Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

False allegations

Hi all,

My sister was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in her late teens, she is now 36. She was taking her medicine very inconsistently this past year or so. In December she accused my husband of inappropriately touching her. She reported it to my dad who spoke with her behavioral health nurse practitioner who said not taking her medicine wouldn’t cause that (she had only seen my sister a few times, her long time psychiatrist retired and I haven’t been able to get in contact with him). However, I know first hand she has delusions and hallucinations when she isn’t taking her meds properly. My sister made a similar allegation toward my dad in her early 20’s when we were trying to figure meds out and my grandma and I felt it mental health related. My dad called the police and now my husband is facing charges. This has been a huge stress and very traumatic for my family. Has anyone else dealt with false accusations/allegations? It doesn’t seem the justice system understands mental health, on top of it my husband is of minority so that makes it even worse. Any help would be appreciated.

I am so sorry to hear of your situation. Something similar occurred in my household. My daughter, when psychotic, used to call the police often about her step-father, my husband (a drinker), and report him for abuse. Usually she was not coherent enough to state what kind of abuse, and the police usually left. Sometimes she would talk of such oddities they knew it was a mental health issue. After enough calls, they simply made sure everyone was OK, verified with me (“the sane one”, as they called me), hung around to chat when not busy, and left. However, a police detective was assigned to investigate in case there was some truth in her calls. After awhile the detective told me that they were dropping the investigation as it was obvious that these were delusional ideas.

I disagree with the behavioral health nurse, and agree with you, that delusions and/or hallucinations could be behind your sister’s accusation of your husband. I also agree that the justice system doesn’t always understand mental health issues. I have no real help to offer, only that I understand your frustration completely. I can only suggest that you try to find a lawyer for your husband who DOES understand mental health issues and false accusations.

I’ll also mention that for some reason delusional thinking tends toward accusations of taboo or transgressional behavior. So racist or antisemitic undercurrents may be expressed. For example John Nash was known for antisemitic views, and Mel Gibson is famous for antisemitic rants during Manic incidents.

Thank you all for your support. Attorneys are outrageously priced. Does anyone know of a good one who understands mental health who is in Wisconsin?

Has anyone gone through something similar?

Does anyone know of a reputable mental health provider who could speak to delusions/hallucinations when meds (clozapine) not taken consistently?

Thank you for your support. I may private message you at some point. I’m sorry for everything you have gone through.

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The people on this Forum are from all over the U.S. and other countries, too. To find local information you could contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) in your state. Especially if you can get connected with one of their local Family Support Groups, you are more likely to be able to get suggestions for resources local to you.

Is there a reason you would not contact your family member’s current psychiatrist with your concerns?

Hi. She was with a behavioral health NP and that person said missing her meds wouldn’t cause hallucinations/delusions. I could contact the inpatient psychiatrist she just worked with. She is getting set up with a new psychiatrist and that appointment is next week.

Well, that’s pretty wild! Of course, missing meds can affect all behaviors associated with this illness! I hope you have better success with the next psychiatrist. Keep us posted!

My daughter alleges abuse of all types as typical manifestation of her illness. Before she was diagnosed, we lived in expectation of an investigation into whatever she accused us of. She has also (vaguely) told of many other rape/sexual abuse incidents. Of course, there is always a chance for some truth, especially given the rough life she was leading. Fortunately, no authority has taken her seriously as they have recognized her illness.
Unfortunately I have no helpful advice to give for dealing with this situation. I only hope it helps to know it is a common delusion.

Medication/treatment! I know of many others who have been accused falsely of things like this. With the right help, it DOES get better!

A few things aren’t adding up for me here, am I understanding you correctly? Your Dad was falsely accused in the past by her, yet he believes her when she accuses your husband. Is there a possible underlying reason for this inconsistency, or am I misunderstanding you?

The NP doesn’t think that medications or lack there of have any bearing on possibly false beliefs (delusions)? What medications and diagnosis is she talking about in this context? Antipsychotics are prescribed specifically to help with such symptoms.

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Hi, ridiculous right?

When I asked my dad about the accusation against him he said he didn’t remember…but I clearly do. It was a one time accusation. This current accusation was also a one time accusation.

My dad called her behavioral nurse practitioner that was prescribing her clozapine. She spoke with my sister and told my dad that missing her meds wouldn’t cause her to make it up and that she would be reporting it and he should as well. Therefore he did rather than talking to me about it. My dad and I have had somewhat of a rocky relationship.

To make matters worse, my sister is allergic to anything that is not 14k gold and was wearing this necklace that made a “mark” on her neck. I took photos of her after wearing the necklace after this incident and gave my husband’s attorney the photos.

It’s just all such a mess and I’m losing hope. The police were awful. I feel terrible that my husband has been dragged into this, he has helped me for 13 years.

I’m wondering if anyone has found research on false accusations with psychotic disorders?

Hi, do you know of any research or articles talking about this?

I’m sorry, but no, I can’t point to specific research. It is my experience with my daughter, as well as with another occasionally psychotic woman I know, that sexual delusions seem to come up rather often. I hope this gets sorted out for your family soon, and that relationships are not destroyed over the issue.

Thank you. Yes, private message me if you like :slight_smile:

I’ve dealt with something similar in my own family - not going so far as the law getting involved but family members being accused. So I don’t think I can be much help. I just wanted to chime in with the others and confirm that this does happen.

Out of curiosity I did some googling, summary articles weren’t hard to find. It basically runs down like this: proven false accusations of sexual assault are considered relatively rare. Mental illness is considered a significant factor in these, although SZ isn’t mentioned, bipolar disorder is. Unfortunately just having a mental illness is supposed to put you at higher risk at being sexually assaulted. They didn’t say specifically why, but I speculate it may be precarious living arrangements of the SMI may put them in higher risk environments like low income housing, jail, homelessness, or sex work. This may explain the attitude of the NP, as misinterpretation of raw statistics could lead to a believe first, ask questions later mentality. A grim silver lining is that odds are high that charges are dropped regardless of whether they are proved true or not. I suppose this could lead to undercounted false accusations that never rise to the point of a full investigation. Another possible silver lining is false accusations appear to be characteristically lurid, bizarre, overly embellished and over-the-top. And this makes them easier to spot by people with experience and training.

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First, my heart goes out to you. The frustration, the fear, the unpredictability of the legal system… the chaos of having loved ones with MI…
In my opinion: Memories of sexual assault or abuse or trauma inflicted doesn’t come from nothing… it’s possible there has been a violation, but the who the what the when and where has been misappropriated in the mind of somebody who happens to have MI and possibly transferred or was triggered by something completely innocuous to the accused. MB spoke wisely, in my opinion, when said it’s likely the charges will get dropped, assuming your husband has no previous offenses of assault or abuse or anything sexual in nature, especially if there is a documented history of MI in your sister. Unfortunately, people who suffer MI, especially who suffer persecution delusions, are susceptible to sexual predators. They are outside of rational decision making, hence engaging in high risk behaviors. They’re just easy targets, because who would believe them if they spoke out?
Again, my heart goes out for your situation, and reaching out and finding this forum hopefully you find a great place just to be, communicate frustrations, share great firsthand info.

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