I had my first psychotic episode about 3 years ago after long periods of stress and some sleepless nights, which lasted about 3 months.
I was a PhD student at the time and I was living alone. First month, I was completely detached from reality with delusions but without any hallucinations. I also had severe anxiety with panic attacks later.
My friend brought me to the psychiatrist and after lots of tests, he diagnosed me with Paranoid schizophrenia but he wasn’t sure. He tested Abilify and Risperdal which had lots of serious side effects and he had to stop (I am very sensitive to anti-psychotics even at very low doses).
On Zyprexa I became stable and he said I have to adjust it myself like a snob and he added Prozac. After one year I finished my studies somehow, but due to anxiety, depression and lack of energy I couldn’t find a job. I spent my whole savings the previous year and I was completely alone without any support. My parents didn’t know because I was abroad (They still don’t and I can’t return to my country).
Because of financial necessity I found a temporary and low profile job. I discontinued all the medications to be able to work. Without medications I did well for some time because I didn’t have brain fog anymore and it was like I regained my ability to think. I had some small delusions all the time, but I knew they weren’t true. I was suffering cause I couldn’t recognize delusions from reality and depression and anxiety were always there, but less severe than before and they were manageable. Two times I became highly delusional which didn’t become full blown episodes because I started Zyprexa immediately and after a while I discontinued slowly.
Several days ago, after one year of not taking Zyprexa, I became paranoid again and had to start it. Now, I can’t work and concentrate well and I can’t continue it because I have to study and I can’t test other anti-psychotics because I can’t tolerate them and I don’t want to risk losing time. I also can’t afford to pay for the healthcare professional, since my current income is barely enough for my living expenses.
I only have one year to work hard to be able to find a good job and income. I don’t know what to do…Paranoid Schizophrenia with Intolerance to Anti-Psychotics
Paranoid Schizophrenia with Intolerance to Anti-Psychotics
I’m not familiar with the mental health services in your country, but in the United States many communities have community mental health centers. Most of these centers will treat clients for a small fee and, in some cases, free of charge. Fees are based upon an individual’s income. Those are the kind of services you need to search for in your country.
I’m afraid that without professional help, your instability will continue. When it comes to psychosis, it’s always best to prevent it. Some research suggests that every psychotic episode causes brain damage. People who have repeated psychotic episodes often find it difficult to return to their previous level of functioning. Each psychotic episode lowers their baseline. You must do whatever is necessary to prevent your developing psychosis.
The fact that you repeatedly start and stop your antipsychotic medication is worrisome. When an individual abruptly stops taking their antipsychotic medication, psychosis can develop.
You might not be able to tolerate certain antipsychotic medications, but there are others you may not have tried that could work better for you.
It’s imperative that you find a mental health professional to treat your symptoms. Even though you have the best intentions, you might be doing more harm than good. Do whatever is necessary to find good mental health care. Your brain health depends on it. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle