is the only one with this type of voices regarding God and hell.  If there is anyone out there that knows someone or has this type of paranoia or voices, please respond.  The new medicine he is on has worked tremendously for his focusing, but he is still hearing the voices.  Will the voices stop with the right medicine?

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Answers (4)
Christina Bruni, Health Guide
1/ 3/11 6:30pm

Hi Worried Mom,

 

It will take at least 3 years for someone diagnosed with schizophrenia to see even greater progress.

 

I talked with my Mom yesterday.  She drove me to the hospital within 24 hours of my breakdown.  I've been in remission 19 years because I take the medication every day as prescribed.  I've also talked with a couple of therapists over the years.

 

I suggest your son get involved with cognitive therapy to help him cope better with his symptoms.  If you live in New York City and have a fair amount of money to spend I could recommend a cognitive therapy center. 

 

If cognitive therapy is beyond your means I would investigate a mental health clinic that might offer some kind of cognitive therapy.  Or at least talk therapy.  I talked with a therapist for about four years after I got out of the hospital the first time.

 

Your son might want to attend a peer support group that meets every week where people diagnosed with various mental illnesses meet for support and feedback and encouragement.  After the meetings they often go out for lunch together or do other things.

 

Call NAMI at (800) 950-NAMI (6264) for the name and phone number of the local chapter in your city or town that will host peer support as well as family support meetings for yourself and your husband if you have one.

 

The road of recovery is not quick and is not easy yet it is indeed possible to recover.  To see the best benefit your son will have to stay on his medication for a long enough run to see the full effect.  At that time should the meds not work as effectively a change in dose or in type of drug might be warranted.

 

He should also talk with his doctor about any side effects and ask the doctor any questions he has and be honest with the doctor about his ongoing symptoms.

 

There is hope for your son.  You unwavering love and support will help him heal.

 

Regards,

Christina

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earlyriser, Community Member
12/28/10 6:16am

Dear worried mom,

 

I am a voice survivor. I started hearing voices at the age of 17, I am now 47. I heard voices for 29 years, despite the meds, and ECT's. The meds and ECT's helped control my paranoia, depression and anxiety.

 

I was resigned to the fact that I will always hear voices my whole life. I hadn't listened to them in years even though they were relentless. What I mean is that I knew they were talking but gave them no attention to what they said or wanted me to do. Its like a carnival, there's all kinds of sounds but not one would stand out.

 

The voices told me many things...all lies. Last year, 2009, I had enough. I sat on my hands for many years doing nothing to stop the voices. I read blogs where people had stopped hearing voices. I wanted that for myself. I began a war..me against the voices. One thing that I did was whenever a voice started to speak I would abruptly stop them from speaking and then push them out of my mind. It was like and addiction recovery. I stopped smoking and when the urge came to smoke I used distractions to take my mind off off the urges. It was hard to control those urges. I used those same actions to counter the voices.

 

It was very hard to stop the voices. I was determined to be done with them. It took week and months to gain any progress. When I first heard voices I heard them from sun up to sundown. Now 30 years later I hear them rarely.

  

I know its possible to stop the voices. Donj't give up looking for a med to help. Early on in my illness there wasn't many meds out there. Now there are several.  I take 5 meds daily. This "cocktail" of meds is keeping me on a good path of recovery.

 

I want you and your son to know that despite the voices there can be a good life. I worked for many years. I own my home and two cars which are all paid off. Given the physical things that I have, they don't outmatch the effort that I have achieved to overcome the voices.

 

Your support of your son is crucial to his recovery. Let him know that yes he can recover. I know this because I did. My motto "NEVER, EVER GIVE UP!" 

 

Let me conclude by saying that meds are essential in your son's life. Don't let my statement about the meds not curing the voices for me deter your son's treatment. Everyone is different and meds act on them differently. Meds are part of my life and my recovery process, I could not have come this far without them.

 

I wish you and son the best. You can always send me an email here.

 

There is hope.

