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Schizophrenic uncle

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KN555 says:
7 Feb 2011 | 15:41:38
I have a schizophrenic uncle and I sometimes find it difficult to cope with him. He is not like the ‘normal’ schizophrenic, where you clearly can see the difference between the personalities.

I know he sometimes feels that people are angry at him even though they aren’t, but the problem is that I don’t know when he feels like this. I don’t know how to handle him ‘correctly’.

I don’t want to upset him so I tend to avoid him, and that is not what I want. What could I do to make it better???

edited by KN555 on 2/7/2011

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Hayley Daniels-Lake says:
7 Feb 2011 | 15:52:03
Hi KN,

Firstly there is a difference between Schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder). When you say that "He is not like the ‘normal’ schizophrenic, where you clearly can see the difference between the personalities." it sounds as if you are describing Dissociative Identity Disorder not Schizophrenia. I don't know if that is important to you and the way you see him but sometimes it is important to people to make that distinction.

That said, mental illness affects everyone around the person, not just the person suffering with it. Have you tried talking to your uncle to see how he thinks you can best help him, sometimes it helps to talk as a family to see how everyone can support each other.

If you are interested in more professional help I would be happy to help you further.


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Carla Thompson says:
8 Feb 2011 | 15:32:14
It must be difficult for you as you clearly care for your uncle. I guess that he has been professionally diagnosed with his condition and that he is receiving the correct medication. I sense that you feel frustrated sometimes with him and yourself because you cannot help him. Avoiding may look like a solution but you are recognising that this not the right way either. May be the solution for you is to accept your uncle as he is, listen to him, be company for him and put your energy into being by his side rather than trying so hard to help and understand him. Your support will be important to him. Not seeing you will make him wonder what he has done wrong and make him sad that he probably has offended you. If you like to contact me professionally, don't hesitate to do so.

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Nigel Lewis says:
8 Feb 2011 | 16:18:17
Hi Kn 555
Carla has given you some helpful advice. I do not know if it is the same where you live but our local metal health team are willing and available to help the families of Schizophrenia sufferers as they recognise the impact the illness has upon all around especially as it is a lifelong problem.
Their advice is free but has to be with the agreement of the person suffering from Schizophrenia. Because the illness varies to a huge extent and few circumstances of cases are exactly the same it is difficult for any of us to give the detailed advice you are seeking. Avoidance is like a sticking plaster except the sore does not heal so just by contacting this forum you are taking the first steps to deal with the problem which is great.

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Peter Forsyth says:
8 Feb 2011 | 21:58:12
Hi KN555
I have read your message with interest. As a carer for a schzophrenic, I have found that avoidance is not the answer. From personal experience, I have found that gaining the persons trust is so important and that can take time.
In that way your Uncle's feelings anger may reduce and he may begin the talk to you about his feelings and you may gain a better understanding of what he is going through. Again from personal experience, that also takes time.
In the area that I live, the local Community Mental Health Team are very helpful and supportive to both to the person who is ill and those that are supporting them. As a carer, I have my own Carer Co-ordinator through the CMHT, who I see on monthly one-to-one sessions. We also have monthyl group sessions where all the carers meet and talk about thier own experiences. We also have guest speakers, such as the Psychiatrist; Community Mental Health Nurse; Occupational Therapist; etc. who will talk about thier roles in the community and answer any questions we may have.
Do you have that in your area?
If you would like to contact me professionally, I would be happy to help you.

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Edie says:
12 Mar 2011 | 23:58:39
Hello KN555

Im so glad your uncle has you in his life.

When you say he feels people are angry at him , but they arent?

Do you think he may have persecutory delusions,which is a spectrum of schizophrenia.

Maybe your uncle senses that you are not comfortable around him, and unless you can sit and speak to him like any other family member, then he may also become mistrustful of you. Trust is a massive issue in schizophrenia.

You dont say how old your uncle is?

If he is elderly he may have paraphrenia?

I agree with Peter re the need for CMHT involvement ,as, although you sound a lovely guy, you do not have the expertise to deal with your uncle alone, which is why you feel uncomfortable with him.

How long ago was he diagnosed? Is he on the correct meds? Does he have a CPN?

Keep us informed,and know there is always someone here for you too KN555

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