Please help my brother and my family

Hi All, I have been reading into these posts and it’s all been very helpful and also comforting to know my family and I aren’t in the alone. My brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia 8 years ago. He’s been hospitalized twice in those 8 years and has obviously hated the time he’s been in them. He is now 29. He was doing well with his medication and in the end of 2021 randomly decided he didn’t want to take it anymore. It was easy to get him back on after a few weeks. But then again around the same time in 2022, he decided to stop taking his medication again in the end of 2022. It has been the biggest struggle for the family since then. He lives alone. He smokes marijuana ALL the time (apparently you can buy delta 8 or 10 in a convenience store in TX — wtf?). My family and I are thinking of putting my brother in an involuntary mental hospital. He DOES take his medicine (was 10mg Aripipazole but now recently went to a psychiatrist and he changed to 10mg Olanzapine). But like I mentioned, he resorts to marijuana A LOT which I think is making his medicine counter productive. He doesn’t want to talk to a psychiatrist (went to one last week and did not share much, and when he did he had a smart alec attitude). I know in order to put him in a hospital he has to have harmed himself or others but that’s not the case with my brother. He has lost touch with reality, doesn’t pay bills (his power was shut off a few days ago, mortgage letter came back for non sufficient funds), is going deeper into debt each day (wanting to buy expensive cars, glasses, etc), can’t stand still, looks around the room and can’t keep his hands still. He was arrested for a DWI and evading arrest last week (is out on bail right now) but doesn’t see the severity of it. Doesn’t care about the lawyer process.

Does anyone have any insight to what we could do? Does a DWI fall under the “threat to himself or other” so we can put him in a hospital? Has anyone had a psychiatrist go to their house? What about outpatient rehabilitation with mental health?

Please, anything would help. Thank you.

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Hi helplesshopeful,

Welcome to the forum. Did your brother say why he stopped taking his meds at the end of 2021 and 2022? The reason I ask is because what our family members say can be important clues to help us motivate them.

Too often we can make the mistake of dismissing their statements. While it seems reasonable to dismiss what can often be irrational, we do need the information in those statements to help us figure out a plan for moving forward.

The best thing to do to figure out how to help your brother is to become educated about the neurodiversity that is schizophrenia. Start by reading Dr E Fuller Torrey’s “Surviving Schizophrenia A Family Manual”. The more you read, the more you will be able to understand what parts apply to your brother.

Many of our family members do not realize they are experiencing something unusual. The auditory and visual hallucinations they are experiencing present as real to their brains. If your brother is having auditory hallucinations, you should know that those sounds are as real to their brain and perception as you speaking to them.

I wish it was as easy as putting them in a facility and having them emerge back on meds and ready to resume their old lives.

Psychiatrists prescribe the meds, a therapist experienced with schizophrenia is needed to help your brother find his way forward. Cognitive Behavior Therapy has a good track record of helping our family members.

Attend online or in person NAMI’s “Family to Family” class. Your local NAMI chapter is the best source to help you find out what is available in your area. If your local NAMI chapter has a support group for family members, that can be a good source of immediate help.

Good luck and keep reading the threads on this forum, hope

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You are definitely not alone, it just doesn’t receive a lot of public coverage. It can be for a perceived reason that he stopped taking the meds, but I know with my mother she is very guarded and will only say “I don’t need them, there’s nothing wrong with me. It’s you and everybody else that has the problem”. She was on Olanzapine for almost 15 years. She is now on monthly injectible Abilify Mainena [Aripiprazole]. I find her more delusional now and anxious, but it may not be the difference between the medication – it could be the 8 months she went unmedicated in 2022 and her advancing age [almost 82]. Certainly things are more complicated if there is substance abuse, so I can’t speak to that. However, they often go hand in hand, so the professionals are certainly aware and should be able to help. Sadly, the medications can have strong side effects …binging, restlessness, risky behaviour, and may even lead to long term chronic health problems such as heart disease and stroke. It’s a matter of trying for a more stable life, against the cost of the side effects. Wish there was a cure, rather than simply trying to tamp down the symptoms, but this is what we have at the moment. Try not to stress about things out of your family’s control, and focus on what you might be able to do. You can try and encourage your brother to sign a Power of Attorney for Health and one for Finances. Likely he will be suspicious and not agree (like my mother). Or you can work with a Psychiatrist to find out what the legal requirements are to have a family member declared your brother’s substitute decision maker (SDM). Then you can set up his finances so that money comes in, and bills are paid automatically (maybe to a credit card and the balance is paid off monthly). Give him cash every week as allowance and no access to credit. These are all just ideas. Alternatively, you can seek a court appointed public official to be in charge of his finances. These are all avenues you can explore. Begin with the Psychiatrist at the hospital where he was admitted, and social worker if there is one …then you need an out-patient Psychiatrist for followup as well. The best time to advocate for SDM and Community Treatment Order, is when your loved one is hospitalized (not after they are released). Home visits can be arranged, but may not be that helpful. Repeated hospitalizations or a longer (30 day stay) in hospital is often needed to prove the case. I sympathize. My mother loses touch with reality and she is stubborn, it is not easy to help her. I do my best. Don’t let this drag your family down. Do ask these questions of the Psychiatrist and Social Worker, and educate yourself on the legal parameters. Best wishes to you and your family.

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Wondering if he has DWI he could be a candidate for mental health court. You should check if your state /county has it. In mental health court he could be order to trestment in the community and report to a judge. But he has to agree. Wishing you the best.

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I live in Texas. Our county has Crisis Intervention and another agency called Texana. Call them and explain what is going on. He just has to be an immediate danger to himself or others, not to have harmed anyone. If they see he is in psychosis they will put him on a psychiatric hold and take him to a psychiatric hospital. We have used crisis intervention many times. One of our sons was recently committed for a month with a forced meds order and came out last week. Unfortunately they got the meds wrong and we are struggling still. …

Thank you all for your words and advice. It truly means a lot to me! He stopped taking his medicine because he believes the medicine holds him back and makes him “dumber” — along those lines. You’re right, we need to be more conscious of what he’s saying. It’s difficult, but we will try to learn to view the world from his eyes while trying to help him. Thank you.

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