Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

1st timer here, need help!


#1

My sister has issues, she just came to me from my family in AZ. who have dealt with her (unsuccessfully) for 7 years.
They finally evicted her and she was living on the streets for 3 days. I told my mom I would help in any way I could, then I get a text saying she was on a bus heading to me.
I work full time which makes this difficult but don’t want to give up on my sister.
She has been living with me for a month and I have tried unsuccessfully to get her diagnosed.
I have taken her in on 2 occasions but will not accept any help or be evaluated.
She hears voices and thinks her family is impostors. She is afraid of technology and seems very obsessed with politics.
Having conversations with her are so difficult to follow.
I am trying on Monday for another evaluation, one that she has agreed to again.
Am I wasting my time? She doesn’t seem to think anything is wrong and as a 38 year old adult I can’t make her and they will not try if she is not willing.
I just want to help her get back to a somewhat normal life.
She hasn’t worked for over 7 years and getting her to leave the house is like pulling teeth.
Is there something I can say or do to get her to take this first step??


#2

Welcome to the forum @Ramz

Please look at these sites:
http://www.leapinstitute.org/ - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner.

http://dramador.com/ - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.

Search Xavier Amador on YouTube for more videos

http://ourhealthyminds.com/family-handbook/communication/Building-a-collaborative-relationship-leap.html
Building A Collaborative Relationship “LEAP”

http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/index.php - under problems you will see anosognosia
Anosognosia looks like denial but is different.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/e25/bayes_for_schizophrenics_reasoning_in_delusional/ - helped my understand delusions

http://www.nami.org/ - National Alliance on Mental Illness.
http://www.schizophrenia.ca/ - Schizophrenia Society of Canada

Can also find some very useful information here:
http://schizophrenia.com/

No you are not wasting your time however a lot of people with mental illness also have anosognosia which is a part of the disorder that makes it hard for one to recognize that they need help. Using LEAP may help you to find a common goal with your sister to get her started in treatment. Is there anything about her life that she is unhappy with and wants to change? Anxiety etc. These things may get her in the door and started on some sort of treatment.


#3

Hello Ramz, It sounds like you are doing everything you can.

If you can get your sister to the evaluation, that’s good. The evaluator will not be able to give you any information due to privacy laws, but you can tell the evaluator everything you wrote. Print it all out and hand it to them. Also, if possible, ask them to start working towards a differential diagnosis to rule out other causes of the symptoms.

Always be straightforward and kind; treat your sister the way you would wish to be treated if you were going through similar health problems. It’s likely that she truly does not guess for one second that she might have mental illness.

And, no, you’re not wasting your time. Even if you can’t get her into treatment now, you are building a relationship with her so she has someone to turn to if she ever feels a need to do so (for any reason).


#4

Where I live psychiatrists will sometimes come to your house to do an assessment. I think this is probably because quite a few patients refuse to go near a hospital.

If your sister won’t leave home maybe you could do this?


#5

Wow! Where do you live??
Dear @Ramz~
This is a hard situation-especially when someone is of age.
If you are able to get her in to see someone, try to get her to sign a release so that any doctors that treat her can talk with you about treatments, meds, etc…
This is a tough road and you will need support!
Check out NAMI.org and see if there is a support group in your area.
Even though she is with you now, keep the rest of your family informed and enlist their help when you need it.
Wishing you luck
** **


#6

**Wow! Where do you live??
Dear @Ramz~
This is a hard situation-especially when someone is of age.
If you are able to get her in to see someone, try to get her to sign a release so that any doctors that treat her can talk with you about treatments, meds, etc…
This is a tough road and you will need support!
Check out NAMI.org and see if there is a support group in your area.
Even though she is with you now, keep the rest of your family informed and enlist their help when you need it.
Wishing you luck~~~~


#7

Hey bridge. I live in Scotland. Here NHS psychiatrists have a geographical area for which they are responsible. Sometimes (though not routinely) they will meet patients in the community which they cover. Met a few folk who have had this happen to them.


#8

Do you have a “drop in center” in your area. I live in area that has drop in centers. Sometimes they are run by people with mental illness and sometimes not. They are non-threatening ways to get people engaged. They won’t diagnose and are a social outlet. However, I have seen many time the peer support lead members to get help themselves. They realize they are not alone.


#9

Sorry to go off topic, but I love the X-Men likeness.

For the OP, thank you for helping her in this trying time. I was there once and I’m glad my family took me to the hospital. If you tell them that she is a danger to herself they can admit her without her consent. I’m from a family of lawyers, so I know when to make the hard calls. I hope she gets better soon.


#10

Its sad to say but to get her the help she needs you may need to have her involuntarily committed to the hospital especially if she tends to refuse help or deny she has a problem


#11

i agree with kbovey . thats what happened with me… and i appreciate my family for it


#12

A bribe? Promise her some kind of reward if she co-operates? New clothes for example. A dinner out? Doing some remaining thing that she still enjoys?


#13

Schizophrenia is an exasperating disease. Quite often schizophrenics have to be forced to take the medication that will help them. It took numerous hospitalizations before I realized I couldn’t do without the med’s. Maybe in time your sister will realize she has to take medication for her condition. In the meantime I would look for support for yourself. You’re always welcome here.


#14

Thank you all for for the feed back
I am happy to report, that today we did get an evaluation my sister also signed consent to share information. She has been prescribed resperidol 2mg.
She has also agreed to allow me to dispense to her every evening , while I don’t want to treat her like a child, I really just need to know she taking her medication.
I have been very busy with work, holidays and my sister, but this forum has given me hope and direction.
Your comments and suggestions have been helpful and we’ll received. Thanks again!!
Wish us luck! !


#15

That is all good news. Good luck to you:)

If the medication works, she can maybe look into injections that last a month and you will not have to dispense or worry about forgetting doses.


#16

That is awesome!


#17

It’s great to hear you guys are getting along so well and getting her help!


#18

my family is in the same situation in the UK my 37 y o sister has been unwell for 2.5 years.

They are not interested in sectioning people as a rule anywhere and more difficult in the states than here as i understand

just maintain trust levels and keep going. It will have a huge impact on your life - her living with you. It is a huge struggle. I was unwell myself for 18 mo out of 3 years at my worst - also with schiz… and our late middle sister had unremitting sz. all staying with my mum when not inpatient, (limited to a couple of months or years here or there)

my sister also doesn’t really acknowledge that she is unwell - only a few days ago sharing that she was delusional to mum after 2.5 years of being delusional

I’m not to say anything to her - i’ve called the ambulance or her doctor a lot and have not had a helpful response from them and have been criticised for doing this by my sister, because she has not wanted help

it’s possible she is having a lucid week or something - she recognised her delusions to mum. When they question if they are crazy - talk then i would guess.

my mum is doing the job you are doing.


#19

Good news! good luck!

sorry i didn’t read this before

2 mg is a very low dose are they titrating it up at all?


#20

That is wonderful! Agreeing to take meds is usually the hardest step for us to take.

Make sure you watch her closely for changes in mood and behavior while she adjusts to the mew meds. Some of the first ones I tried made my hallucinations worse, and one even made me suicidal. Risperidone is also known to cause intense weight gain in some people, so keep an eye on that as well. They are totally worth it though, once you find the right med and dose.