It’s difficult to know what is causing the voices. Marijuana use has been linked to psychosis. Research has indicated that our brains are not fully developed until around the age of 25. Drug use before the age of 25 could significantly alter the brain chemistry and potentially lead to mental health problems.
The decision to stop using marijuana seems appropriate. The longer that he can abstain from using drugs, the more likely it is that the voices will decrease. However, the damage might have already been done. Only time will tell.
He has refused professional help but that is what he needs the most. The voices might be indicative of the beginning stages of a psychotic episode. If so, then therapeutic intervention could prevent the development of a full-scale psychotic episode.
The best way you can help him is to continue to encourage him to seek professional assistance. He is unwilling to see a therapist but perhaps he would be willing to see a primary care physician. Offer to attend the appointment with him. He might change his mind.
You stated that you do not want to break his trust but it might be necessary. If revealing his symptoms would convince him to seek treatment, then do it. Prompt treatment is imminently important. It could prevent the development of a lifelong, severe mental illness.
You can’t force him to seek treatment but you should do everything within your power to convince him to seek professional help, even if it means breaking his trust. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog