Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Son hospitalized (involuntarty) and refuses meds


Son was picked up by police and ended up in psych hospital Refuses meds. paranoid, delusional etc.
How long can they keep him? What can they do for him? What should I be doing as a parent?
At a total loss here!!!


Hang in there - you are going to get lots of advice here. It depends where you are located and the circumstances. I am in CO and here they put my son in a short term Behavioral Health Unit. He clearly needed meds (paranoid out of his mind) and if he refused they could legally give him a certain dosage in a 24 hour period (which they did for several days). They gave it to him via a shot. I think after a week they took him to court and got him court ordered meds. I pushed for the Invega shot and that is what he got. You should be able to visit him. Do you know where he is? He may or may not want to see you (my son did not) I still went every day - once or twice. I would bring things and talk to the nurses, docs, other patients and security guard to get any information. If he (your son) won’t sign a release of information (an ROI) - see if the doctor can get him to sign one for just a few days. The doctor did that for me and it still holds for today (9 months later). btw - my son is on monthly shots and working and clear (still not too motivated but sooo much better). Stay with us - you will get a lot of support and advice from this group. Sorry for the reason you are here. The first nurse I spoke to told me - don’t give up on him. She also told me a few things that freaked me out - so use caution there.


Thanks for your reply.
I do know where he is, have visited and have access to information.
He has been there for a week now.
We are in NC, so I guess I need to try and find out the laws here. The shot sounds like a good plan, not sure how court ordered works… he could care less if a court told him to take meds. What happens if he doesn’t follow court order?
new to all of this


Um - lets see. I think would ask his doctor if they can get the court ordered meds. The doctor here took my son to court to get the court ordered meds. Basically, the doctor took the stand and said it was necessary. If he didn’t go and get his shot, they would call him and after a few days if he didn’t go, they would go do a wellness check on him. He went every time as his doctor, myself and his counselor told him he may as well go get it as they would come and get him anyway and make him get it.

I pushed for the Invega shot because another young man of a mom on this forum was on it and she believed his psychosis was from spice (synthetic pot) and I had suspicions that was what may have triggered my sons psychosis.

Don’t worry about being new - you’ll get to know a lot of all this. Take a breath be thankful he is where he can get help and you have access to the information. Are they giving him meds now or is he still delusional? The doctor/nurses should know if they can give him meds over a 24 hour period. They told my son take the pill or we’re giving you a shot. They did that daily until the court order took effect.


Read the book “I Am Not Sick; I Don’t Need Help” and learn everything you can about the illness from other sources. Go to NAMI Family Support Groups ( Their no cost Family-to-Family classes we found extremely helpful. Treatment Advocacy Center lists all the state laws on involuntary treatment. Learn, learn, learn, and don’t give up hope. Also, realize that you may need to establish boundaries in order to help your loved one. These are things you will likely learn at a support group.


What a good idea! I can see this being helpful to a lot of parents whose ill person isn’t too paranoid. My son is so far compliant with this, but I’m keeping it in my bag of tricks.


It was the doctors idea. He said - I got him to sign the ROI but just for one week. It’s been very helpful! : ) 9 months later. The doctor who released him from the transition house said - it’s probably best to have your mom go with you to your doc appointments as she can remember some stuff and you can remember others. So now I go with him to his doctor appointments.


I believe you should go to the hospital and request verbally (or in writing) that your son be administered anti-psychotics and why. In my state, you can request to be the health care proxy while the loved one is involuntarily held. Since your son went there by police the doctors would probably LIKE a family member to come forward. The proxy can OK medicine to be forced. The doctors can extend the original involuntary hold to include a court hearing (usually held at the hospital) to assign a proxy, but it is best if you offer and state you want medicines forced. The first time I was asked to be a proxy, I refused (thinking I should never force meds on my daughter), now I will never turn it down again, as it was the ONLY way my daughter will take medicines (when forced during hospitalization) Medicine is a trial and error process: some work well, some don’t, but no one knows until they are administered. Her 5th hospitalization, hours after I found out, I faxed the doctor that I wanted her to be on a 30 day shot. I got a call within 2 hours to be her proxy.

