Relatives may also suggest that he/she is doing so much better that the medications are no longer needed. CNN Privacy Statement.The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. The two had discussed stepping Harry down from Seroquel before. As for headaches, many medications can produce headaches as a side effect. In March, Harry had an episode during which he had paranoid thoughts again. "It's quite rare to see a paper like this, which is led so much by service users and their priorities and that's got some real strengths," says Sarah Chapman, a researcher who studies non-adherence at the University of Bath. California desert town takes back the night, wins rare "Dark Sky" award. I would suggest that he also consult his physician about the cause of the headaches. There's not enough research yet for doctors to make "formal recommendations" to patients who want to stop taking psychiatric drugs, but: "I think that being available to support people's choices is important, understanding there's a lot of different strategies that people might use." Stockholm Syndrome: The Psychological Mystery of Loving an Abuser, Emotional Memory Management: Positive Control Over Your Memories, Depression: Understanding Causes, Symptoms and Treatment. So they surveyed recent quitters to learn more about their experiences. Also was wondering if he can experience headaches? Because he saw his body lying in a coffin in a church once. Previously, she covered science, health, and science policy for Scientific American, Popular Science, and Smithsonian. Still, he says, not taking Seroquel every day anymore gives him a sense of hope: "Like I don't have to be stuck with this forever.". ', Manage your brain -- it's your most important asset. CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. It's not known exactly how many Americans with major mental illnesses stop taking their medications, but it's generally thought to be a lot. I had a patient once who believed she was the Virgin Mary and Eva Braun, Hitler's lover. First, anti-psychotics suppress behaviors and delusional beliefs that make it impossible for a person to function in society. However, when he starts feeling better he won't take his medicine, which is risperidone, and it is very difficult for us to get him to take it when he is not feeling well. Much worse is the fact that many people with the illness lose all insight into their situation. What do you think of that?' Why? They believe their delusions so thoroughly, or are so thoroughly confused in general, that they can't see that something is wrong. But that objective seems increasingly less attainable. When we think about schizophrenia, we tend to envision the flashier symptoms and behaviors such as hearing voices, shouting at the empty sky while pushing an overflowing shopping cart or believing that one is God or the devil. The initial steps to getting a loved one with schizophrenia … "That was just a reminder I have to be careful," he says. Francie Diep is a staff writer at Pacific Standard, where she specializes in health and drug policy and the intersections of culture and science. Schizophrenia. "I feel that it's important to bring those ideas into more of a mainstream conversation, given how many people decide to discontinue. Ostrow and her colleagues surveyed 250 adults who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar disorder, or depression, and have tried to quit one or two medicines in the past five years. We would hospitalize him, give him a medicine like risperidone -- often against his will in the beginning -- and he would do remarkably better. Think of psychotic episodes like little strokes. There are probably two reasons why having enough insight to comply with treatment improves outcomes. For many years I ran an inpatient team in a big psychiatric hospital, and the story you tell was the bane of my existence. Home he'd go, with all our follow-up plans in place, only to return a month or so later wildly psychotic all over again because he'd stopped taking his medicine. Can my body become used to my depression meds? He is a bright young man who has lost his job many times because of this illness. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. He didn't take any Seroquel during that time because he wanted to be alert for his child. His psychiatrist helped by identifying the stressors that led Harry to become really energetic, or to lose touch with reality, as Harry puts it. When that happens, it’s not uncommon for the patient to feel he/she is much better and probably doesn’t need the medication anymore. Studies, such as this 2007–08 survey of adults with schizophrenia, find rates of what doctors call "non-adherence" on the order of 60 percent. Expert: Did 'Kony' director have 'manic episode? Schizophrenia Symptoms ... Stop your medication for the right reasons. This last point is so important that I feel the treatment of schizophrenia is one of the few places in medicine in which it can be justified to treat people against their will. A little more than half of the survey-takers said they ran into severe withdrawal symptoms while quitting. It is very common for psychiatric medications to significantly reduce the very obvious symptoms of schizophrenia — the paranoia, hallucinations, odd behaviors, etc. Yet, for the past "couple of years," he says he had been considering coming off of Seroquel because he was doing well on a low, once-nightly dose and he didn't like that the medication made him feel sedated. I am sorry to hear about your son. A quick search shows that most studies of non-adherence focus on how best to avoid it, but one new study takes a different tack. He should be able to receive medications for his headaches and his antipsychotic medications without difficulties…but consult with the physician. Do not encourage this individual to alter his medications in any manner without consulting with his psychiatrist. Are there any new findings for this illness? Removing the medication will cause the symptoms to return. About three out of four respondents wanted to quit because didn't like their medication's side effects. If he stops his medication, gradually or abruptly, his psychotic symptoms will return full-force. According to the people who have tried to do it. In a similar manner, medications for epilepsy and high blood pressure can control the condition — but the medical condition is still there. Removing the medication will cause the symptoms to return. Emory University Medical School. CounsellingResource.com is accredited by the Health on the Net Foundation. His delusions will increase and he is likely to experience hallucinations and paranoia. as soon after it starts as possible) probably protects the brain from damage, with the result that treatment actually can slow the worsening of the disease. In truth, the patient is doing better because the medication is working well. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. Harry now keeps Seroquel on hand for when he thinks he might have a manic episode, but is otherwise drug-free. What I am wondering is if he abruptly stops taking his medication, what can and will most likely happen? He thought at first he would wait until he was done with graduate school and his kids were older.