Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

I don't even know where to begin with my Brother

I am so scared for my brother. He was diagnosed with SZ 8 years ago. I remember seeing his symptoms and his sudden change in life when he was first diagnosed. He has been through so many obstacles since then. It started when he went to jail and they figured out he has a nuerobiological brain disorder/ SZ. He was then sent to a different state for intensive in-patient help. Then he was moved to a nursing home for 4 years. It was very structured and he seemed okay. He then got involved with a program to get him on his feet, on his own. He has his own apartment and was doing great for 2 years. Just recently he’s had relapses over the last 9 weeks and has been in and out of the hospital 5 times. He has been threatening his own life. This last time he was admitted he actually cut himself. He has been in psychosis. I try to comprehend what he is going through…not feeling in control of his thoughts and I can’t even imagine how hard it is. We are a very close family and have been trying to help him all we can. They deem him sane and we do not have guardianship or power of attorney. Therefor it is VERY difficult to help him. My sister was finally able to get him to sign a release of information so we can talk to the Dr. I am so ANGRY at how difficult it is to help someone that clearly cannot make good decisions for themselves because of “laws”. He is an adult. This is my baby brother, the baby of the family and we would never put him in harms way and will do anything we can to help him get through this. At this point we are thinking of hiring an attorney to gain guardianship or power of attorney and help make the right decisions. Has anyone else had to do this?


I’m very sorry that this is happening to your family. I haven’t done that, but I think you are taking a step in the right direction by doing so. For now just have him hospitalized and make sure he takes his medications or change them if they are not functioning the way they should.

I just went through the guardianship process. I am in MT. I was able to gain temporary based on emergent circumstances and have a court date in March to establish full permanently. In my case, it is possible that my son will contest this. I found the process quite easy based on my son’s severe disability that I was able to document, but it is expensive. Although it has allowed me access to work with his providers, it does limit some things, like my son’s refusal of medication. I cannot make him take meds.

I am so sorry for your struggle and for his. I am glad he has you there to assist him and advocate on his behalf.


So sayeth we all.

Best to you and your family.

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We have guardianship but my son still refuses to take medication. We try to slip in enough to keep him somewhat stable but it is a no win situation. He will never gain insight that way. It’s just a bandaid to get us through Christmas, then the winter and so it goes.

I’ve paid good money to hear doctors say " you are between a rock and a hard place." It is pathetic and we have every right to be angry.

If you don’t mind saying, how much has it cost you?
I’d like to know for future reference just in case.

Maybe I need to start putting together an emergency fund.

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$75 court fee The state took him to court or waived it because he wasn’t here. Last year he convinced his old Pdoc to not fill scripts and even though he talked to us, he eventually stopped seeing the doctor. This doctor suggested guardianship and he was the 2nd doctor to do so. He was so debilitated we had to help him eat and bathe at that time at times. As in take him to the bathroom, turn on the shower, help him get in. Give him clothes to wear.

We basically followed the advice of the doctors in the hospital. He was held ten days then moved to state hospital. This is when we went to court. It took awhile for the court date but our son was hospitalized during the entire time and given every opportunity to want to get better. We are in Kentucky and I guess it is different in each state but the district attorney told me we could not make him take his meds.

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We are only at the beginning, but we paid the attorney a $3500 retainer. I was told it may not cost much more than that, and it may cost less. Uncontested, it certainly can cost less. So, the retainer is for the attorney’s fees, as well as paying for a “visitor”, which is the social worker we will have to have visit him to represent the situation as an unbiased third party (she comes from a city two hours away…mileage, time, etc.). My son will be assigned an attorney, as the court date will occur on March 9th for it to move from temporary to permanent. We have opted not to hire an attorney for him and have the court appoint one. In our case, it is possible (and very likely) that my son will contest the guardianship.

The temporary full guardianship & conservator was somewhat easy to secure with me writing a complete statement of what has taken place, providing exhibits from the history I was able to get my hands on and was in possession of (he has prevented us with getting all things due to HIPPA), and the attorney filing it. His father is an ER doc, so he wrote a long narrative of his experience as well as a doc and as a father. The judge made a decision the next day. Since that time,and since I can act on his behalf as the “temporary full” I have been collecting all of the paperwork from all of his visits, hospitalizations, etc.

I had one attorney that was willing to take $1000 and have me replenish it as needed, but I went with the attorney that is most experienced in these kind of proceedings and she was more formal about a retainer.

On a related note…the guardianship, the pdoc told me, is only the first step. All it really did is give me complete access to his treatment files and to get his life in order (disability application, student loans and outstanding financial issues straightend out). We are talking to the county attorney next week about commitment and mandatory medication, as he is non-compliant with all things and has never entertained treatment. He was initially diagnosed over a year ago, and hospitalized for the first time in July, so this is new for us and him. Anyone who wants to know more about what unfolds with that, let me know and I will share the details…this is all such a series of unfamiliar conversations and steps.

When I get frustrated with how it feels, and complain about how challenging it is to “feel” my way around the decision making…I think of a reply Hereandhere wrote about how it must feel to be our loved ones, and how lost, confused, frustrated, and helpless my son must feel at times.

I hope that helps…and wishing all of you the best with your loved ones.


Obtaining legal guardianship would be a very positive step towards guiding your brother to a more lasting recovery. I could have never seen my adult son be as well as he is today had I not done that very thing 11 years ago. I am very sorry that you and your brother have to go through this, he is lucky to have you. I wish you both the best.


Guardianship is expensive in our state, but access to medical records and ability to talk to doctors helps.

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