Son has beginnings of Psychosis - How best to support?

My 21 year old son has been a heavy cannabis user since about the age of 14 - me and his Dad divorced when he was 4 as his Dad was physically and verbally abusive - My son did reasonably well at school and at college then dropped out of a music course at University and had lost every job he’s had down to stubbornness, timekeeping and just bizarre behaviour - his behaviour at home was erratic and he was verbally abusive to me and his sisters - about 6 months ago he started saying that groups of people in our town were following him, that random people were stamping their feet on the street when they walked past, that sounds were coming out of the wall when he had certain thoughts and that our house was being listened to - he only talks to me about this and presents as relatively normal to others. Things were horrendous in the New Year - he became aggressive verbally and aggressive towards property which really scared his 2 sisters - one is doing her A levels and doing really well and the other works hard at school and is amazingly resilient - I called the police to the house multiple times in one week as I am a lone parent (I work full time as a Carer for patients with complex dementia and I receive no financial support from my ex husband - my parents are supportive but in their mid seventies and need some peace now so I try not to involve them) - the police referred me to social services and I have had to ask my son to leave - he is also not allowed into the property. I have tried to get him to speak to a Doctor, the local MH triage team but he won’t saying all his experiences are real and they can’t help - He has refused supported accommodation from housing services saying he does not want to attend group meetings or abide by curfews - he is always begging me to come in for showers which I obviously have to refuse - I’ve told him that I am always here to listen, I wash his clothes and take him meals - the only way I can see this playing out is him hitting rock bottom and being sectioned - it is a horrible frustrating situation as he won’t engage and I can’t have him at home anymore as he is a danger to us all - he can’t go to his Dads as he hates him because he’s abusive and I have no siblings he can live with - does anyone have any similar experiences or advice they can share? Thank you :slight_smile:

Hi Francesca and welcome to the forum.

I had a similar experience to yours. My son smoked cannabis and took other drugs as a teenager and he was expelled from school. He did get his O levels and went on to college, but after a few months he began to say that people outside our house were talking about him. He was seen by psychiatric services and put on Olanzapine but after a few years the sedation got too much for him and he switched medication. Then we began a long saga of him changing medications or stopping them altogether and suffering psychotic episodes. At times he has become aggressive, though at the moment he is stable and amenable.

You are doing a great job of helping your son and I’m so sorry you are going through this. I don’t know what to advise, but you might find that if he is sectioned he will be able to access the help he needs. Sectioning isn’t all bad; we have some lovely psychiatric nurses in our area and my son is often grateful to get some respite in hospital when he has been through a difficult time.

I have been told that if psychosis is left untreated it can become a way of thinking that is hard to break out of.

It is good that your daughters are resilient but they will not be unaffected. You might want to suggest to them that they access some support, if only to talk through their experiences.

Wishing you all the best.

You may find the following sites useful

A friend of my family’s son was section due cannabis use. Whilst it was deeply traumatic at the time, it was the best thing that could have happend. As it allowed him to access the support he needed. Getting on for 15 years on now he has a stable job, partner, and is looking to buy the council house he moved into after he was released from care. x