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. bob has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia .he is48 has lved with me 1 year.the other day i asked him to get his dishes a little cleaner.his reply,i'm gonna get a gunn and shoot you.later said .he was just kidding. is he safe to live h

By Anonymous June 19, 2010 - 6:25am
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Hello Anonymous

This is a difficult situation. I have a short answer, and a long answer. The short answer is, I don't know if you are safe, and it sounds like you don't either.

Most people with mental illness are not violent, including those with schizophrenia. However, I have questions for you. Is Bob in treatment with a psychiatrist? Is he in any sort of counseling? Is this a new diagnosis? Is he showing symptoms of psychosis or hallucinations? Some quick and easy ways to know if someone is hallucinating:

-They seem like they are listening or concentrating on something when there is no sound and it seems out of place.
-They look as though they are watching something that isn't there.

Auditory hallucinations are some of the most common, and if you know a person well you may be able to guess at whether they are hearing things such as voices by their demeanor.

If you think Bob is hallucinating, you can ask him. He may not want to talk about it, but some people are willing to say if they are seeing or hearing things. It depends on the person. I think because you live with Bob you need to get in touch with his treating physician or therapist and tell them about this comment. It may make things a little awkward, but it is important for both of you to be safe. Even if Bob was joking, he needs to know that isn't okay, and it made you uncomfortable. One of the problems with schizophrenia is the social difficulties that come with it. Patients often need coaching on how to appropriately interact with others, so even if this was a joke it will be helpful for Bob to know that this sort of thing makes people uncomfortable.

If you feel he may be suffering from an increase in symptoms, a break from reality, or difficult mood swings you should contact his treatment team immediately. Be open about it, tell Bob you are worried about him, and you are going to touch base with them. Explain non-judgmentally what your concerns are, but do not let him convince you not to contact his treatment team.

Please keep in touch and let us know how you and Bob are doing. Both of you need to be safe. If you ever feel truly threatened by him, call 911. Do not take a chance with your safety. Here is a link to a Mayo Clinic article about paranoid schizophrenia: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/paranoid-schizophrenia/ds00862 and one for the National Institutes of Mental Health: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/schizophrenia/what-are-the-symptoms-of-schizophrenia.shtml.

I wish you both peace.

June 19, 2010 - 10:06am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Cary Cook BSN RN)

Cary, thank you for your response. I talked to bob's dr.he sent him to emergency right away. Wouldn't even let me drive him.he was diagnosed when he was 13.he is a friend of my nephew, so I gave him a place to live.seems his family are not there for him very much. The hospital thinks he should not come back here. He ran out of some of his meds and didn want to bother any one. Most of the time he seemed very sweet.that's why I was concerned. He has been institutionalized off and one most of his life.I am feeling guilty for calling his dr.

June 20, 2010 - 10:10pm
(reply to Anonymous)

I am so glad you talked to his doctor. It is very dangerous for him to go off of those meds. While we hate to see someone institutionalized, you shouldn't feel guilty. One of the things that could have happened is that Bob could have ended up killing himself. Symptoms of schizophrenia can be really hard to deal with, and sometimes people just don't want to live with it anymore. So while he was threatening you, you may have actually saved his life.

Thanks for writing again. It sounds like Bob is very lucky to have you in his life.

June 21, 2010 - 6:33am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Cary Cook BSN RN)

Cary,thanks for writing back. I am a caring 61year old lady. My family was concerned as I am alone. As I said before, bob was always a sweet person. I know nothing of this disease but it s
eems very difficult and sad.Your comments helped very much. His family has moved him about 60miles away, so it is doubtful I will hear from him. I pray he will find happiness and heal.maybe someday there will be a cure.I read somewhere on line that after they turn 45 they improve greatly. Since you are a nurse, have you heard of this. Thanks again. Katie

June 21, 2010 - 10:11am
(reply to Anonymous)

Hi Again Katie-

I have also heard that sometimes mental illness, schizophrenia in particular, can "burn out" a bit as you pass middle age. I don't know how common that is, but I do know that in my few years working on psychiatric units patients tended to be hospitalized less often the older they got until they had geriatric issues such as dementia. Whether that was due to the burning out phenomenon or just getting better at managing their illnesses, I don't know.

A good place to look for information on schizophrenia is http://www.schizophrenia.com/index.php, or Schizophrenia.com. A great organization for those who care about mental illness issues is NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They are a nationwide organization in the US with many educational initiatives: http://www.nami.org/.

Thanks again for visiting the site and sharing your story. I wish you and Bob all the best, and I hope you can feel good knowing you helped him.

June 21, 2010 - 3:19pm
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