Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Alcoholic Schizophrenic Father Distresses My Son

I am seeking ANY advice that anyone might have to offer… And I am posting this EVERYWHERE I can find, in the hopes of reaching more people who can help…
I have been the caregiver for my schizophrenic, and also alcoholic, father. Long story as I can possibly make it, he either drinks WITH his psych meds, OR he doesn’t take them at all, and still drinks. That makes him loud, rude, and terribly verbally abusive… all around, someone who is easier to avoid than to try to talk to or reason with.
NOW, my 14 year old has had to move back in with me, after an emergency with his father. Naturally, my father did not consider sparing my son his drunken rampages, even threatening me in FRONT of my son, on his first night here. And when he’s not doing those things, he’s trying to order my son around, like HE is the parent, AND filling his head with the paranoid thoughts he has (he has even told my son that, since they share genes, my son will end up “crazy” too… I was horrified…
As anyone would expect, my son quickly grew uncomfortable here. I know I MUST make it so that he feels safe, but my father can’t live on his own. Nor can I just go talking to professionals or authorities; my dad is on parole, and his drinking is in direct violation of his parole. My father is sick, not evil, and he needs HELP and rehabilitation, not prison and violence. I must do SOMETHING, but I feel like my hands are tied. What should I do?

Welcome @Kat_Harvey,
You are in a really tough spot and my heart goes out to all involved.
In my opinion, your son must be protected above everything else. He is at an age where his experiences will define the man he becomes. He should not be exposed to your father’s verbal abuse. Period.
As for your father, there are many who got well because they got the help they needed in prison. If you read through the board here, there are stories of jail and prison being the catalyst that got a loved one on the correct meds.
Yes he needs help, but not at the expense of your son’s safety and well being. Allowing your father to live with a 14yr old while drinking and psychotic is a very very bad idea.
I’m sorry if this sounds harsh. But I am very worried about your son. And worried about you as well. I think this problem is bigger than you can safely manage and removing your father from your home at least protects you and your son. This illness is atrocious and can destroy lives. If your father goes back to prison, at least he won’t be drinking and that will give the meds a chance to work.

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@Kat_Harvey I agree with Hangingthere. I know that is hard in regard to your dad. Here is another potential solution. At the moment your dad shows behavior that fits the legal criteria in your state for involuntary commitment (State Treatment Laws - Treatment Advocacy Center), …typically he has to be of significant danger to others or himself, start the process to get outside intervention (crisis line, 911 (ask for CIT…Crisis Intervention Team…personnel), or petition your local probate court for Order to Apprehend…this could be slightly different from state to state or even locality). I’m not sure how any violation of probation would be handled at that point, but hopefully, the psychiatric side of this would take precedence. Getting help that actually changes your dad’s behavior in the longer term may be challenging, but I most definitely have heard of it happening. I recently had someone tell me their dad quit drinking cold turkey after a psychiatric hospitalization! And, if you refuse to let your dad return to your home, he could potentially become a ward of the state if he is unable to care for himself. This is likely to have lots of twists and turns…I strongly suggest getting involved with your local NAMI and a Family Support Group.

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Your dad needs a place to live and you can support him at distance.

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@Kat_Harvey , @hopeisahead suggested moving him out to a place of his own. Does he have any income? Could he afford rent? Groceries?

Are you living in your dad’s home?