Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Brother with schizophrenia attacking me

I’m new on here and seeking advice on how to calm my brother down when he is having delusions. My parents are old & weak & i’m 21 so I am the one who basically looks after him. Marcus is 27 and was diagnosed when he was 18.

Back-up information on Marcus
He did a lot of heavy drugs, was involved in a lot of gang activity, and was always in and out of jail from age 16-22.

When he has his “episodes” he starts yelling like he is involved in a gang fight. It sounds like he’s calling a gang out, he’ll start jumping up and down with his arms up like he is in a boxing match. He’ll yell things like “i’ll kill your whole family,” “i’m not afraid of you,” “it’s crip gang,” he curses, yells, using the N word and making a lot of homophobic remarks. He has thrown around furniture, put two holes in the wall, and has also hit me when I tried to calm him down. His delusions are at LEAST six times a month. But within the last three days he’s had over 5, getting worse and worse. He always goes outside and has his episodes and my neighbors stare as I try to calm him down and bring him back in the house. He resists, will tell me to “shut the f**k up” & has attacked me about four times since being diagnosed.

I’ve taken him to the doctor, he just says that Marcus needs to go meet new friends, and go for a walk. But Marcus rarely talks and responds to people as well as us, his family. The meds don’t seem to have an affect on Marcus either. My Mom doesn’t want to put him in a treatment center, neither do I. I have fears of him being neglected and treated poorly without supervision. But it’s getting to the point where I fear for my saftety. I love my brother so much, I just don’t know what to do. Please help me.

Also-- he smokes cigarettes like crazy, will go through a pack a day, do you know if this enhances the voices?

It is heart warming to read of your concern for your brother.

I am schizophrenic and doing well. I believe the medication finally is of help to me! It does seem medication is your best long term bet.

I lived at home until I was 32 years old because I had no better place to go. Gradually, I took over the running of the household. It turns out it has been helpful lifelong to have gotten into the habit of doing a great job maintaining and using vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers! At the very least, a schizophrenic living with his parents should take out the garbage!

Schizophrenics seem to pick up on smoking. A pack a day is hardly the record! There’s some hard research out there suggesting nicotine helps schizophrenics, but then again, it seems a good deal of that research has been funded by tobacco companies.

I have a curious thought. What little I know about gang behavior is from reading. It does seem that one of the way to get out of the gang lifestyle is to get religion. Now, religion is often a trap for schizophrenics. I myself have had periods of religiosity, for example. But religion for a schizophrenic does lessen the likelihood of unwanted pregnancy or violence, which can be unwelcome consequences of schizophrenia.

Yes, lots of schizophrenics don’t do much socializing. Curiously, many schizophrenics who find dealing with people difficult can find dealing with animals fairly satisfying.

As a young man, I got into walking. One of the first fruits of regular exercise was increased cognitive abilities and mood stabilization.

I guess some schizophrenics don’t care too much about their appearance. But I do care what I’m wearing. For years there, I couldn’t make it to a clothing store to pick out clothes, and my Mom did some shopping for me. But seriously, my siblings could better shop for clothes I liked than Mom or Dad could!

Good wishes,


First I would say don’t touch him during an episode. Give him his space. He is reacting and lashing out at his hallucinations and may not be able to tell the difference between you and them.

Do you know for sure that he is taking his medications? Smoking does decrease their effectiveness but a pack a day is not that uncommon.

I know that having him admitted is not what you want but it may be what is needed. It will not get better without treatment. It’s a tough choice but if he keeps going the way that he is then chances are he will end up in the criminal system and that is not where he needs to be. I won’t say that psychiatric wards are nice but he will be safe there and so will you and your mom.

Please look at these sites: - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner. - 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 and LEAP on and you should find some long videos - under problems you will see anosognosia
Anosognosia looks like denial but is different. - helped my understand delusions - National Alliance on Mental Illness. - Schizophrenia Society of Canada

Please do not touch him when he is upset. You must think of the safety of yourself first and foremost. Would you go over and touch or stand close to a wasp nest after it’s been rattled ? If you really want to help your brother get him interested in hiking, put a camera in his hand, tell him to want to get out and enjoy nature and then do it. Keep asking him until he does. If you offer him the chance do something with his physicalness perhaps his memories would not come back to haunt him so that he needs to do yell at the neighbor to keep it all back. Exercise can heal. Gets those good endorphins working.
Don’t give up but know when to keep your distance and remember the wasps.

Alright, there are times where he is literally screaming, and will mess the whole house up. Should I still leave him alone then?

Yes I make sure that I give him his medications every morning and night. I told the doctor that it doesn’t really seem like it is working and he just upped the dosages.

And yeah, it’s a tough decision. I’m going to try to get him to be more active for a while to see if that will help because he is pretty much a couch potato right now. If exercise does not work, I will then look into him being admitted.

