Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How do I help my sister

Hi,
My sister has not officially been diagnosed but we believe she has schizophrenia. She is currently in the psych unit at the hospital. She was admitted last friday under a EP. At first she signed the HIPAA release form so my dad can have the information but as of yesterday she took it back. So now they cant tell us anything. We are at a complete loss. We have no idea what to do. One minute she wants to get help and the next she is convinced we are trying to “control” her life. She is on olanzapine (10mg 2x a day) not refusing it at the hospital but what do we do when she gets discharged. How do we get her additional treatment? She is 23 and along with all of this…she has admitted to using hallucinogens to cope with its going on with her head…i dont even know if that’s appropriate to say, im sorry. This whole thing is just so hard to navigate. Im so angry. Not at her but the situation. The health care system. Theyre supposed to help people like my sister but instead they shut us out because the law says they have too. Has anyone had to get power of attorney over mental health? I have so many questions. I dont know where to begin. If anyone has advice please let me know. Im so desperate. My parents are desperate. I just dont know how to help. It breaks my heart to see my parents emotionally destroyed and it hurts my heart to know that my sister is hurting and she’s alone and that she thinks these awful things about us. She does call every now and then but its not a coherent conversation. Im sorry at this point im rambling but please if anyone has advice i’ll take it.

Hi, I would recommend looking at the NAMI website for resources for yourself and your parents and also possibly your sister for when she gets discharged.
Is this her first episode? There are programs for people who have their first episode of psychosis in every state and they are funded by the state. It is a wraparound program that is supposed to help prevent further episodes and improve longterm outcomes. Here is a bit of info on that Phases of Psychosis < Specialized Treatment Early in Psychosis (STEP). I found a place for my son by googling First Episode Psychosis and my state. He was hospitalized mid August and released 9 days later. He has been going to his appointments and is taking his meds. The routine has been that I give them to him at bedtime. He’s back to work too, but working shorter shifts right now.
The fact that your sister withdrew the ROI is really hard. I would try to call the hospital and ask them to try to talk her into signing it again so your parents and your can support her after discharge. It’s hard if you know nothing. You might not even know when she gets discharged. I’m so sorry, Does she still live at home?
ETA, I would also recommend watching this TED talk by Dr Amador and reading his book. I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! | Dr. Xavier Amador | TEDxOrientHarbor - YouTube It’s a fairly short read but good. Helps with communication. We were very careful when my son was in very acute psychosis in how we talked to him, in order to not lose his trust. Thankfully we were never part of his delusions and paranoid thinking. It felt like work how mindful we had to be with talking to him so he wouldn’t shut us out, but it feels more natural now.
I really feel for you and your parents, it’s such a nightmare to go through. The thing that helped me not lose it was telling myself, while I was in despair, my brain was still working normally and that my son was in much worse shape and needed me to figure this out for him.

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I’m so sorry that you are here on this forum. Your sister’s struggle will be a lifelong one, and a tough road. Your own struggles to help her will be hard. The best thing is if after she is released you can get her to agree to sign a HIPPA form. My daughter wouldn’t sign one for the first part of her illness. She was having psychotic episodes almost constantly for almost 3 years before she got on regular meds. You must be patient and try to take advantage of ANY little improvement or opening for improvement.

The advice to check out NAMI, Dr. Amador’s books and talks, and first episode psychosis programs is very good. You must be proactive and strong to find ways to help your sister.

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Hey…
It’s so sad to say that I’m going through the same thing with my brother. He’s 30 now and my parents and I have been unsuccessfully trying to help him for about 6/7 years. Its hard finding the balance of tough love and giving in to their desires, and lately he’s gotten a lot worse. My brother refuses to see a doctor. Hospitals won’t admit him for longer than 2 days because they say he is not endangering himself or others. We can’t drag him down to his doctor to force feed him medicine since he’s an adult. The system is not meant for troubled people. Its meant for those who fit into societies “norms”. I know I’m not much help, but maybe knowing that there are other people going through the same issue helps you feel a little less alone. Just the fact that you are here, posting a forum about it, means that you are doing everything you can to help. God is great and I haven’t given up hope and you shouldn’t either. I’m going to check out Dr. Amador’s books as some of the others have mentioned.

Keep me updated!
-Lena

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