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I Don't Like Taking Medication for Schizoaffective Disorder

October 6, 2016 Elizabeth Caudy

Most people with schizoaffective disorder take medication for their condition. Whether I like it or not, I don’t think I could function as a rational human being without medication (Schizoaffective Disorder Treatment). But what is it like to need to take medication for schizoaffective disorder, which includes symptoms of psychosis and the symptoms of a mood disorder?

Medication for Schizoaffective Disorder and Side-EffectsI live with schizoaffective disorder and have to take medication. I don't like it, but I take it. Here's why I take my schizoaffective meds anyway.

I’ve written before about how I take so much medication for my schizoaffective disorder that I have to organize it for the week in a tray (Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, and Medication). But the impact goes far beyond that and I have more to tell you about taking medication.

One of the things I want to admit is that I really don’t like taking all this medication. This doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for the treatments available to me now that didn’t even exist when I was born 37 years ago. Still, the side effects are the worst thing about being on medication. Have you noticed that when you’re watching a television commercial for any kind of medication, psychiatric or otherwise, the side effects take longer for the narrator to list than the description of the medication itself and what it’s supposed to do?

I take atypical antipsychotics. One of the possible side effects of these medications is significant weight gain. All my life, before I took these medications, I was the skinny girl who never dieted. It was a big part of my identity, for better or for worse. Actually, when I first learned I might gain weight from the medications, I was excited. And, at first, it was exciting. I had voluptuous breasts for the first time. I had hips and a cute butt. I even had a cute little belly. Guys started noticing me more because I had a curvy figure instead of looking like a skinny little kid. I am sorry if this comes off as skinny-shaming, but with a little more weight on me, I looked good (Weighing in on Body Shaming and Its Effect on Mental Health).

But I kept gaining weight. And now, I’m fat. I have a husband who loves me no matter what I weigh, so that helps a lot. Also, I’m a feminist. But all the feminist theory in the world can’t change how it feels to look in the mirror and not like what you see. Is that messed up? Hell yes. But it’s the way I feel.

Schizoaffective Disorder and Feeling Grateful for the Medication

All that said about weight gain and other negative side effects, I really am grateful for the medication. Why? I have a master’s degree, a loving husband, this blog—in short, a life—all thanks to the medication. It may be inconvenient to organize it every week and take it every day. It may be expensive. But I would rather put up with all that—and the side effects, too—than be out of control and psychotic.

Photo by Elizabeth Caudy. Find Elizabeth on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and her personal blog.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2016, October 6). I Don't Like Taking Medication for Schizoaffective Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, June 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2016/10/medication-for-schizophrenia-schizoaffective-disorder



Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

Sandra Lynn
October, 1 2018 at 1:27 pm

My beautiful (both inside and out) little girl (22) has been suffering for a couple years with delusions psychosis depression and manic behavior but we (her 3 brothers her sister and I) just assumed it was her new personality from college because it was very different from who she was before. We only saw her during family events and for a day or two at a time.
September 4 I got a call from a psychiatric hospital saying they had my little girl . She had run to the police because someone had put a chip in her head and she was being filmed and was on a TV show and at night in the spiritual realm she was being repeatedly raped by Satan and it too was being filmed and sold to a pornography ring. She was terrified out of her mind.
Each from our prospective lives and locations flew THAT day to that hospital and visited her 20 minutes a Day for the next week. It was difficult to watch her in such a terrified state. She accused us of putting the chip in her head and of raping her in the spiritual realm. She kept saying God told her all our sins and just started accusing us of bizarre crimes truly horrible crimes.
It was humiliating to hear shameful accusations but even worse the seeing her believing them and if we didn’t confess she refused to speak to us.
She is still in the hospital. They have transferred her 3 times to different higher security places.
I have moved 15 hundred miles to be in the same city as her oldest brother and his family and rented a house for her and I to live in once she is stabilized just for a safe place and lots of support for all of us.
I said all that to say
Medication! She was born at home, never immunized, never been to a doctor for any reason (she did have orthodontics and dentist). I know nothing of medications.
She was on haldol for 8 days then Risperidone for the next 8 days then for the last 14 days she has been on both Risperidone and lithium. They diagnosed her with schizoaffective bipolar mood disorder.
To watch my little girl (22) in so much torture in her mind has been excruciating. She has finally come out of that spiritual realm she was stuck in where she was being repeatedly raped and filmed and sold, thank God, but now she is different each time I visit.
Either crying and sorry or happy and giggling or accusatory or exstreamly polite.
They say it takes 6 weeks for medication to get into system and then they will go up or down in dose till they find what suits her best.
You are successful and lucid and productive.... they have not led me to any hope in that area. They made it clear she can’t be off medication but they also said the medication will limit her.
Right now she can’t remember yesterday or answer a simple question.
This new place is 175 Miles away and has only weekend visitation and never anyone who can tell me what is going on with her treatment.
I don’t even know what her treatment is. She can’t even remember what she has been doing there she said she sleeps all day.
You are the first person I have reached out to outside my family.

October, 1 2018 at 2:49 pm

Dear Sandra,
Your daughter is truly blessed to have such a loving family. For years I slept all day too. I don't have a job besides this blog. I struggle a lot. But my family keeps me going. My mom is to credit for my BFA and my MFA. She's the one who made sure I got out of bed every morning to get to school... and to not sneak back into bed! I'm sorry your daughter is having these difficulties. I recommend you contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) because they have resources that help families with loved ones with mental illness. Thanks for reaching out.
Best,
Elizabeth

vicky
June, 14 2018 at 2:47 pm

Hello my sister had been mentally ill since 2001, her most recent mental health evaluation diagnosed her with schizoaffective disorder. My sister is only recently taking her cocktail of medications on a consistent basis as a result of being hospitalized off and on since 2013 but has continued to refused to participate in therapy. I do not know what more I can do for her...we used to reside together several years ago but I could no longer live with her because of her aggressive behaviors towards me to name a few of the problems I encountered while living with her. I have spoken to her repeatedly with regards to the importance of participating in therapy but she has yet to follow through. My sister managed to obtain a Master's Degree in rehabilitation counseling....she has been unable to work due to her current level of functioning. I would appropriate any words of advise.

June, 14 2018 at 3:32 pm

I think you should seek out your own support through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). They could also recommend resources that could help you both. Also, sometimes there's only so much we can do for someone. Sometimes we have to be there and be supportive, but let people heal in their own time.

S Miller
May, 28 2018 at 3:14 pm

My sister was diagnosed with Shizoaffective about 3 years ago. Although she is no long suicidal or delusional she sleeps all the time when she’s not working and is almost in a zombie state. I feel like her meds aren’t right. My mom has mentioned it to the dr but they are saying it’s not her meds and she should just stop sleeping. Thoughts?

Sara
May, 27 2018 at 11:56 pm

Um... I have schitzoaffective disorder... no one loves me and everybody wants me dead. I wasn't good enough for the man I used to love. I got arrested for assaulting 2 cops... I was taking my medication for a couple of months and the side effect caused fainting a lot and low blood pressure, and severe depression... I didn't want to complain. I was taking the only antidepressant I could take that didn't cause bad adverse effects, cymbalta. My color code was better (in my psychosis everything is a vibrant color, that others don't see the anti psychotic seroquel is the only anti psychotic I can tolerate the adverse effects, it helps with color coding), I would also feel attacked by energy from people, it wouldn't help my psychosis with it because the energy attack was like a delusion that overcome how I would feel unable to talk myself out of it, if someone was angry with me, I would feel it all night through energy usually color red unable to talk out of it) but I have good hallucinations too. I know that the pills help the symptoms not make them go completely gone. I would hallucinate my anime crushes with me and they are always good to me even if they were a antagonist in the anime/manga. Currently I have a crush on someone who died almost 2000 years ago. I was having no trouble with my psychosis, but he suddenly possessed me and threw out all my pills... my dad just picked up the refills for me.... my insurance won't cover these pills again until next month... I'm afraid to tell my med doc because I hate hospitals.... should I just wait this out until next month and not tell anyone? Nothing bad for my psychosis right now, but I just lost the most important thing to me in the world, that I was trying my hardest to get back to him, but he dead without me there... Caligula threw out my pills he said because he was afraid I would overdose on them after the loss of the most important one in my life... I have no reason to try anymore

May, 28 2018 at 10:27 am

I know it's hard, but I think you should tell your med doc... you should definitely not just wait this out until next month and not tell anyone. It's not true that no one loves you and everyone wants you dead... after all, your dad picked up the refills for you, he wouldn't have done that if he didn't love you. Here's the National Lifeline number so you can have someone to talk to: 1-800-273-8255. I hope that helps.

