COMMUNITY CARE / The vulnerable people who find themselves facing a future of change: The schizophrenic: Mother's concern over son left to fend for himself
Monday 29 March 1993
David (not his real name) is 26, and schizophrenic. When he becomes ill, he gets violent and agitated and strange ideas fill his head. Strong doses of drugs - 1,400 milligrams of Lithium and one and a half tablets of Carbamazepine each night - help calm him down and bring him closer to normality. When he is in a stable state he does not think he needs the drugs. When he stops taking them he becomes violent.
David, from Peterborough, has been locked into this cycle for nine years. He been compulsorily detained in psychiatric units four times since his first attack in 1984. The attacks have been progressively worse and during his last year-long stay in hospital he was given electric shock treatment to quieten him down.
The illness struck suddenly. 'I just went haywire,' David said. 'I started talking to everyone. I didn't have any inhibitions any more. I got some funny ideas into my head. I thought everyone had lost their train of thought except me. I thought everyone had been capped by the tripods so that they only acted on habit and what they had previously learnt. The tripods are three-legged. It's something I invented. Capped means your powers of thought have gone, as if a cap is put on.'
His mother recalls: 'There was a bit of a struggle as the police and ambulancemen took him away. Since then he has become more violent. The last time he thumped me. Once he grabbed me round the throat. It's very frightening. But he doesn't remember a thing.'
After a year in hospital, David decided he had been in long enough. He found himself a bed-sit where his landlady cooks dinner. Once a fortnight he sees a social worker who asks if he is taking the medication. His mother worries he is not really able to look after himself. 'If he stops taking the tablets, as he seems determined to do, it will just be a matter of time.'
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for? The Independent quiz matches best political party for undecided voters ahead of the general election
First-time buyers in London 'need to earn at least £77,000'
General Election 2015: Photographic history of Bullingdon Club tracked down - including new picture of David Cameron in his finery
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...
£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...