Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Can we be too tolerant?

I am wondering if there are any other people who have a sz loved one who has refused treatment and have never been on meds or hospitalized. My son refused to see a psychiatrist when he was diagnosed at age twenty-three. We live in a rural area and I have experienced many of his psychotic episodes and he’s told me about ones he has had, yet he is still without treatment. He has been homeless on and off for the most part, and about three months ago he asked to spend a couple nights for a shower and laundry and he has been here ever since. He refuses to leave, he says he is scared to live on the streets again. Our family (a teenage son, preteen daughter and two adult daughters) are going through a lot having him here. He stays in a small cabin right next to our house. He is very delusional, talks to himself a lot, digs/cuts at his arms claiming he has a serious skin disease, sometimes slams doors and windows yelling in the middle of the night, often rambles nonstop or is very reclusive. The list goes on an on. He retreats in his cabin and often acts like I’m a stranger unless he needs something. He is also extremely OCD as was mentioned in a recent post. Sadly, he tries to self medicate with marijuana, but it makes him worse…more argumentative. We are leaving on a vacation and he will be here for two weeks with our older land mate. I’m worried, frustrated and wondering if we are just too tolerant.


My son refuses to take meds and has never been on meds (except for 3 days once) and he has never been hospitalized.

My son isn’t in denial, nor is he refusing by choice, he suffers from the symptom anosognosia - this is a part of his scz and it keeps him from realizing he is ill.

My son has never done anything that would qualify him for an involuntary hospitalization in accordance with the laws where we live. I am guessing your son hasn’t either?

This pretty much describes my son’s behavior when he last lived next to our home. He escalated to walking around outside our house yelling at us at all hours. He never threatens us with actual words, he is constantly yelling for us to stop abusing him. Even when he threw a large rock at me the local sheriff’s deputy who came out to our house would not help. Weeks later when I had to contact the actual mental health officer, he told me the deputy should have taken my son in for the rock event. BUT even in that situation, he would only be able to hold him for a 3 day treatment if my son answered the questions correctly/incorrectly (you be the judge) when asked by the local treatment facilitator if he planned to hurt me or himself. So far, he always knows to deny planning on hurting anyone. Now had he hit me with the rock fortunately/unfortunately (again, you be the judge) that would have been different. The rock was too heavy for him to throw far enough to actually hit me. but if he had hit me, they would have held him for assault and I would have had a chance to talk with a judge and get him on forced meds to avoid jail. Well, if I survived the chunk of granite to my person.

So onto your question. Can we be too tolerant? Do you have another option? Do you live in a an area that supports “forced meds”?

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@govinda I encourage you to research the involuntary commitment laws in your state. You should be prepared even if your son does not currently qualify for involuntary commitment. Unless he qualifies for some sort of forced treatment, how would you get him to leave? Are you giving him money? How does he get the marijuana? Are you providing other help to him? If you are, these are things you can potentially bargain with. And as is stated some many places on this site, for families who have a loved one who is not able to acknowledge his/her illness, we suggest reading the book “I Am Not Sick; I Don’t Need Help” by Dr. Xavier Amador. Sometimes, a person faced with living on the street will agree to meds, or if they do not, (I have been professionally advised) they have a better chance for getting needed help through a homeless shelter, for example.

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I hear you! I went through this for years with full isolation for about 10 months. I kept thinking that something would happen to change things… I went on a trip. A few days after I came home, he had barricaded himself in and me out of my house. Long story - involuntarily I put him in the hospital (court ordered meds), then we got him in a transition home and now he is in our new home (I was moving during all of this). And remarkably he got himself a job. So far so good.

Is there anyway you can get someone out to evaluate him as he sounds like he is hurting himself. Some areas of the country have a Crisis Team. We do not here in Colorado where I am from but the police will come to evaluate and see if they can do a mental health hold (which your son may or may not qualify for). In my case, I had to get an emergency mental health hold that the court had to approve. It took 24 hours to get that. But the meds have been a blessing. Was I too tolerant? I don’t think so, it’s just the way the whole thing unfolded. I hope you have a great trip and hope your son gets some help. Keep us posted.


Unless you’re in a life-threatening situation, I would do a little research before you call the police.

  1. If your county has a non-police crisis intervention team, call them first. The police will usually still transport, but the evaluation is a more gentle process.
  2. Find out if your police have officers trained to deal with a mental health crisis. If they do, do they always have one available? Maybe find out their names or talk to them ahead of time so they’re prepared.
  3. What conditions have to be met for an involuntary hold? My son had 5 involuntary holds in 10 months not too long ago. All were because they deemed he was so ill that he could not protect himself from harm, so that meant he was a danger to himself. He never threatened to hurt himself or anyone else. Even when he would go to the hospital voluntarily, they would do the hold so he couldn’t change his mind the next day.

Our police department is trained, and a variety of police officers have been very kind once to my son once they realized he was having a mental health crisis.

On the other hand, a few years ago, he was pulled over a few miles from our house one night (took the car out after we went to bed which he doesn’t usually do.) The officer did not recognize he was in crisis, handcuffed him, breathalized him, searched the car for drugs, then left him to wander the streets in late November, in the middle of the night, in shorts & a T-shirt. Told him if he saw him back in the car, he’d take him to jail. He hadn’t slept in days and had that wide-eyed look that most people mistake for drug use until they experience someone in psychosis.

Still, he fared better than our friend’s brother. The family called the police asking for a crisis officer when they had an issue. Two female officers who were not trained showed up, our friend’s brother was a huge guy, he must have made some move towards them, so they shot him. He died.

Unfortunately, that’s not an isolated incident.

That’s still not to say you shouldn’t call them when you’re out of other options. I just believe in being prepared & knowing as much as I can about how things work - which is different from how they should work.


Hi there. I have a couple thoughts on this topic. Speaking for myself- the answer to whether or not I can be/was too tolerant of my brother’s behavior was a resounding yes. I can’t tell you whether or not there may need to be further action taken in your own family. -I don’t think anyone one can tell a parent what may or may not be the right degree of involvement regarding their own son/daughter who is ill and is acting destructive. That is for you and the child’s father to make that determination. Speaking as someone who grew up in a household with mentally ill family member- I can attest to how that environment drastically affected my teenage years. My twin went through stages of denial and refused treatment several times. -Each period ended with a violent episode/yelling/threats with steady marijuana use. What I’m trying to say is that unfortunately if your son is schizophrenic- he’s not going through a phase where he’s going to feel better on his own while self-medicating. What’s more- is that you have other children in your home to consider. The unpredictability and volatility of a schizophrenic person creates an anxiety few people can sustain over a period of time. I was recently telling a friend about this type of scenario. People/families aren’t built to live at def-con 1 readiness for a significant amount of time. It isn’t fair to you as a parent and it isn’t fair to your kids. -If you don’t mind me saying so. My own Mother lost another son to violence before my twin showed signs of sz. She panicked and was fearful that she could also lose her youngest child after my twin was diagnosed. She went through a period of enabling my twin because she didn’t know what else to do. She was overcompensating -Than she developed boundaries. Took an honest assessment of what the best course of action for my brothers long term health would be. -That included an ultimatum that my brother seek help. Be properly medicated and seek inpatient/outpatient care. But that trip from simply hoping my twin would magically get better to setting solid boundaries with him which she held- was not something that happened overnight.
I hope there is a clear answer for you soon. For you- your son and your family.


When my family member was symptomatic to the point of being disruptive, things had to change and it took a long time for me to figure out what to do and how.

I am sorry you are going through this. Everyone has written lots of good ideas.

My advice is: seek the counsel of your own heart. I personally could not tolerate the extreme disruption of some symptoms. It was too much for me.


Hello this journey is new for my family and I. My son is 21 and has had some really bad episodes but is in denial too. His paranoia is that we are treating him like shit with our coughing. He was really bad for awhile. He has been hospitalized twice. This was very hard, but it got him started on his path to recovery. Our loved ones need our support, but need boaderies and rules. Getting help is a very hard struggle, but its needed for healing. My son won’t take any medicine but is seening a therapist. I feel you should take care of your too, find a hobbies to use as therapy. If he is hurting him self, that is a dangerous place, there are hotlines and support systems for you and him. Talk to a professional for your best advise, everyone on here has been a great support as well. He needs your strength and patience, and you deserve respect , this may not come easy, but will be worth it. I will keep sending love and prayers your way :heart::heart::heart:


One can be too tolerant. I have been out of fear and guilt. My son was picked up ten times by police and hospitalized ten times before a court would allow me a conservatorship (here in California). Since I obtained the conservatorship, I have faithfully renewed it every year since 1998. I have the control to put my son in the hospital when needed and to have control over his finances and medication. This is your best option. Read about your conservatorship laws for the mentally ill in your state and work on trying to obtain one. Best wishes and lots of prayers for you and your family.

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