Reward System & Help (Advice for Struggling Self-Medicating Bro)

My brother has been struggling for the past decade (diagnosed Schizo-Affective). After multiple Baker Acts, mandatory holds, in and out of jail, etc…he’s in the same position he was in when this started. Currently, he’s homeless. He hasn’t kept housing long. Gets kicked out from being antagonistic, violent or destructive to property. His last longterm housing was a hotel and then he decided to move states to where he’s now homeless.

He asks me for money, food alot. I don’t mind to feed him, but there’s so much resources for people like him where he is at. I’m told the normal reward system doesn’t work in schizophrenia. I want him to seek resources on his own so he can start to learn self-responsibility. He just literally wants the family to pay for his housing and food so he can do nothing all day and spend his govt check on meth. We don’t want to do this because this is what has landed him in jail in the past, hurt himself and others. The meth makes his delusions way worse.

I feel cruel witholding from him, but also know I can’t control what he does at the end of the day. I follow my intuition. give him the provisions i can afford. He has no interest in seeing a therapist, being medicated, working, etc…Some say he may want to but he’s not capable. It’s hard for me to understand this.

Interested to hear what others recommend.

I am very sorry that you and your family are going through this. I think what you are doing is the best thing. You can’t control what he chooses and can only hope that his behavior will have natural consequences that leads to getting help.

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Oh @anon65989135 I do understand your desire to help your brother even after a decade has passed with him not making steady improvement. You must remember that severe mental illness with psychosis is a lifelong affliction and the biggest struggle a family usually faces trying to help their loved one is that the loved one doesn’t want the help. Anosognosia is a horrible thing too, the lack of insight is what prevents an ill person from realizing they ARE ill.

You are NOT cruel to withhold money from him, especially if he uses the money he does receive poorly (for meth). Honestly, you could give him all the money you make in a year, end up poor and homeless yourself, and still he would probably want more from you, all without his learning self-responsibility. This disease is cruel. It strips away the person we used to know, unless somehow by some miracle, the ill loved one changes to allow themselves to be helped.

It may be, that unmedicated, your brother just cannot think well enough for himself to ever be responsible and regain for himself a life outside of homelessness and his desire for meth. It is a heartbreaking situation you are in.

I did provide a place for my daughter to live (in my home) during her psychotic years, as it was all I could afford. I did not give her money. One friend I know purchased a home for his schizophrenic brother, along with the other siblings. Eventually the ill brother just walked away from the paid-for home and disappeared into homelessness. You really can’t predict how the chips will fall in your loved one’s life.

Do what you can to help him without hurting yourself financially or emotionally, and try to heal your own heartbreak if he never reaches for professional help.

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