Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How to help an adult who is acting paranoid. He is scaring me

I’m brand new here, & just joined because a search for help for my brother recommended this site. This is going to be long, but I hope you read it & offer some advice, because I’m at a loss. I’ve been my brother’s champion & defender his whole life, & he was mine as well, but I’m scared for him right now. I don’t know what to do or where to go to get him help. I’ve never been included in the loop for his medical care, & have only brought him to a couple of specialists in the past. I don’t know who his psychiatrist or GP is. To save you the trouble of reading everything in case you don’t want to, I will post my questions here:

  1. Is it appropriate to reach out to one of his Dr’s & give them a heads up of his odd behavior? If not,
    how do you get mental health for a family member who keeps you out of the loop?
  2. I know there is Dr/patient confidentiality, but would the Dr at least hear me out about my
  3. I’m the only person my brother has, & I’m afraid that if he knows that I did this he’ll stop talking to
    me, & then he’ll have nobody. Advice?
  4. I’m slightly concerned that he may hurt himself or do something to put himself in a dangerous
    situation. He admits that suicide has crossed his mind, but says he won’t do it. He hopes that
    somebody will start a fight with him & kill him!!!

He’s 6 years older than me & 56, & he was diagnosed with schizophrenia probably 10+ years ago, but I think he’s had it since his teen years. He has violent tendencies when he is going through an episode. It’s scary because he has a ton of knives, swords, guns, & a crossbow. His wife didn’t want weapons in the house, because twice he had sleepless episodes for a week to 2 weeks that led to hallucinations where he believed she was the devil, & pulled either a sword or a knife on her, & intended on cutting her head off. She managed to talk him down from it. When I was a young teenager he threw a switchblade at me once, & it almost went through my foot (i moved quickly)! In the last couple of years before her death, he slowly started collecting the weapons again, & she didn’t manage to stop him.

My concern is that his wife passed away in Nov, & they were pretty isolated. They didn’t do anything without each other, & he had no outside friends. Her death has hit him extremely hard, & it seems to be sending him into a downward spiral - though honestly he was acting a bit off even before she died. Our parents are deceased, so I am all he has. He doesn’t trust anybody, including me, & thinks everybody is out to get him.

He kept yelling at me every time I talked to him after her death, & then didn’t speak to me for a month. When we did talk, he said he lost that entire month & remembers nothing. He is convinced that the government or somebody is listening in on his phone calls, & doesn’t want me to say anything that he thinks is sensitive on the phone. Most of the time the things he thinks are sensitive are extremely bizarre. My husband & I were the only 2 people to have keys to his house, & he recently changed the locks, & won’t give me a key. This worries me DEEPLY because he is all alone, & has health problems besides the schizophrenia & falls a lot (neuropathy, spinal degeneration, COPD, & both he & I suspect he has Alzheimer’s). He says he doesn’t trust anybody. He seems to think that everybody is out to get him, & wants to steal things from him. He is convinced that somebody let themselves into the house & stole paperwork that he had for his deceased wife, says they trashed his office, & stole a bag of jewelry that was hers that was hidden. I personally think he misplaced the things - something he does often.

Yesterday we saw each other for the 1st time since her funeral, & he insisted that we meet at the playground near his house, in the pouring down rain, with temps in the 40’s. I had my 2 kids with me, & it was to give them Christmas presents because he didn’t want to see us over the holidays. It was COLD, & I kept asking if we could please go back to his house. My oldest daughter left for college when it became dark, so my youngest daughter & I went to his house with him. He has salt sprinkled at the doorways, as you enter each room of his house, & he thinks it protects him & nobody evil will be able to cross it. Shortly after we got there, & we sat downstairs to talk, he went upstairs & came down with a huge sword - one side had a serrated blade & the other was just sharp. He unsheathed it & started swinging it around near my youngest daughter & I. I told him he was making me nervous & to please put that thing away. He has very bad balance due to the neuropathy, & staggers around like a drunk but he’s sober. All it would’ve taken is him staggering or falling & one or both of us would’ve been seriously injured or killed. He thought it was funny that he was scaring us.

He sat down, & held the sword in his lap, & started talking crazy. He is obsessed with the show Supernatural, & believes the things in this show. I do believe in some supernatural things too, but he treats this show like it’s a bible or something. He was telling me all kinds of weird things, but the weirdest was “Call me crazy if you want to, but I believe that I’m a hunter too. I think I’m a ghost hunter.” The conversation took all kinds of twists & turns, & at one point I mentioned a friend of mine who is a white witch, & I was trying to tell him what her thoughts are on certain things he mentioned, & he suddenly got very tense, & looked crazed, & said “You know, I kill witches too!” His knuckles were white on the sword, he kept sliding it out, & putting it back in. The feeling I had was that in his mind he somehow thought that I was a witch! I could see that he was struggling with himself internally, trying not to do anything to hurt me. He didn’t, but I’m not going to lie - he scared me.

My daughter fell asleep next to me on the sofa, & I sat there trying to think of how I can help him. I gently asked if he was still taking his meds. He said that he is. I tried to get him to tell me who is psychiatrist is without telling him why. I said a friend needed a good psychiatrist & asked if he could recommend anyone. He wouldn’t give me the name. A couple of hours later I got him on the subject of my youngest, & was talking about her autism & her neurologist because in the past he’s said that I should bring her to his neurologist. I figured if I played that card, & at least found out who his neurologist was, that maybe I could try to reach out to them & give them a heads up that he’s acting oddly. He did give me the neurologist’s name! Do you think that if i reached out to the neurologist, he might be able to get in touch with his psychiatrist, & they can get his meds tweaked?

I love my brother, & I don’t like feeling like I have to protect myself & my children from him, or feel scared of him.

Any & all advice is welcome!


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My son is dx, but is only 14…so I can’t speak on behalf of contacting the Dr. Others will know…and will pop up in a bit.

What I did want to say is that your note is very clear. It’s lovely actually, in that it is organized and with genuine emotion communicates what the concerns are. You reference FACTS, which is reassuring.

Once you know from others if you can reach out to the Dr, or not, or what suggestions they have…I would use this note to communicate with whatever agency/individual you reach out to.

I can’t imagine that it would not be listened to. There are enough indicators to suggest imminent harm.

Thank you for being by his side in this.
…please keep us posted.


Yes, you can talk to your brother’s doctor and the doctor can listen. You can even write a letter and ask the doctor to forward it to the psychiatrist and others.

Do not hang out with your brother in his house or near any weapons. (Sadly, this advice is from experience.)


Absolutely - you can convey your concerns to the doctor. Just because the doctor may not be able to share information with you doesn’t mean that they won’t listen to family members. Here is some good readings on how to convey the information to the doctors for maximum impact:


Write down all the info and make sure it gets to the people it needs to, so your brother gets the help he needs before anything bad happens.


Yes yes yes…call the Neurologist and ask him/her or the Nurse to just listen to your concerns. The fact that he has a cache of weapons is very concerning. I had a similar circumstance when my mother developed hallucinations associated with Alzheimers. I called and asked to speak to the Dr. They said no so I asked for the nurse and she listened. They called my mom the next day and asked her to come in. It certainly cant hurt to try and it might just help. Good luck.


The most important thing for you right now is to be safe! Do not go in your brothers home, always meet him in a public or park like setting with other people around.
If I were you I would do everything you could possibly do to get your brother intervention or possible commitment to psychiatric care, when someone is acting dangerous and threatening, it is only a matter if time before something bad happens.
Can you contact adult protective services? In California we have a department of our social services for adult intervention.
You should also call your local law enforcement and make them aware of your brothers situation. There are specially trained officers who handle house calls.
I would especially emphasize your brothers violent tendencies, if you let the law enforcement and emergency services know this they are more likely to intervene, especially if he is threatening you or others. It’s very difficult to get intervention, it usually takes an incident for the law to get involved.
Be careful, be cautious and be safe


Hi again. I wrote this & then didn’t return because of damage to my house from a mainline break. Life has been chaotic lately, & we’ve been put up by insurance in an extended stay, followed by a townhouse because of the condition of my house & the time it’s taking to repair it.

In the middle of all of this, his behavior escalated. He called me, & started yelling at me, accusing my husband or I of stealing his wife’s jewelry from him, & he accused me of being a witch ( am NOT a witch!!!) & repeated what he’d said before about killing witches, & said a lot of other things too. He was yelling so fast & not letting me get a word in at all. He kept saying he was going to teach me a lesson, & every time I tried to tell him that he was wrong & that he needed help, he just yelled over me. I was in tears while this was going on, but he clearly threatened me, so I stepped away. I have not spoken to him in 3 months.

Even though he hurt me & angered me, & I’m not going to tolerate being treated that way, he is still my brother & I still love him. I still wanted to get him help, so I searched online & found an email address for my brother’s neurologist & sent a detailed email expressing my concerns. He answered a few days later & said that he didn’t know who his psychiatrist was, & would be out of town on business for a month, so wasn’t able to help. He suggested talking to Philip & urging him to talk to the psychiatrist honestly about his hallucinations, but that just won’t work with him. He believes that what he thinks is real. It would only anger him further, & put me in harm’s way. His other suggestion was to call the Coroner’s office & ask for the mental health dept. He said that they could put him under observation for 72 hrs. I prayed on it HARD, because my brother’s worse fear is being in a mental hospital, & after a couple of days I called. I answered their questions, & told them my concerns, & then they asked when my last contact with him was… it had been 5 days to a week at that point, & they said they couldn’t help me. It had to be recent. I can’t remember if she said within 48 hrs or 72 hrs, & she said that I should go to his house again & then if he acted threatening to call back. I told her I was scared to do that & asked if she understood that it could be putting myself & my 7 year old at risk of being assaulted or killed. She apologized & said there was nothing she could do out of the time frame. The only other option was to call another number & ask for a wellness check to be done, & they would go out & visit him, & if they felt he was mentally unstable they’d take it from there. I knew he wouldn’t answer the door for a stranger, so I didn’t do that.

Yesterday I talked to him for the 1st time in 3 months. He reached out to me & apologized, & said he loves me. He found the missing jewelry & admitted to being wrong about accusing me of that. However, I’m still worried about him because he says every night that he prays to die, so that he can be with his wife again. He says that at every Dr appointment he has they ask if he has suicidal thoughts. He denies it. I told him he needed to be honest, so that they could help him. He said they’d just try to put him in a hospital or medicate him to the point he’d be non functional. He wants to see us today to talk about something important, & I think we are meeting at the playground. I’m a nervous wreck about this.

I guess if nothing else, if he acts strangely or threatening in any way today, I can call the Coroner’s office & we’ll be within the time frame to get him help.

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Good luck heartnbutterfly. Please be safe. Stay in public view at all times. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

Good luck with your brother today. I wonder if he would benefit from sarcosine. I was putting it in smoothies for my son - which I ended up drinking and I no longer have negative thoughts. I’d say I had mild - med. depression. I take it daily now.

Can you please tell me more about it? Where could I find it? He says that in the past when he’s tried antidepressants he reacts badly to them & can’t take them. he hasn’t said exactly how it affected him, but when my sister in law was alive she agreed that he shouldn’t take them. Is it an antidepressant or all natural?

Thank you!

They says it’s for sz or severe depression. I learned about it on this site. They say to start gradually.

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