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I have a son who is serving on a church mission in Las Vegas.

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I have a son who is serving on a church mission in Las Vegas. He had a psychotic episode four years ago, recovered and has been off meds for three years now. Last year he completed his first year of college 780 miles away and did fine. Since it has been so long since his last episode and he had a full recovery, what are his odds of not having another episode? He seems to be managing his life well with eating right, sleep and exercise. I feel that this has helped. I can only contact him now through weekly emails. Can you offer some advice of what questions I can ask and things I can say to support him since he's so far away?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am sorry to know your son underwent this psychotic episode years ago. It is never easy to find yourself, even more if you are that young experiencing such symptoms, nor it is easy for you as his family to cope wit it. At the same time I feel very glad and hopeful to know that apparently this was the only isolated episode he has four years ago.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I wonder what caused this psychotic episode. Do you know? People suffering of depression, anxiety, a traumatic event, or having a reaction to drugs or undergoing serious medical problems could experience psychotic symptoms, which use to go away once the person's mental, emotional and physical health get stable. This is very different to what happens when a person presents a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia, since there we'd talk about mental illness, which is mostly known as chronic conditions, requiring consistent psychotherapeutic and psychiatric treatment.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Based on this differentiation, I'd assume your son present this psychotic episode as a result of one of previous stressors, as just explained, and not as the beginning of mental illness. You said he has been fine for all these years, without medication for the last three years, then everything seems to point at this past psychotic episode as an isolated situation, one not involving chronic-mental illness.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If he has been able not only to take good care of his basic needs in accordance to his age, but also been accountable and successful at school, kept adequate social relationships, stable mood and functioning, effectively coping with the challenges and stressors life presents at these periods, then I think he has been doing truly good and you should not fear about new episodes to arise.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

My suggestion is for you to keep closely in touch with him, ideally not only via email, but also by phone and perhaps a visit twice a year. I say this because via email messages you could get some idea about the coherence of his mental processes and mood, but there is much that could be tough or impossible for you to get without hearing his voice, like during a phone call, and even better by chatting via Skype. I truly believe using technology available nowadays, specially when it is about keeping a healthy attachment, communication, sharing and support to our lived ones appears as the best approach, specially when stressors - concerns like this exist.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You have been doing a good job offering encouragement and asking about his mood, diet and physical activity. My suggestion is to make open questions for him to tell you a little more about his experiences, more in detail about how he feels, his relationships and also ask about the challenges or concerns he may be experiencing. having communication with a person close to him, like his supervisor or other people from your church appears as ideal means for you to confirm everything is fine and in a way, to monitor his mental health and functioning while there.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Keep showing your unconditional affection, support, understanding and motivation, sharing about your personal and family life, for him to feel closer to you, supported and comfortable sharing about his own experiences. If issues like the ones that led to past psychotic episode do not happen again, or if he has learned from that time through psychotherapy and family support to better cope with difficulties and challenges, then the chances for him to have another episode would be low. Learn from the past, how things evolved at that time leading to the crisis, and use such understanding to prevent similar stressors to appear, or to promote his effective coping, with your affection, guidance and support, and the one offered by those people physically close to him, as well as friends and church members.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Does it make sense?

RealSupport and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Rafael M.T.Therapist says:4/13/13 2:30 PM

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

4/13/13 2:34 PM

I am sorry to know your son underwent this psychotic episode years ago. It is never easy to find yourself, even more if you are that young experiencing such symptoms, nor it is easy for you as his family to cope wit it. At the same time I feel very glad and hopeful to know that apparently this was the only isolated episode he has four years ago.

4/13/13 2:38 PM

I wonder what caused this psychotic episode. Do you know? People suffering of depression, anxiety, a traumatic event, or having a reaction to drugs or undergoing serious medical problems could experience psychotic symptoms, which use to go away once the person's mental, emotional and physical health get stable. This is very different to what happens when a person presents a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia, since there we'd talk about mental illness, which is mostly known as chronic conditions, requiring consistent psychotherapeutic and psychiatric treatment.

4/13/13 2:41 PM

Based on this differentiation, I'd assume your son present this psychotic episode as a result of one of previous stressors, as just explained, and not as the beginning of mental illness. You said he has been fine for all these years, without medication for the last three years, then everything seems to point at this past psychotic episode as an isolated situation, one not involving chronic-mental illness.

4/13/13 2:44 PM

If he has been able not only to take good care of his basic needs in accordance to his age, but also been accountable and successful at school, kept adequate social relationships, stable mood and functioning, effectively coping with the challenges and stressors life presents at these periods, then I think he has been doing truly good and you should not fear about new episodes to arise.

4/13/13 2:48 PM

My suggestion is for you to keep closely in touch with him, ideally not only via email, but also by phone and perhaps a visit twice a year. I say this because via email messages you could get some idea about the coherence of his mental processes and mood, but there is much that could be tough or impossible for you to get without hearing his voice, like during a phone call, and even better by chatting via Skype. I truly believe using technology available nowadays, specially when it is about keeping a healthy attachment, communication, sharing and support to our lived ones appears as the best approach, specially when stressors - concerns like this exist.

4/13/13 2:52 PM

You have been doing a good job offering encouragement and asking about his mood, diet and physical activity. My suggestion is to make open questions for him to tell you a little more about his experiences, more in detail about how he feels, his relationships and also ask about the challenges or concerns he may be experiencing. having communication with a person close to him, like his supervisor or other people from your church appears as ideal means for you to confirm everything is fine and in a way, to monitor his mental health and functioning while there.

4/13/13 2:56 PM

Keep showing your unconditional affection, support, understanding and motivation, sharing about your personal and family life, for him to feel closer to you, supported and comfortable sharing about his own experiences. If issues like the ones that led to past psychotic episode do not happen again, or if he has learned from that time through psychotherapy and family support to better cope with difficulties and challenges, then the chances for him to have another episode would be low. Learn from the past, how things evolved at that time leading to the crisis, and use such understanding to prevent similar stressors to appear, or to promote his effective coping, with your affection, guidance and support, and the one offered by those people physically close to him, as well as friends and church members.

4/13/13 2:56 PM

Does it make sense?

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