I will make sure to look at those links right away, thank you so much for replying and helping me. I truly appreciate it!

When he is outside, I usually ask him to come in the house because I don’t want the neighbors calling the police again, and when he ignores I touch his shoulder and continue to ask him to come inside, which is what led to him hitting me a couple months ago. Now when he has his episodes we just let him yell, but it lasts much longer then when we try to interfere with it.

But alright, our only transportation is by city bus so I will start by asking him to come for walks, and playing sports at the park. He loved playing sports and dancing when he was younger. Thank you so much for your advice, I truly appreciate it!

Thank you for replying.

I wish that the medication my brother is taking would make a difference, but it doesn’t seem to do anything. I give him his meds every morning and night so I know for sure he is taking them.

Wow, Marcus doesn’t really do anything within our household. My parents and I take care of everything, and when we do ask him to take the trash sometimes it seems like it upsets him because he will make a big gasp. We also make breakfast, lunch, and dinner and will plate his food for him. I know he is capable of these things but I feel he is dependent on us for it now.

I noticed that most his delusions come when he is smoking, because I will hear him yelling from outside. So that is why I am concerned that smoking might be bad for him. When he doesn’t have cigarettes he will go and ask strangers so we continue to buy them for him.

My initial thought is that when he is having delusions, they may be like flash backs from when he was involved in a gang. It was horrible, that is mainly what led him to being arrested when he was younger. Our family attends church regularly, Marcus as always usually seems to be in a daze.

Marcus is good with our cat, but a couple times he has kicked our Aunts dog when he has his delusions.

I will try to take him on more walks, and get him involved in sports like how he was when he was younger. Hopefully this will be a break through!

& Yes, Marcus does seem to care about his appearance as well, first thing he does in morning is take a shower and get dressed. We do all the shopping for him as well, but now I am curious to take him shopping to see what he would like to wear.

Again, thank you so much for your help! I truly do appreciate it and find it so helpful to talk to someone who understands.

I do not think you can help him when he is raging. If the neighbors call the police they are calling the police on your brother not on you. Let him face the full results of his actions especially while he is raging. If he is a couch potato if may be more difficult to get him up and moving. However, I think that maybe a walk will not help without treatment in a hospital. I offered hiking and photography after my son had already been stabized. When I asked him to walk when he was dellusional all he did was laugh all during the walk. My son states that what he is laughing about is not really funny but horrible and laughter is the only way he can handle it If you can not get him to accept help, you must put an end to helping him stay sick. I believe in tough love it is the only thing that saved me in the beginning like where you are. Both of my children were mentally ill at the same time. They were 4 years apart. Maybe when he goes outside to yell at the moon you can put your headphones on so that it will not affect you. Even after you brother goes into the hospital and comes out again you can be there with the invites for hiking. It is a life long process.

When my stepson was finally formally diagnosed, he was put on goedon. Didn’t work and they upped the dosage. Then seroquel. Same thing. Then riperadol. Same thing. Finally he was given zyprexa while in the hospital involuntarily. So far it’s really worked. We even brought the dosage down recently. You may have to try many meds and many levels before something works. It’s worth it to finally hear them laugh again, or crack a joke. The same goes for involuntary admittance. It’s hard, so hard to see that happen, or to make it happen. But no matter how much you love them, you aren’t a doctor. You shouldn’t ever get in the way of a rage, because you really could get hurt. Please do research, talk to a doctor, and do what you have to. For your brother. And come back to ask questions. It’s really helped me.

Schizophrenia takes time to heal, my father had it for 26years and then finally got on the right dosage of medicine. I have had schizophrenia for 3 years and am doing slightly better. Hang in there it might take some time. Just never give up hope.

So sorry for the trouble you’re having with your brother, I know how upsetting that is, hang in there. I believe it is all about the meds. When my son was psychotic no amount of walking, playing instruments, or anything else like that helped. When he is stable on meds it helps, but def not when he’s psychotic. Are you communicating with his pdoc to let him/her know how badly your brother is doing? How long has he been on his current meds? It usually takes 2-4 weeks to start seeing results. You may need to have your brother committed to the hospital because he is a definitely a threat to you, and this is the grounds to do this. He doesn’t have to know you are doing this, the sherifs will come to your home and take him to the hospital in the patrol car. He will hate you for it at first but once he is in the hospital they will get him stabilized on the appropriate meds. When his psychosis leaves and he is thinking more clearly, he will no longer be mad at you and will probably be thankful. Definitely extremely hard to do, but sooo worth it in the long run. My husband and I had to have our son committed, one of the worst days of our lives, but he got so much better after being properly medicated.

Whatever you decide to do I wish you the best of luck.

Make sure that if you need to call the police to remain safe and for his good, that you ask for a CIT officer. (Crisis Intervention Team). In fact, insist on it.