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Question:

My son is 28 years old has had a mental illness for 12 years now. He just wants to stop hearing voices. He has been seeing the same psychiatrist for 10 years. Can you tell me other drugs that might work, PLEASE.

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  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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Answer:

Your question is both very short but very complicated. First, I cannot tell you about other drugs for the simple reason that I am not a psychiatrist, do not know your son, do not know his diagnosis and would never do such a thing over the Internet because it is not proper. However, I will offer advice based on my experience and opinion.

Twelve years is a long time to see one psychiatrist. If you son, now 28 years of age, wants a consult with a new psychiatrist, he should do so. It would be a good idea. It is true that there are new medications and there are also combinations of medications that help a lot.

An awful lot depends upon your son’s diagnosis because there are many conditions that can produce hallucinations. However, assuming that he has either schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, he needs not only medication but psychotherapy types of treatment.

For example, and again, assuming that its schizophrenia, your son could benefit from being in a Continuing Day Treatment program where patients participate in group therapy, vocational counseling and psycho education whereby they learn about their illness and how to  reduce stress and prevent relapses.

It would be a good idea for you and him to look up NAMI, the National Alliance for Mental Illness. It can be found at: http://www.nami.org

Another excellent site is: http://www.schizophrenia.com where there is lots of information for you and him.

For families of those with mental illnesses there is also FAMI or Families for the Mental Illness. This can be found under NAMI.

Lastly, he or both of you could ask for a meeting with the present psychiatrist and discuss with him together the need for newer medications, the problems of the voices and how to get additional psychotherapy help. It is permissible to ask for a consult with another psychiatrist.

I hope this helps.

Best of Luck

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Comments
  • Robin Kahler

    I am NOT a doctor. I am a patient with bipolar and I MAY be able to offer some ideas.

    When my brain begins to get "racing thoughts", I know I must quiet them or it can lead to voices. So ask your son if he gets racing thoughts or some warning signals before he actually hears voices?

    If he does, than MAYBE this might help:

    Make sure to get a good nights sleep.

    Stay away from sugar and caffeine.

    Do NOT use herbs like St John's wort or Sam-e (unless of course your doctor says otherwise)

    Try a relaxing form of exercise like Tai Chi. (I love my Gi-Gong class and there are many free ones available, check the web for your local city)

    I also agree he should look for another doctor and check out meds, but as I said, I'm not a doctor. The above are things that help keep my mind calm and help prevent mania that can lead to hearing voices in my own bipolar.

  • Judy

    It's been awhile since you wrote the question, but in case you're still reading, I offer this.

    In my own case, I heard voices as a teenager, but once I had an anti-psychotic drug, they went away.

    There were other things I was taught to prevent a relapse. For example, when a major stressor occurs, in my case, I don't let myself stay in bed past one day. Then, I force myself to get and do a regular round of activites. I'll include things I find enjoyable, and try to get out in sun. Sometimes I'll include some favorite exercises, like swimming, as well. I'll try to remove additional stressors if possible. I'll also continue to be in social groups, but not anything that is overly challenging for me. If I get nervous, I'll try to take a warm bath with some incense. Basically, the idea is to catch it early, and do certain behaviors that can then alter the mood to avert a disaster.

    It sounds like it may not be the case for your son, but I have found some approaches that don't use medicine, when combined with medicine, can help more than medicine alone. Use it if it helps. If not, ignore it.

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