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Are these paranoid schizophrenia symptoms?

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Dear all,

I suspect my fianc has a form or paranoia or schizophrenia but I'm not sure as he is a heavy weed consumer:

Sharp mood swings
Verbal violence
Violence: breaking things and wrecking his car, autodestructive behavior
Threatens to harm himself
Over analyzes things and read hidden negative messages in people's speeches directed to him even if it's a compliment
He is convinced that people think he is an outcast and think less of him
He doesn't usually get physically abusive until lately he hit and pushed me and pulled my hair
He has a problem with authority, cops and rules in general
Dangerous speed driving when he is angry
Very jealous and possessive and suspicious (think I might cheat, check my phone...)
He complains from racing thoughts and flashbacks of bad memories or stuff that have been said in the past and can't unplug...

All this occur when he is in crisis...otherwise he is a very sweet person, thoughtful, fun, very smart, educated and when he does something he does it perfectly. He is aware that he has a problem and that his behavior is not normal yet he stops seeing therapists and taking meds as soon as he starts, claiming he can make it without medical care and meds and that he is gonna quit...several vain attempts as he procrastinates a lot...he suffers from being this way and lately told me he suspects paranoid schizophrenia but that everybody has it at different levels.

Could it be just the weed doing this to him? or is weed just a catalyzer that revealed an illness?

I'm desperate as I'm going thru depression and taking meds because I can't take it anymore and it's affecting my work and daily life. I'm constantly scared to do or say smthg that might upset him and trigger the crazy state. I dont wanna let him down and want to help him and support him because I love him and there is more in him than just this illness (if it is one) but he needs to go back to the doctor and take meds but I dont know how to convince him. yet Im discouraged because i read so many scary stories about people fighting and struggling for years before they gave up and leave the ill partner because it's too much.

Any advice or support or info or tips both from people suffering from a similar condition or their families are welcome.

Thanx in advance for reading me
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First Helper User Profile Ozy
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replied February 18th, 2012
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I've lived a good part of what you've posted, maybe I can offer some insight.

I'm a paranoid schizophrenic (misdiagnosed as bipolar I for a number of years) with a lot of those same issues.

Now, I'm not going to come out and say it CAN'T be related to heavy marijuana use, I don't have that knowledge. However, I will stand up and say most research on the subject is terribly biased by the war on drugs. One of my most cited examples is the so-called "common knowledge" that marijuana causes brain damage. Funny thing about that is that is was "proven" by essentially cutting off test subjects (poor unfortunate monkeys) from all oxygen for over five minutes--and it IS fact that oxygen deprivation kills brain cells. If you do the research you'll find that a lot of dangers of marijuana were established by similar methods. I was talking to someone on another schizophrenia forum the other day, and he pointed out that in the last 20 years there has been a huge upswing in marijuana usage in this country, but there's no evidence of a concomitant increase in cases of schizophrenia. I haven't been able to find anything to refute that, really. If it really did cause schizophrenia, you'd be able to see the parallel. So often correlation gets confused for causation.

Now I do know, from talking with others who have schizophrenia and use marijuana (heavily or in moderation), that everyone's mileage is going to vary on this one. I'm a regular (and legal) user, and it helps a great deal with my symptoms. It helps me with racing thoughts, hallucinations, anxiety, even paranoia. I've encountered people who say that it's the only thing that works. But for some, it can indeed aggravate the disorder.

Gee, I'm not being very helpful yet, am I?

Anyway, I suppose the best suggestion I can make is that he needs to stay in treatment, but I'm guessing you already know that.

I know how hard it can be to live with someone like that, I've learned much reading these and other forums. Maybe it would help if you could get him to read some of people's experiences living with a schizophrenic? I know it's certainly inspired me to make some changes that my wife was real happy to see. Helped me appreciate her a lot more, too.

I have to add this one last thing, I can't walk away from it, and I'll not sugarcoat it. If he hits you again, leave and don't look back. No one deserves to be treated like that by someone they love.

I'm here daily if you want to talk.
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replied February 19th, 2012
Thanks Ozy for your reply and offer to support and listen to me...
The symptom that characterizes the most my fianc when he is not doin ok is the extent to which he loses temper and get so angry he becomes violent and out of control...I don't know if this is a relevant symptom or not...
He doesnt have hallucinations but a lot of racing thoughts...he doesnt hear voices per say but the thoughts are so strong he feels the need to talk to himself to shut them up...things like "noo nnoo, it cant be", "stop buddy you gotta be strong"...
He also thinks he is better then others in the sense that he is genuine and sincere and that he feels this world is not made for him...
So I dont wanna rush things and reach conclusions cause i'm no doctor...
Could you shed some light on that Ozy? did you experience feelings of anger and violence? are you on meds?
thanx again
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replied February 19th, 2012
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Anger, check. Tons of it. Anger at everyone and everything around me (which I realize is probably mostly misdirected anger at myself). It rears its head more often than I'm comfortable with, and yes, it does result in violence sometimes--though that's always been directed at inanimate objects. I've had to patch tons of holes in doors and walls (definitely better off repairing walls than people, though). More often than not, it results in me screaming my fool head off, sometimes at those that I love. One of the worst parts about this process is how easy it becomes to lose sight of what's really important.

