I’ve been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and PTSD, and it’s really become difficult to live normally. I’ve avoided treatment because I dislike medication due to past experiences and my last hospital visit didn’t go well, so I’m afraid of the next one.
I’ve just graduated high school a semester early and I intend to start college in the fall, but I can tell that my mental health is getting worse, and my hallucinations are scaring me enough that I feel I should go to a hospital. I’ve been scratching at myself and drinking a lot, even though I used to never drink, and I’m having more mood swings, plus my hallucinations are becoming more frequent and overt, such as quiet voices becoming much louder and more than one voice appearing at a time and tactile hallucinations becoming more painful and common than they used to be. I think I’d be able to go to college if I pushed myself, but I’m worried about what might happen if I do, because it wouldn’t be the first time I was pulled out of school due to my mental health, and I don’t want college to be a waste of money.
I don’t know how to find a good long-term mental hospital, or if my family would even be able to afford one, or if it would even be worth it, but I really don’t know if I’m mentally prepared to go to college either or if I should hold off. I’m worried that if I don’t go to college soon, I’ll never be able to as my health might only get worse.
Do you have any advice for me? I’ve dealt with my hallucinations for a long time, so I think I can continue coping on my own, but I’m worried. Should I go to the hospital, or try to go to college? Or is there another path I can take at the moment? I really hate the idea of taking more medication, and I would probably only be comfortable with taking it in a hospital setting, where I can be monitored and helped with it, because every time I’ve tried to take it on my own I’ve stopped within days. Any advice or ideas would be welcome, and thank you so much in advance and for the work you do here.I Don’t Know What to Do about My Mental Illness
I Don’t Know What to Do about My Mental Illness
There seems to be a gap in your treatment. It seems that you are either managing your own symptoms or in the hospital. You should be regularly attending outpatient treatment in the form of medication checks and psychotherapy. The goal of outpatient treatment is to manage your symptoms to avoid future hospitalizations.
The fact that you are drinking and your symptoms are worsening is concerning. You should not wait until your symptoms are at their worst to seek help. If you need to go to the hospital, then you should. If not then you should be working with a treatment team to manage your symptoms. There are programs that provide these types of services.
Starting college can be a highly stressful time. Symptoms of schizophrenia often worsen during times of stress. It would be unwise to enter a stressful situation when you’re unstable. It would be very difficult to focus on your schoolwork while actively psychotic. It would be advantageous to delay college until your symptoms are stabilized and you are undergoing regular treatment.
If you decide to enter the hospital be certain to discuss outpatient treatment options, with the social worker, before you leave the hospital. Proactive planning could prevent future hospitalizations.
If you don’t go to the hospital, contact your prescribing physician or the staff at the local community mental health center and ask for their assistance with your symptoms. In addition to your doctor, you should be working with other mental health professionals to address all of your needs.
Schizophrenia can be managed with the right combination of treatments. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to write again and I will try to help you in any way that I can. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle