Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Getting Help for my sister - Suggestions?

Copied from the Diagnosed forum:

My 39 year old sister believes people are following her and watching her. She says they cough of clap their hands to get her attention. She believes there is a grand conspiracy in her city to drive her out of town. She is now at my mother’s house. She doesn’t work and has borrowed money from almost everyone she knows including over 30K from my mother. My problem is that she refuses to get mental help because she says there is nothing wrong with her. What can we do to help her and protect my mother from her manipulations?

Unless she is a danger to herself or others, your opportunity to get her treatment is limited. Unfortunately, it is often the case that people with schizophrenia do not believe they have an illness.

A book entitled ‘I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help’ provides useful guidance on how to use a person’s wishes as leverage to get her to accept treatment. I’m sure others will provide more info about this. It definitely takes practice to get the hang of it, but it might help you develop some new approaches with your sister.

Regarding her manipulation of your mother, I’m afraid that’s a whole different topic from whether your sister needs treatment. Your mom wants to help her. My only suggestion there is to help your mom consider how the money she is giving your sister is being spent. If it is being spent recklessly, then she might be able to change to providing for your sister in ways that limit how the money is spent. If your sister uses threats on your mother, it can be very distressing and difficult to resist.

Thank-you for your email. I will find the book you recommended. Fortunately, most of my mother’s income is locked away but the worry will always be there for me. That is something I can overcome as long as my mother is being treated well and not in any danger. This is all new to me, but I am learning as I research. This website has been wonderful.