I get REALLY DISTURBING thoughts of violence to others, and those always come with really graphic images. I actually associate that process with a couple of my voices--Lilith tells me what to do, and Boris shows me what it would look like. They're not near as bad as they used to be, but I still hate them both. Sometimes them talking is what sets off the anger, which is why I included them in this post. I don't know how to make/help anyone really understand what this is like, and I wish I could, so they could understand some of the anger better. I know it's pretty scary from the outside. This side, too. Maybe your fiance would be willing to share some of what sets him off so badly

Yes, currently on meds. They're helping, but I still get a lot of breakthrough symptoms. Going in next week to get them adjusted, I really feel they could do a better job.

Your fiance's "better than others/world is not made for him" bits really really smacks of the classic schizophrenic delusions of grandeur, too.

I think it's good that he tries to talk himself down like you mention, no amount of meds or therapy are really going to help without that kind of effort.

You have mentioned meds and therapy that he didn't keep up on, has he ever gotten an official diagnosis?

Have you looked around other sites for info and such? There's some real good ones out there, if you haven't checked out schizophrenia.com, I'd start there. They have all kinds of good info, links to treatment centers, what to do if your loved one won't see a doctor, etc.
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replied February 19th, 2012
He first started with seeing a psychiatrist who prescribed depakine (a mood stabilizer usually prescribed for people with epilepsy but also prescribed for depression and mood swings) in addition to lexomil...he had a bad reaction according to him and his condition worsened so he stopped. I didnt know him by that time.
I then convinced him to see another psychiatrist specialized in addiction and he started taking meds for anxiety and I notices the positive change but as soon as he felt good he decided to stop and thought he was gonna make it...he then lost his job...got depressed and became a heavy weed smoker, not leaving his room for days playing videogames and watching a lot of documentaries....
as a matter of fact, he seems to absorb too much info from the news and documentaries and I think it drives him crazy (it's always about how consumers are influenced, he is against the system, macdonalds, etc)
His has a passion which is surfing, the only thing that makes him happy is surfing waves...but he hasnt been doin much surfing lately.

To answer your question, no he has never had an official diagosis cause he has never been able to follow up with a single doctor enough time to have a diagnosis...plus I 'm not sure he tells them everything about his behavior...
what kind of meds are you on? do you mind sharing with me how did it all start? were u married then?

I'll definitely go check out schizophrenia.com, thanks for the tip...
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replied February 20th, 2012
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Current meds--lithium, wellbutrin, abilify, risperdal, depakote, and prazosin. If you ask me, pretty much only the lithium is helping anymore. Well, okay, the prazosin still dulls the nightmares some. The antipsychotics (abilify, risperdal) don't really seem to do much now, nor the antidepressant (wellbutrin). Although that cocktail does have one real evident effect--if I get too comfortable, anywhere, I fall asleep pretty quickly. It's very annoying.

I had a lot of depression issues when I was in grade school. In my early teens, I started hearing voices, but they were pretty minor. By the time I got out of my "teen depression years," those symptoms pretty much went away.

In 2000 was when I had my big meltdown, I was 37. I was under a lot of stress--school, money, no job, recovering from a quintuple laminectomy, blah blah blah.

The married part is complicated at this point--20 years, minus 8. We got together in '92, got married in '94, divorced in '96. We "sort of" got back together in '98; we "sort of" lived together then. In '99, she split to California with the kids.

So anyway. By mid 2000, there were Bad Things happening. Dripping walls, shadow people, carpets of snakes, racing thoughts, paranoia, mad rages, days and days without sleeping (sometimes because I was afraid to), this is also when Boris and Lilith started their tag-team attacks. Initially, they were the only two voices. Someone that I knew only in an online game, didn't even know her real name, called me at 3am from New Jersey, to convince me to seek help (I was always really amazed at that). Short version of what happened next is that I did, got on meds and got in to see a psych. I've kept up on meds ever since (though they keep changing), but I've been very lax about staying in therapy. Bad me.

Got back together in 2003, still together now. It's pretty challenging living together now, me being schizo and her having developed bipolar II. At this point I have to say she's a pretty amazing woman. Some days my symptoms get pretty out of control, and somehow she manages to deal with that, and me, and her own disorder. I think it's taking a pretty heavy toll on her, though. And yet still she does it.

Wait, this should have been at the very top! Surfer??? Do whatever you can to encourage him to get back out in the waves, nothing else will be as good for him as that. Of course, I still think he needs meds and therapy, but the ocean heals like nothing else, and the negative ions will be good for him, too.
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