Hello everyone. My 24 year old brother had his first psychotic break 2 weeks ago and was admitted to a psychiatric facility in a very confused, paranoid and delusional state. I put my job on hold and flew to his place as soon as his friends informed me. While at the facility, he declined visitation by his relatives and also declined to share his case records with anyone. I therefore have no idea how he was at the facility and what the doctors think is going on with him. He has recovered rapidly under medication and was discharged last week. He is currently living with me and after much coaxing told me that for the past 2-3 months he has been having occasional feelings (that lasted for about an hour) that someone was following him, and also that he was perfectly fine before that. I have been reading up on psychosis and what he told me seems like some sort of a prodromal period. I am dying to know what is going on, what disorder he has and what our family should be prepared for. I also have been going around town talking with his close friends, ex girlfriends and his thesis advisor. Here’s what I know for sure so far: there were no obvious stressors in the weeks prior to the episode that could possibly explain his psychosis, his grades were perfect (he had a 4.0 GPA) and his job as a phd research assistant was going great and also that he was completely drug and alcohol free. I am absolutely devastated and can’t wrap my head around this…the doctors are not very responsive because my brother is still declining to share his medical information with anyone. Is this the beginning of schizophrenia? What is going on… I am pretty overwhelmed and any suggestion is greatly appreciated…
Dang, I’m sorry to hear this my friend.
Sounds like some sort of psychosis. Has he been taking drugs? He would need a full evaluation. Here are some good places to go to get this early evaluation, and some resources:
Also - we have a “Family and Caregiver” forum where you would probably get the best feedback from people in a similar situation:
No drugs were involved as far as his very close friends could tell…I also searched his apartment and found nothing that could explain his psychosis.
Here is some reading:
Here are some resources - do you have other family members that can help you. Educate everyone, and keep a journal about your brother’s behaviors and beliefs so that you can share it with the mental health professionals.
Study this document:
FIRST Aid for Psychosis
How to get help:
Here is a good place to get your brother to, if you can:
I recommend you watch these videos:
I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! - Dr. Xavier Amador - Pt. 1
I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! - Dr. Xavier Amador - Pt. 2
He may just be having paranoid delusions. His grades may not have dropped but he may have stressed himself out so much that he had a psychotic break…it may not be permanent maybe only temporary but he needs to recoup from it. No stress, lots of sleep an meds, fish oil etc. Keep healthy or may become something worse like paranoid schizophrenia
Thank you so much!
Pardon me if I’m ignorant but isn’t schizophrenia a permanent condition? Is it possible for it to go away?
Sure- schizophrenia seems to be largely permanent but very episodic in nature.People can be fine for a many months or years but then relapse. But one psychotic break doesn’t mean its schizophrenia. It needs to be ongoing for over 6 months to be diagnosed schizophrenia.
Stress is a major trigger for relapse.
My friend had something like this happen and it turned out he was just bipolar and had a temporary break with reality. Only a doctor can tell you if the patient is honest and open with him. Get help and do not delay, early intervention is key.
Also - for you and your family:
My first long term hospitalization, having a girlfriend and friends to chat with really helped me come out of it because it allowed me to set my mind on something other than the hallucinations and delusions. He won’t want to stay too busy, but encourage him to do something enjoyable other than sit around and think. These thoughts are kinda like a flame, you gotta stomp em out quick so that he can forget about them and go on to living a normal life again Therapy is crucial as well. If he doesn’t have insurance or can’t afford it at the very least, though I think normal therapy would be better in a lot of cases, get online therapy which is cheaper, but again what is money when we’re talking about ones mental well being.
Thank you… my parents are ready to help too.
I see. Did it start out as paranoid delusions for your friend as well?
When i first got diagnosed i didnt want all my relatives talking behind my back about my bad luck. I think you could support him by helping him get over a shock of what happened.
I am sorry for your troubles. How long have you had symptoms before the first psychotic episode?
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