 

Sincerely,

 

David

 

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Worried Mom, Community Member
12/28/10 7:20am

David

 

Thank you for the encouraging words, I will never allow my son to give up, I'm not going anywhere.  Unforutnately, he is in the beginning stages and I understand its going to be along road.  He is on a medicine called risperdal which is helping him focus more.  Before he said he couldnt focus because he was hearing the voices all the time.  So, I'm assuming he is not hearing them as much because we are seeing a tremendous difference.  We tell him all the time that he is getting much better, but he doesnt think so, is that common?

 

Once again, thank you and Happy New Year

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earlyriser, Community Member
12/29/10 4:45am

Worried mom,

 

I am glad your son is doing better. Risperadol is one of the meds I take. I am very happy to see you support your son. Support is vital and crucial to his path of recovery. I don't know if its common or not but when I was suffering I had my doubts if i was getting better. I would suggest that you encourage your son to journal. Writing really made a huge difference in my recovery. I have been blogging for at least three years. I also keep a private journal.

 

Take good care. Keep in touch.

 

David

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Don Fraser, Community Member
1/ 4/11 3:47am

Dear Worried Mom,

 

I looked at your blog-post and could relate to it immediately.   I'm a schizophrenia-survivor of 31 years.     I think one of your main concerns was the nature of the voices, something that your son and I share, in a way.Most of my hallucinations were about God, Jesus, and the devil although they were almost entirely visual.    The religious aspect of the illness is not uncommon and there are many people who share you son's tragic God/hell/death symptoms.

 

As a matter of interest to you, not to discourage you, it took my family and me almost 25 years to find the right medication (combo of meds.) to ease my pain.

Truth be known, there is no easy answer or "miracle drug" for schizophrenia.   The new drugs these days are about as effective as the old ones, just with different side-effects.

 

By the way, if your son believes something about his treatment, that's good, even if it is a deluded statement.      At least he's participating.

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Donna-1, Community Member
1/ 5/11 12:25pm

You have already done one of the most important things -- getting treatment for your son.  And he has already achieved one of the most important things -- having a good response to an antipsychotic.  Many people have to try many medications before finding one that helps.  Yes, he still has the voices and I used to, too.  Mine started at 11 and were the devil telling me I would be punished for my sins.  I did not see a doctor for this until I was 37 and was later diagnosed with schizophrenia.  I tried a multitude of medications and finally found that Zyprexa worked, but with troublesome side effects.  The Zyprexa got rid of the voices after a few years, but I began feeling better within a few months of starting it.  I took it for 13 yrs.  Now I am on a different medication with even better results and fewer side effects.  If Risperdal works well for your son, and it sounds like it is despite his still hearing voices, I would not advocate that you switch to anything else -- at least not at this early stage.  Sometimes if you stop a medication that works and return to it later, it will not be as effective the second time.

 

David said he was able to battle the voices and significantly reduce them.  And I've heard this is possible.  As someone else mentioned, therapy would be great.  But be sure to get a therapist who works with patients who have schizophrenia.  Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) did not help me at first, but after I started feeling better it helped me a lot.  It helped me understand why my ways of coping were not working very well and helped me to devise new and better ways of coping/reacting, and also helped me achieve some long-standing goals.  It is definitely worth a try, even if he can only go every other week.

 

I am 52 now and in my own apartment and about to return to school.  I did achieve a degree in my early twenties despite depression and schizophrenia.  I did hold down a well-paying job for many years.  I also was hospitalized several times when I needed it for safety's sake, and I don't regret the hospitalizations.  Different things work for different people, as in many diseases.  And like I said, you already have Risperdal on your side.  Continue to tell your son that you see improvement and you might even refer him to this site if he would like to post any questions or comments to those of us who know what he's going through and if it would not upset him to know you have already mentioned his problem here.  No names, no personal info needs to be shared -- we are just a community of people who have the same or similar health issues and are ready to give a listening ear and all the support we can.

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By Worried Mom, Community Member— Last Modified: 04/10/14, First Published: 12/27/10