My book A Life Worth Living – Schizophrenia Alternative Treatment is now published and available on Amazon. In this month’s posts I will include excerpts from chapters of the book. My book is a must read for parents with children with schizophrenia and offers a real solution.
A family with a member or child with schizophrenia is forced to make a succession of rapid-fire decisions for which they have neither information nor experience. They turn to psychiatrists, and the doctors tell them nothing. Nothing except, “Take the medicine, and if there are any side effects, take another medicine.”
“What are the side effects?” you ask.
“Anything that seems abnormal,” they answer.
“Abnormal? Everything seems abnormal!”
“Rigidity, shaking, tremors in the mouth.”
It’s devastating! Doctors, so sure of themselves, offer nothing but half-hour appointments for medication management at $150 per half hour! They tell you nothing about what to expect or about the horrible “normal” numbing side effects from the drugs—the side effects that cause 75 percent of young people newly diagnosed with schizophrenia to stop taking them within the first year and a half (NY State Mental Health).
This happened to my family; two divorced parents, one in northern California and the other in southern California. Our only son, Marco, suddenly began having symptoms of mental disturbance just before he was to move to University California Los Angeles to begin his junior year of college. He arrived at my, his mother’s house in Los Angeles, showing a frantic, anxious state that would later be revealed and diagnosed as schizoaffective disorder. We left each doctor’s visit, numb, bewildered and scared out of our minds.
What is this great secret about schizophrenia that doctors can’t tell you? Is it really such a mystery? Are there no studies? Is there no practical advice? No common sense that can be shared with parents who are bewildered and scared out of their wits? After Marco was diagnosed and had his first hospitalization, we contacted Dr. Mackliff, a psychiatrist in Ecuador who had developed a radically different treatment for schizophrenia based on his observations of his schizophrenic patients over a thirteen-year period. He told us, “Postpone your son’s entry into the university for one year; the studying and stress of a new environment will burn the glucose in his brain and worsen his condition.” This was the first helpful advice we received. Later, Marco’s American psychiatrist would tell us, “He might do just fine at the university.”
“Take him to a hospital,” Marco’s first psychiatrist told us after Marco appeared in his office in a psychotic state. “Here’s an admittance order. Take him to a day program or full time. Take him now. No insurance? Go to UCLA Harborside, the county hospital.”
A thin line exists between what we call “normal”—the expected, routine, and comfortable—and “madness.” Schizophrenia crossed this line for my son, Marco, and for us, his parents. The familiar was stolen from us, and we crossed without choice into the unknown, terrifying, and dangerous territory of schizophrenia.