Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

He walked away from a burning house - need advice

I am new to all of this and trying to educate myself. Here is my issue I have a 44 year old brother and I am the only one left in his life that is willing to step up and help. I live in NH and he lives in WV.
I have known for years that he had some issues but i thought it was more drug related. I have just recently connected the dots and realized that I believe he has all the symptoms of schizophrenia.
This is what I have seen over the past 2 1/2 years and it has recently gotten worse and I need advice.
~ Just last week his house burned down to the ground. He said he woke up and THEY were trying to burn him and he had smoke coming out of his hands.
~ He is very paranoid and thinks people are watching him and tracking him in the TV and phone ~ Talking to the sky and to his self
~ He tells me and everyone that he is dead that he was killed when he was a child and they told him to come back here to watch over the earth.
~ He says he melts into the floors
~ He talks to rocks and thinks they talk to him and the list go on but you get the idea.

I have called many places in WV for help. He has no insurance and he let his Medicaid elapse so no one wants to take him. I cannot conceive him he’s sick and needs help and he does not believe in taking meds from the doctor but does take street drugs and drinks.

I am planning on flying to WV and going to court to file an involuntary mental hygiene warrant. I am so scared for him because he has told me more than once if they come to get him he will fight. The police do not like him in this small town because of his sickness he has been arrested a lot. I am also afraid he won’t get the help he needs and will be released and then will feel like I did him wrong by having him mentally checked.
I need advice has anyone on here had to do an involuntary mental hygiene warrant on a loved one? What can I expect and given my facts is this the right way to proceed? I am heart broken he’s my little brother and has always been more like my son. Both our parents are deceased and they never got him any help anyways.

Hi @rayrabbit Welcome to the site and I believe you did well to find it so fast after you realized your brother probably has schizophrenia. The site is a wealth of information and comfort during this stressful time.

It is not unusual for someone who has a severe mental illness like schizophrenia to not know they are ill. It is called “lack of insight” or anosognosia. It is not unusual for them to refuse the very medications and treatment that might help them. My daughter is that way, and has been for 2.5 years.

Forced hospitalization might or might not provide a correct diagnosis, correct medication and correct response by your loved one after release. Unfortunately, it is a long road sometimes to get a person the help they need. Because you care, you must try to sort this out for your brother. Your problem is compounded by the fact that you live in a different state. It probably is the right way for you to proceed to try to have him committed. He is obviously a danger to himself or others if the house burned down. What result it will have cannot be known until after you do it. Ideally, there will be a hospital that will take him without insurance, and will keep him long enough to be stabilized on medication. Perhaps he will gain insight if forced. Perhaps not. I do not believe myself, from what you have described, that anything else will help him than forced commitment. Good luck to you and your brother.

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Thank you @oldladyblue for responding. In a perfect world he would believe he needs help and has a problem but that’s not the case.
I get confused and conflicted on what to do because he has day’s and sometimes weeks where he is okay and not talking crazy.
I want to make the best decision for him and try to help him.

I’m sorry about your daughter and I pray things will turn for the better.

@rayrabbit I had a mental health hold put on my son. Yes he tried to run but they knew he may do that as he did it before and it took 7 or 8 cops to get him down. He was in complete psychosis - I wasn’t real, the drones were following him etc. Anyway, they were prepared and they took him to the hospital . He is on medicaid - the hospital may be able to help you with that. i.e once he is in, they can help him apply. I think you are correct in doing the hold. Don’t worry about what your bro thinks of you - he will likely have something in his mind for the reason they came and got him. My son, for example, thought it was all because he wasn’t working. He was in the Behavior Health Unit for 3 weeks, then a transition home for 3 and now back with me - working 55 hours a week and is pretty clear and “normal”. He is on a monthly shot called invega. If your brother ends up in the hospital you will need to advocate for him the best you can. Hopefully, he will sign a release of information, but if he doesn’t, there are ways around it. Keep us posted. As one lady here says. Don’t let the crazy person be in control. She also says, if it was you wouldn’t you want someone to do the same for you. Stay strong. Keep trying different doors and slowly or eventually one will open.


I do understand the fluctuation of this disease. I think that is why it is hidden for so long You must simply take the action you feel you should take based on the sensible information. Hospitalization was something I avoided forcing for many months. It is hard to face doing that to someone you love but sometimes it is the right decision.

I am experiencing the same and its getting worse by the day. I truly don’t want to be the person who calls became I did twice already and he was able to leave after 48 to 72 hours. He still brings it up and torments me.

I know from personal experience that getting out of the hospital too soon has negative effects on the loved ones trying to help the MI person. We can only do what we can do, and only try what we can try. Sometimes repeating an involuntary commitment is necessary. I failed to get my loved on on medication, but after 4 hospitalizations and applying LEAP from “I’m not Sick, I don’t Need Help”, I have succeeded in calming things down to a somewhat peaceful existence.

