Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

36 yr old son refuses to believe he's delusional

Our 36 yr old son moved in with us 4/19 because he thought his home was infested with mice, he’s still here even though we had an exterminator come out, (no mice were found). Next, we had a hail storm & his roof leaked so we had a new roof put on. Now he claims there’s mold in the house that will kill him. We had a mold inspector come out & he found no mold. Soon after he moved in with us he started complaining about bug bites so we bug bombed the house. Now he says he has parasites living in his body, nesting in his tongue, biting him. He pulls them out of himself with tweezers saying he can see them. Any food, sealed or wrapped has parasites I told him my eyes are too old to see anything that small because he gets very angry & violent if we question him. He choked his father, my husband, when my husband suggested the parasites weren’t real. He’s gone to two emergency rooms & the County Extention office, neither has told him that he has parasites. How do we get him help when he refuses to acknowledge he might be delusional?

Welcome to this site @Lisa1. I am glad you found us, but sorry that your son is having delusions. Unfortunately, the majority of the time when someone is delusional or hallucinating, they don’t believe they are ill, they believe their (incorrect) assumptions like the parasites your son knows are there, or the voices they hear are special beings and they have been chosen. It is called anosognosia to not recognize that you are ill. You most likely will not be able to convince him he has delusions. There is a book called “I am not Sick, I Don’t Need Help” by Dr. Xavier Amador that helped me to understand my daughter’s severe mental illness. My daughter never accepted help, it had to be forced on her, but she is doing well now. It was a long road that took over 4 years.

Keep coming here and reading, the more knowledge you can get, the more chances you will find to help him. Plus the support here from people who understand is very valuable.


@Lisa1 has he had a prior history of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment?

The choking incident might be a cause for an involuntary commitment for evaluation and treatment. That really should not be tolerated, IMO.

Were I live, something called a Petition for Emergency Evaluation (or Emergency Petition, EP) can be obtained by either a family member going to the county courthouse and presenting exactly what you wrote to support the EP. Alternatively, if there is a Crisis Intervention agency, they can be called to come out to the house and they will bring the police along.

The person has to be either a danger to themselves or to others. Choking your husband would be the latter.

Once an EP is obtained, the next part is something that looks like an arrest. Your son will be handcuffed and taken to the ER of the nearest hospital. They will keep him there until a bed is found in a psychiatric hospital. Once in the hospital, he will be seen by a psychiatrist and started on medication. After a week or two, once stabilized, he will be released to your custody hopefully in much better shape.

Edit: I forgot that the Crisis Intervention Team and/or the police can create an EP. You don’t have to go to the courthouse yourself. At least that’s how it works where I live.


No prior psychiatric issues. Thanks for the information.

My brother with bipolar disorder choked my brother unexpectedly during an argument, and they both chalked it up to drinking. Months later he choked my mother, which precipitated a restraining order, kicking him out of the house, maybe a hospital stay (I can’t remember, things run together after a while) and my parents ended up buying him a house so he could live miles away.

Bottom line, if he choked you husband, you may be next. If you can help it and can’t get him treated, minimize interactions and especially do not argue with him or invalidate his delusions. Dr. Amador’s book and the LEAP methods described within as suggested by @oldladyblue can help, but they take time. Your safest option may be getting him involuntary treatment. Depending on your state, having your husband press charges for assault may lead to court-assigned mental health treatment which may have more teeth than a 72 hour psychiatric hold. A lawyer or NAMI may be able to explain legal options. The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET. 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or

Does your son present with other symptoms other than delusions? Auditory hallucinations are common. Also was there a gradual period of withdrawal from society, family and friends before these behaviors began? Collecting this sort of information and adding it to any petitions or legal proceedings can help support your case.

Disclaimer: While I am a part-time caregiver of my brother and father with SMI, I was diagnosed with SZA over thirty years ago. I’m an advocate of appropriate drug treatments for SMI, but I feel they are incomplete treatments and additional CBT, supportive talk and psychosocial therapies are helpful where feasible. Any drug advice is from personal experience or research and not a substitute for qualified Psychiatric care.