Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Involuntary Admit Not Working

My son was diagnosed about 8 years ago and previous short term admissions were voluntary. However he has been in crisis for over a week.
The doctor changed his meds about a month ago and he went into a deep depressions. His solution of course was to stop the meds and self medicate with beer.
A bit over a week ago he told me he just wanted to drink until he died. The behavior escalated and we called the police. He was taken restrained by ambulance to a local hospital and once his blood alcohol level dropped to legal limits interviewed. The social worker wanted to admit him but the ED doc said as long as he promised to see his doctor Monday he could go home.
Really!?!?! He was off his meds and paranoid, not stupid.
Of course he did not do as promised. Tuesday he drank a case of beer and trashed his home. Finally yesterday we got the paperwork in order to do the involuntary admit, but found out unless he let the police in they can do nothing. We offered to let them in and they said frankly, unless he consents, it is not a good idea because if he pulls any weapon out they will shoot him. He has no access to guns, but there are kitchen knifes and he is thinking death by police is a good idea.
I can deal with resistance and using restraints, but the chance of him being shot, is not a line I can cross.
Any ideas on how to get him to comply peaceably?

I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through. Is there anyone, friend of his, sibling, ??, that he’ll listen to a bit more? Sometimes us parents are the last ones they’ll listen to. How does he get his beer? Maybe his next outing to get beer they can come? I wish I had answers. Please let us know how you’re doing.

How about getting him a therapist and you taking him to the psychiatrist yourself? If I don’t go with my fiancé, he wouldn’t go because he doesn’t care or think he needs it. You might also want to speak to the doctors at the hospital before getting him admitted and explaining the situation, that way they’re aware of who/what they’re dealing with.

Thanks JulieAnn. This was just the perfect storm. He has decided his therapist is on his “Do Not Trust List” and psychiatrist is on vacation. The good news is he finally calmed down enough to let someone in with the police and he has been admitted…of course he is not speaking to me right now, but after the past week, I can use the breather

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We tried to get him to go voluntarily as he has in the past. He was sliding into depression and the psychiatrist added Zoloft which seemed to make matters worse. Then he stopped everything. Oh boy was that a roller coaster ride from Hell. He finally was calm enough to have the police enter the house yesterday and has been admitted. Not being very cooperative, but at least safe.

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Yeah, Zoloft never helped me much either, it only made me worse. I’m glad that at least he’s in an environment where he’s protected and there’s security to prevent him from hurting himself. I know how tough it can be to be there.

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Well, it’s good to hear he’s been admitted. He’s in the best place for sure. As far as not speaking to you, hopefully that will resolve when he’s got some workable medications in him. And sometimes the breathers are SO important! I remember when things were bad for several months, I only felt like I could relax when my son was hospitalized. Hope your son does well and you get some rest.

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An update:
This is the first time we have had to do an involuntary admit and the whole process a nightmare. I understand even with an illness people have rights. But I feel like the family, the people who really know what is going on are dismissed. Once admitted he refused meds. Refused to update his HIPAA forms. The doctors staff had failed to request an update when it was due but continued to work with family until the admission…then oops the release had lapsed. Then insurance denied additional inpatient deciding he was no longer a danger to himself or others. That rage and days of nothing but delusions …certainly under control now without meds. Of course they are in another state and reading report not talking face to face. He is still paranoid, still delusional, still non compliant. His discharge planning with his family…his support system …none because he has decided we made this whole illness up and shut us out. They discharged him with follow up care in JUNE --according to him and a script for meds that was filled. Filling the script is not a problem. He has plenty of scripts he has had filled…it is the consistency in taking that is the issue. If someone hadn’t shown up to pick him up, he would be given a bus pass. So we are pretty much exhausted and stunned at the systems capacity for regulations that do nothing but make matters worse.
Thanks for letting me vent.

I read your writing and I feel totally overwhelmed by what YOU experienced. I am so so sorry.

I do appreciate a good vent. Thanks for venting.

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I’m sorry you are going through this. Everything you describe is pretty much par for the course where we live.

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@thereisalwayshope, I am forever amazed at how this continues for those of us trying to get our loved ones the help they need.

I simply do not understand, particularly when I see the collective wisdom within this forum of experienced individuals, why there could not be a more significant advocacy or effort to change this?

My husband and I say over and over, we cannot believe that there is not more discussion about this in the world…the absence of awareness, even the absence of understanding by providers and people involved in the process of negotiating services. What was most revealing to me was the uphill fight, until he was hospitalized…only in the hospital did I run into people with a true understanding of how complex and debilitating this is for my son. With the complexity and severity of this, the barriers present in getting our loved ones the help they need borders on gross neglect of a system.

When I see the numbers of those involved in this forum…the locations all over the world…each, with a nearly carbon copy experience articulated over and over and over again…I cannot help but think our stories need to be condensed identifying where we are…and handed over to someone with some ability or authority to change this.

Hoping you have resolve with your son, and all that is going on with him of late.


and desire or need to change

I live in Virginia & have had very good luck with involuntaries - but a lot of things have changed since we had a state senator with a son with a severe mental illness

Unfortunately, even he had to go through not being able to get a bed, getting stabbed & then his son killing himself for things to change here - and they’re still not perfect, but much better.

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To think…it needs to get that bad, and only when it is personal for someone in the role of Senator, does it facilitate small and incremental change. I think of many of the things I have read from any one of us in this forum collectively just in the last three days, and how truly remarkable and loud that collective voice could be if it fell in the right hands.

I agree - I almost get jealous about how much attention that autism gets because so many famous people have children with that disorder. I’m not trying to minimize autism, but I’d like to see something for severe mental illness on the same scale.

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Anywhere you read about sz, it says: the sooner you get help, the better. Ok, but when family would try to help, they dismiss us completely.
The patients have a right to their freedom, but they end up having No freedom from their horrible condition.

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“I simply do not understand, particularly when I see the collective wisdom within this forum of experienced individuals, why there could not be a more significant advocacy or effort to change this?”

There seems to be a great contradiction between “get help as early as possible” and “we have to respect patients’ rights to refuse the help because they are unable to understand that they need the help and meds”.

In reality, their “rights” end up being nothing more than rights to suffer

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That is so true. He keeps saying we are controlling him and he wants freedom, but it is his illness that controls the whole family. And now that he has shut everyone out, and refuses meds and any type of treatment we just wait…