Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How do you help a relative who refuses treatment?

Hi I’m based in the UK and totally new to this condition.

My sister remains undiagnosed for her condition as she refuses to believe anything is wrong with her and it’s everyone else who is wrong.
From my understanding of her worsening symptoms, she ticks so many boxes on what I read about Schizophrenia.

My sister is now in her 40s and lives at home with my frail parents who have their own severe medical issues. Her issues have drastically worsened over the last four years and it’s gone from hearing people talking when she was in the shops to now becoming very religious, believing she speaks to god daily and also being overtly racist at times. We’ve never been a very religious or racist family.
There are moments where she is her old self but often when I’m not there she is either viciously verbally abusive to my parents or goes to her room to shout, rant and swear at nobody. Conversations with her often divert onto random topics or mix up of whats real and whats fictional that she has seen or read.

My parents have spoken to their GPs, written letters to them and been told that as she is still seen as being of sound mind and an adult there is nothing that can be done unless she goes to them to ask for help - which currently will never happen. They did call an ambulance for her a week ago as she stopped eating and apparently said she wanted to end it but once the ambulance arrived she was 100% normal, ate something and said she was just fasting like in the bible. She is eating again but I feel it’s only a matter of time until the next emergency if nothing is done.

My parents are of a generation who just want to protect her and they are frightened of never seeing her again if she is taken away from them. They aren’t going to be there forever and I want her to be able to get to a place where she can function and care for herself. She currently has no social circle, never had a job or relationship and has now stopped even going out. She is suspicious of everything and my parents have to hide bills and letters as she tries to cancel services claiming they are scammers and fake.

I’m trying to build some trust with her in the hope it will lead to her talking more and eventually seeking help but it’s exhausting and I’m looking to those with experience here for tips on how to approach this and help her without worsening the impact on my parents who she lives with.

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It’s a tough one , sounds like schizoaffective disorder . In Florida if you are not a danger to yourself or others then basically no one can help . I would reach out to
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helplines/ and they may guide you . Keep educating yourself and be patient with her . part of the illness is not having any insight . She obviously needs to see a psychiatrist so if you can somehow try and get her to see one and get meds to help her that would be great . I know it will be hard as she does not think she is sick but every day is a different day and one day she may agree. Good luck !

Thanks for the reply. Yes I have spoken to Mind but they pretty much outlined that she has to be a danger to herself or others. Even when the Ambulance came she managed to put on a front, denied she had threatened to take her own life and although her blood sugars were messed up due to not eating, there wasn’t anything else which the medical staff could take action on.
I’ve tried for years now to get her to a GP but she can’t see an issue and says all kinds of nasty things to us when challenged on things. I’ve asked neighbours to call the police if they hear violent behaviour but they don’t want to get involved. I want her to get treatment but find we are in limbo and the behaviour is worsening - especially during this pandemic. I need to become enough of a psychiatrist myself to be able to get her to see one. At a bit of a loss. If anyone has the condition or has been in a similar position, I’d love to know how you get on that first step to recovery.

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Is there anybody in my position here? Brother ill, Refuses Treatment

This can be a very helpful thread to read.

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