Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How do I help my mom?


I’m desperately seeking advice from anyone suffering from schizophrenia, surviving schizophrenia, and supporting someone with schizophrenia. I’m a daughter parenting a mother who needs to seek help, but refuses to get help.

I’m struggling with determining what’s right, what’s fair, and what’s necessary. I’m struggling with making decisions when I’m not sure if I’ve educated myself properly to do so. I’ve met medical professionals. I’ve met behavioral health specialists. I’ve watch videos and read articles. But honestly, I want to talk to somebody that’s going through what I’m going through right now. I’ve looked into NAMI, but I can barely stand strong on my two feet behind closed doors.

My mother is a beautiful woman and a beautiful soul. She’s suffered from abuse, malnourishment, and possible molestation as a child. She married young, had me, but never fully developed who she is as a person. She’s a kind lamb who takes care of everyone, but herself. We were incredibly, disgustingly close for many, many years. However, about five years ago she started showing signs of paranoia, delusions, and her entire personality changed. She struggles with circumlocution and most frequently relies on spewing out words, tangential phrases that rarely have a point, and terms she believes everyone understands, but doesn’t. She worked for the department of emergency medicine and started believing she was being researched, studied, and watched. She lost her position and struggled to find a new one. She currently believes that everyone is watching her, is involved in this conspiracy, and that if she doesn’t show she’s a good person by donating everything she owns, giving away everything she’s earned at work, and never doing anything for herself, then she’ll be punished. She’s scared, anxious, and rarely sleeps. I bought her a kitten for christmas and she thinks it’s because of an experiment.

Right now the only thing that’s real is me because she gave birth to me. She’s expressed to me that there are times she wishes she could just run her car into something and I cry.

I don’t know how to get her the help she needs to feel relief. I don’t want to ruin her life by filing an involuntary psych eval. But she needs love, support, and professional help. I’m struggling to understand and I just need to know what I need to do to give her the unfailing support she always gave me.

Desperately seeking hope.

What makes you think an involuntary psych eval will ruin her life? It will save it. It’s exactly how most people with sz get diagnosed and treated, and 60-70% if those then go in to have a much better life, even a very good life. Certainly, 30% remain largely untreatable, but at least YOU would get help and support and it wouldn’t be TWO lives ruined.
But you don’t even know she has got sz yet? She might have some other entirely treatable condition that has psychosis as a side effect. She might have early onset Alzheimer’s. You don’t know.
My son’s psych evaluation was not the end of his life, it was a new start. It has enabled him to recover, regain hope, start studying, working, socializing, functioning as a whole human being again.
Nobody wants to accept they have a mental illness. But when the alternative is running round is a state of wild and vulnerable irrationality, scared out of your wits, deluded and depressed, unable to communicate, unable to love, even, which do you choose?
Honestly, I think you have to stop ‘feeding the stigma’. Its an illness. There’s nothing to fear and nothing to be ashamed of. If she was lying in bed dehydrated and irrational with a massive blood sugar, would you say, ‘I think she’s got diabetes. I won’t call an ambulance because she might end up on insulin injections, and I know she’d hate that.’ I mean, choose life.

Tell them she’s got suicidal ideation, exaggerate if necessary. Point out she’s planning on ‘death by auto accident’ which makes her a threat to others as well as herself, and get her into treatment. Seriously, the quicker the better. The earlier she gets treated, the lower the dose of APs she will need (if she indeed has sz), and less likely she is to develop anosognosia.


Hi - and very sorry to hear about your and your mother’s situation. Its a very hard situation, there is no question about it. But one that many of us have faced.

I recommend this book: I’m not sick I don’t need help - by Xavier Amador - see link below:


By definition - that is a “danger to self and others” - so you can get her into treatment anytime based on these statements.

You need to think long term - what is best for your mother and also you. The sooner she gets treatment, the better the outcome for her. There are things like female hormone treatments that seem to help women too.

Learn as much as you can about the illness, contact the support groups in your area ( if you are in the USA, if you are in Canada).

Hello, I’m sorry you are going through this.

First, I would schedule a regular doctor’s appointment, a physical, and go with your mom. Tell her you are going with her because you have some concerns that you are going to bring up to the doctor. Tell the doctor what you wrote about her current symptoms and how long they have lasted. Don’t leave without a referral to a psych professional who can dx and work with psychosis symptoms.

There is no reason to assume your mother has schizophrenia, as there are many causes of psychosis symptoms. This is the number one reason to get her to an MD as soon as you can. Differential diagnosis for psychiatric symptoms can lead to any number of diagnoses (including thyroid problem, vitamin deficiency, rare medical condition, serious mental illness); some are highly treatable.

Trying for the regular physical with blood work and any recommended other tests could lead to a voluntary psych eval. Your mom sounds like she’s having a hard time. With her medical background, there is a chance she will listen to you along with a GP or family practitioner who refers her for further evaluation.

If she does become a danger to herself or others, then it’s time for the involuntary evaluation. The evaluation process does not automatically lead to involuntary commitment.

Try to see if you can go to a NAMI Friends and Family Support Group. You don’t even have to talk. Just know that you are not alone and that no family member really ever knows what to do, but that we all try our best to support people we love. Plus, the people there might know resources in your area.

I hope for the best for you and your mom.

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This can probably be described as “word salad” - a common issue in schizophrenia.

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You can’t assume that an involuntary evaluation is going to “ruin her life” - the most common outcome is that people (after they get treatment) realize that it was needed and appreciate the help. If the roles were reversed what would you want your mother to do?

And - I recommend you read this “first aid for psychosis” to help you understand how best to interact with your mother when she’s actively psychotic:

First Aid for Psychosis / Schizophrenia

Check these stories out:



Hello- I am very sorry to hear about you and your mother’s situation. My son was just diagnosed in Sept of 2015. He has been hospitalized 3 times against his will. It is a very hard decision to have a love one taken to a hospital against their will. At that moment you are taking their rights away from them. For my husband and I, We has never thought twice about not having our son hospitalized when he was a harm to himself. It really save his life because in the hospital I knew he was safe and getting treatment. Your mom is a harm to herself and others and needs to be hospitalized ASAP. Now, if your mother is like my son and others parents on this site adult children. She may have a lack of insight of her illness, it will be a long roller a coaster ride. She may be in and out of the hospital because she doesn’t thinks she is sick. This will be very hard on you because you feel like you are doing all you can to help and support her, but she just won’t comply with treatment, just know its the illness. I would go to the court house and do a 10-13(That’s a section) or call the crisis hotline to have them to come to your home to evaluate her. If you go to the court house, You will have to take another person with you who has witness her behavior, but check your state about rules. Let them know all of her symthoms. If they send her to the hospital, make sure your mom sign a consent form, so the staff can talk with you about her treatment. This site and the people on here has helped me a lot. I am still learning and I have to come to this site for a little encouragement from time to time. We are here and your not alone. I’m sending you a big hug over the Internet. Be strong!


I think you got good advice here, and I hope YOU got some hope too. Really, things can get much, much better. Let us know how you get on.

Your mother needs to be evaluated to get to the bottom of her symptoms and receive treatment. My understanding is the longer the symptoms go untreated, the more damage to the brain.

My bf says that he wished he had been committed and treated much earlier. He didn’t know he was sick and did not trust the mental health system or much of anything else before he was on medication. He wishes now that he had been committed and forced to have treatment with long acting antipsychotic injections years ealier than he did He never took his oral meds as prescribed and got worse through the years.

The mental health system is deeply flawed but I think medication is of benefit for most people suffering with psychotic disorders. I believe you would be helping her by getting her into treatment.

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