Hi @Laz it is such a hard decision to make when our loved one is in complete denial. I am sorry to hear you are battling the something and is this a sibling or child?
That is what I am really afraid of he will be released after 72 hours and will not even think about takin the meds after being released. I am the only one he trust or has so I really am afraid of breaking that trust and loosing him. This is such anguish for the care giver and person dealing with SZ.

Hi @oldladyblue that is good news that you have calmed things down:)
I talked to him yesterday and he keeps telling me he would never take meds so that is my fear he will get out early and not take the meds and then I have made things worse. I will keep praying and educating myself and make the best decision. At least he’s at a friends house now and is seeming stable and happy for the time being. It’s a day by day thing. Thank you for your input it helps to have someone who has walked the walk to get advice from.

@rayrabbit If you can get the court to do it - then it would be court ordered meds and it would be the doctor making the court order. They would take your brother from the hospital to the courtroom. (at least this is what happened for us in CO) Yes, my son fought it and will go off in a year when he no longer “has” to take them. He was pretty bad. He was in total paranoid psychosis state - hence they make the meds court ordered.

This is my fiance. We have been together for a long time. It has never been anything like this. No support from his family. I on a way don’t blame them because then all of the accusations etc would be on them too. The only one who was able to get through to him (which was before I came into the picture) was his sister.

@Laz Can you get his sister back involved? Perhaps she can help.

I’m in the U.K. but the start of my son’s recovery was an involuntary stay in a psychiatric hospital where he agreed to start injectable anti-psychotics just to get out and then continued on them. The longer he stayed on them, the more he saw how deluded he had been.

I want done with my post. He grabbed my phone and erased my contacts. The one day I turned off the lock screen. No more. It stays in my pocket. His sister passed away a little over a year ago unexpectedly. His father passed a few months before that and currently his mother has had numerous strokes which left her unable to speak or do anything for herself. Hard on someone who is under a treatment plan yet alone in his state of mind.

Question…???Do they ever get tired of the non stop talking. Hours and hours. He is barely sleeping. Maybe 2 or 3 hours a night/day. Catnaps. Weighs approx 130 if that. He wastes so much food. Dumps it out if he sets it down and walks away…even just for a few seconds… He used to be so high functioning. Now…totally different person. I never would have guessed in my worst fears.

I would suggest try to find out how did the house caught fire. May be he did some thing while in psychotic state and then walked out of the house. Did’nt even realize the seriousness of it. If that is true, then it is a very apparent that he is a risk to himself and a risk to others.

Hi @rayrabbit yes, it is a day by day thing, and when the loved one is stable and happy, that is the best of days. I leave my daughter to her “life” now, as she is relatively stable and happy.

To help you in the awful decision-making process of involuntary commitment of your brother, I have some opinions (only opinions) Depending on: 1) where you live, the hospitalization will go differently from somewhere else, even different hospitals handle things differently so it’s sort of luck each time how things will go, 2) how bad he is when you try for involuntary commitment, he may not be committed by the police at all, 3) how he is under observation while in the hospital and how much he can contain his psychosis when under observation will determine the length they keep him, so it is best to try to commit when the loved on is VERY actively psychotic, 4) whether he will allow you to know where he is or what his medical status is (HIPPA release must be signed by him or the facility won’t even tell you IF he is there or not), and 5) if he won’t stay on meds after release, there is nothing you can do if he is deemed not dangerous to self or others.

Yes, a court order can be gotten if he is psychotic enough while hospitalized, but the judges’ view is always to take the least invasive handling for the ill person. Unless he is truly totally psychotic and dangerous and stays that way while in the hospital, he probably won’t be long term force medicated by a judge. Per a judge in my town, “It isn’t illegal to be crazy.” We have many homeless here in Florida that walk around talking to themselves.

The ONLY benefits of my repeatedly having my daughter Baker Acted here in Florida are: 1) she calmed down her episodes so that she is NOT openly dangerous to self or others and my home is quieter most days than it used to be, 2) the police in my area know her and bring her home if she gets too crazy out in public, 3) she chooses to live at home and hasn’t run away since the first time so I don’t have to worry about her getting abused as a pretty, young homeless person, and 4) I know with certainty that she would be almost 100% well IF, and it’s a big IF, she stayed on the Haldol shot with the Trileptal tabs; so I can with certainty tell others that forced hospitalization IS worth the effort as IF the meds gave insight or made her choose to stay on them, the result would be WELL worth it. Chances are your brother will forgive you for hospitalizing him even if he doesn’t stay on meds and remains psychotic, and IF he stays on meds and recovers, he will thank you profusely later, when sane and stable, for giving him a life back. If you talk to those who are now well, and functioning again, they are usually very grateful to those who forced them to begin medication through involuntary commitment.