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"A psychotic break was the tipping point and marked the start of the road to recovery for Hugo"

24 May 2024
Father and son from behind. Image resource

The father of a 15-year-old boy diagnosed with psychosis explains how his son has been able to get his life back thanks to treatment.

Hugo always seemed to be a fragile little boy. His father, Edu, remembers that from a young age he was late starting to walk, had learning difficulties and found it harder at school than his peers. ‘They were assessing him for ADHD, a mild intellectual disability. Aside from that, he was a very good-natured, affectionate and lively boy,’ he explains.  

More severe issues arose later, when Hugo was 12 years old. At first, his parents attributed his change in behaviour to puberty. ‘Puberty is a time of so many changes, that we thought it was that. Also, at the time,’ remembers Edu, ‘Hugo's mother and I separated, and even though it was an amicable split, we thought it had affected him. We didn't quite know whether it was because of one thing or another, but adding the move to high school on top of that, that fantastic little boy we had at home turned into quite the ‘bad boy’. He fell in with the wrong crowd, started smoking cannabis...’  

The situation slowly worsened. ‘One day he got wrapped up in a fight and started staying at home, not wanting to go to school, he wouldn't go outside for anything. He went a whole year without going out. We went to a psychologist thinking he had agoraphobia. We were lost,’ recalls Edu.  

Back then, the boy lived with his mother, and it was her who found him one day talking to himself deliriously. That was the first of many times. Their son has now explained to them that he was experiencing hallucinations, some of them very unpleasant, with people insulting him or ridiculing him. 

‘His mother put up with a lot of things that, to this day, she hasn't told us,’ notes Edu. ‘Hugo stole her bank card so he could buy alcohol without leaving the house, I know that he broke her TV, that he heard voices… The whole situation became so unbearable that, two years ago, one day in August, she had to call 061 to ask for help. It's not easy for a parent to do that, but she was very brave and, thanks to her action, Hugo is better today. That explosion, that psychotic break, that was the tipping point that marked the start of Hugo's road to recovery,’ he states.

In August 2022, Hugo was transferred to the SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital in an ambulance and was admitted to the Mental Health Department. He was only 15 years old. There, he was diagnosed with psychosis and began treatment: medication and therapy. ‘At first, he was furious with us,’ remembers Edu. ‘He didn't understand we had taken him there to help him get better, but he slowly began to accept the situation, and a month later we were able to go home.’

Once he left hospital, Hugo was referred to a day hospital close to his home so he could continue treatment there. His parents also received support on how to handle his illness, and they attended workshops for patients’ families organised by SJD .  

Now, the young man has resumed his studies and he comes to hospital every two weeks for therapy. ‘Now living with him is good again. Hugo has gone back to school and is living a normal life. He is a very empathetic young man. A few days ago we were out for a walk at night and he offered to help a woman who was on her own and he felt she needed help. I think he is especially sensitive, because he has also felt vulnerable like that,’ remarks Edu.