Care & (Public) Attention
November, 19 2016 at 3:10 pm

I just watched the Fri Nov 18 taping of the Dr Phil show on youtube where Shelly Duvall was interviewed in a clearly psychotic state by Dr Phil https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kVEI1v16joc
I found it absolutely heartbreaking!!!
I hope something good comes from it and that the show is not just taking advantage of someone who is clearly ill.
Shelly deserves proper care and attention. Not public shame and humiliation!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Elizabeth Caudy
November, 19 2016 at 4:43 pm

I was not aware of this interview. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Victoria
November, 9 2016 at 8:18 pm

I have been taking antipsyhotic medication since 2008 and I gained 50 pounds which I have now lost a total of 35 pounds with WW and now sparkpeople. I record everything I eat even if it is ugly and track all my fitness minutes. I walk 5 miles a day sometimes more or less. I am healthier now than I have ever been.
There are other side effects as well, restlessness, anxiety, and sometimes not having the will to live but that might be the schizoaffective disorder.
I smoke too but am not willing to give that up yet.
Pax
Victoria

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Elizabeth Caudy
November, 10 2016 at 3:12 am

Good for you for losing all that weight with Weight Watchers!I tried WW but it didn't work for me.

Jenna
October, 24 2016 at 7:00 pm

Hello,
My name is Jenna. I am an Occupational Therapy student. I came across your blog and found it very interesting! I was hoping you'd maybe open to speaking with me. If so please feel free to contact me at jstaub3@students.towson.edu
Thank you for your time!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Elizabeth Caudy
October, 25 2016 at 7:04 am

Jenna--
I only communicate with people via this comments section. Thanks!

Dr Musli Ferati
October, 16 2016 at 5:36 am

Above all, medication is the first and the crucial approach in current psychiatric treatment and management, as well. So, schizoaffective disorder didn't make any exclusion, where psychopharmacologic intervention indicates principal psychiatric recommendation. Against many side and unkind effects, psychiatric medication is "conditio sine qua non" and it should be long-term with appropriate algorrhythm and individually scheduled. To accomplish this important intention it ought to upgrade therapeutic alliance with reciprocal understandings and mutually confidence amid clinical psychiatrist and respective psychiatric patient. In addition, it ought to persuade close relatives of psychiatric patient for instant and order psychiatric medication for enough long period of time. In spite of that, there are many undesirable side effect that overloaded and impede adequate psychiatric medication. But the cost-benefit ratio of due psychiatric medication requires inevitable medication. The last one clinical researches has confirmed that psychiatric medication is the most useful and most secure way to treat and manage any mental disorder, such is schizoaffective disorder. Your positive experience with the above mention psychosis confirm this therapeutic postulate, against your weight gain, as direct outcome. Others psychosocial concomitant interventions are welcomed and necessary, but they couldn't substitute the psychiatric medication. Furthermore, any improvisation of psychiatric medication has got bad impact to definitive course and prognosis of respective mental illness. Therefore, it should make effort to submit any psychiatric patient to take medication, as long as it is necessary, considering that any minor or major side effects.

Mary Radich
October, 12 2016 at 10:07 pm

Being over medicated is a huge problem I've faced. Medication, side effects are very real and the system rather have you fat, sedated and quietly sitting on the couch instead of real solutions. Other illness such as heart disease are not handled like this. I wish you well.

Joan
October, 8 2016 at 5:34 am

I take drugs too - and the drug I take actually gave me diabetes - I've had diabetes since 2008 - and I think that diabetes actually some days is worse than the disease I was actually diagnosed with - but I have to remember that without the drug I'd be dead - so I have to keep everything in perspective and realize that I need to take the drug to live a normal life - because life before the drug was quite unlivable.

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