Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Help with family member who may be schizophrenic

hello all. New to the site. I have a brother in law who could possibly have schizophrenia. He has never been diagnosed but he shows the signs of having schizophrenia and his father also suffers from schizophrenia. My question is how can my husband and I get my brother in law the help and treatment he needs if he does not want to look for help. He lives with my mother in law and day by day he is becoming more and more of a threat to her.

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Welcome to the forum, I am glad you found it. The question you ask is often THE question for everyone new on this forum. It was for me when I found this site, I had no idea how to get my daughter the help she needed but didn’t know she needed. The great percentage of people with schizophrenia don’t know they are ill. They don’t have insight into the fact that they are mentally ill. That condition has a name, anosognosia. It made me cry to learn the word anosognosia, as how could the problem be solved?

Each family resolves their situation differently. What is correct for one person can be totally incorrect for another. The best thing you can do is read the many posts from the past to see what has helped others. Also there are books and videos about this disease that help bring understanding of how a person might be helped. For me, reading on this forum, going to NAMI meetings, reading “I’m not sick, I don’t need Help” by Dr. Amador, and learning how local laws and organizations could help me were all key.


Welcome to the 1%! No quick answers or easy solutions. Just know you’re not alone - your bother-in-law is not alone, and that love wins!

We are a mangled mess of humanity represented on this forum. We rage, weep, rejoice, and eventually move forward, together.

Read from dozens of families that struggle with the same question. There’s a ton of great resources and ideas herein.

My 20 year old son was diagnosed only 8 months ago, although we knew there were underlying issues. Although extremely, violently opposed to treatment, he has just completed 6 months at New Roads in Utah, and is doing well.

A near-catastrophic event precipitated his forced journey into getting help. And he went through 4 other places before we found one that worked for us. The key for us was finding the right drug and therapy mix for ongoing stabilization.

It’s heartbreaking work. It’s scary. But sometimes it gets better. Welcome to the 1%.


I’m in agreement with @oldladyblue. NAMI meetings will talk about the disorders, symptoms, resources, etc. It was a life changer for us and new people drop in all of the time trying to find answers. My chapter holds meeting for diagnosed and also for family members- same time, different rooms. I think it runs in my family too but out of twelve people, only one will even acknowledge mental illness at all. Glad you’re here.

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If you are here posting this… you are probably right… personally, I went through every possible differential diagnosis hoping it was something else but schizophrenia… but when you know it, you see it… it’s not an easy road, peaks and valleys probably for all… some do recover, and I hear there are 25% who do recover… but here I am, still looking at this forum 4 years later for posts I can commiserate and find hope with, and your post hits me because it reminds me of the early days…

For most (in my opinion) the best outcome comes from taking meds… sometimes that starts with a scary hospitalization experience, but it doesn’t always have to. For my brother it took an initial hospitalization, but the problem was finally identified for what we all knew it probably was, and he began an appropriate medication regimen… however, that can be a trial-and-error process. If he is a danger to himself or others, he can be hospitalized… if not, is he willing to seek help? “Danger to yourself” can include not taking adequate care for your own mental health, and he may meet the criteria. Many states have crisis lines you can call where emergency mental health personnel will come and assess the situation, in my state it is 211.

In my brother’s case, he has had peaks and valleys… and the biggest thing has been for him to realize he needs to take his meds. Whenever he takes his meds, you would never know (though that’s not necessarily the case with everyone)…He has been taking his meds consistently for the past year and has a normal, college degree-level job… this has come after many ups and downs, and he has had and lost several jobs before, but I believe that if he keeps recognizing he needs to take his meds he will be ok.

I know how difficult and frightening this is… I’m glad you came to this forum because I found a lot of support here myself, even though I didn’t contribute much… my suggestion would be to get him some clinical attention ASAP, ideally voluntarily, and if not… through a crisis line

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