Attached is what I found for NC law. The first link appears to be a summary of info in the 2nd link on NC:

After release, the battle begins to keep him on meds. Ugh. This is such a hard, hard problem.


It’s much easier to get Temporary Legal Guardianship of your mentally ill adult child when they are in the hospital. I started with that then applied for Permanent Guardianship when he was released. I told my son he wasn’t allowed to live with me if he didn’t agree with it and I was doing it to protect him. He now calls me his “Guardian Angel”. Getting guardianship is very important so that each time they go in the hospital (And you have to be realistic. Very few go in just once.) you won’t have to wait for his permission for the doctors to talk to you and you have full say as to where he lives, input into what medications you would like to try, etc. I moved after getting permanent guardianship in one state and it was easily transferred to our new state. Best to you and your family. Donna1


Donna, you mentioned that it’s easier to get guardianship if they’re currently acute and in-hospital. I imagine that’s absolutely the case, but I wonder if it’s too late for us now that our son is out of the hospital and is relatively stable. His last hospitalization was 6 months ago and he’s been on meds for 14 months, so I just don’t know if a judge would even consider awarding guardianship to us at this point. I wonder if we have to wait for him to be in a really bad way again, or would his diagnosis and history of 5 hospitalizations be enough.

Guardianship is the last thing on our to-do list.


I paid a lawyer a couple thousand here in Utah and after 8 months I got limited guardianship. Then my son, who’s been off meds for 10 months and was living with me, became an imminent danger to me (finally, after many calls to police and crisis line and mobile crisis unit) finally, the police and mobile crisis unit determined him a danger, took him to psychiatric hospital… it’s been a week… I have not visited him… I have told them I can’t have him living with me but I don’t want him to be homeless. I feel a big relief he is finally getting help… no thanks to these terrible laws which don’t help someone when they are confused… but say they must wait until the person deteriorates and is a danger.


So sorry to hear about your son. I hope he gets the help he needs. Doctors hold all the keys to your sons recovery, keep after them to help you find a living solution and mandatory meds. There are programs for help once you are in the system. Keep us informed, AnnieNorCal


I understand your position well. I wanted my daughter to be placed somewhere 2 years ago, and the hospital got her a bed in an 18 month program beating out 42 other women who were waiting for a bed because she was in the hospital for 30 days in crisis. HOWEVER, my daughter refused to go there as she would have to stay medicated. There was no where else for her to go, so she came back home and I let her. We built a separate entrance into our home, and gave her her own “studio”. There is no program I have found for her to live outside our home in our area, and I have faced the fact that I must pay for her living space or she will be homeless.

Good news is that 8 weeks ago she became med compliant to 30 day haldol shots, recovered greatly, and is a joy to have at home now compared to life before this. I worry that she will one day refuse to be medicated and I won’t be able to force her. Then the hallway door will be locked again and she will have to live in her studio. (I will have to find better soundproofing solutions though.)


I was told by an attorney we used that it is not easy to get Guardianship. Courts do not take removing a person’s rights lightly. I DID get an Emergency Guardianship when our son was in hospital and had been missing and homeless for 3 months not long before that. Then got the “permanent” Guardianship, although any Guardianship can be cancelled in the future if there is no longer a need. A limited Guardianship is another option. You should be able to have a preliminary consultation with an attorney about this on the phone. But don’t just hire any attorney. The first attorney I hired out of desperation (the attorney’s name was even given to me by NAMI) was a disaster and I recognized that as soon as we met with him for 3 hours but had already handed over a check for his retainer. Better to do some research, get recommendations from people you know or meet at NAMI, etc. We ended up with a very good attorney.


Great news on the voluntary Haldol! Each person is SO different and this illness can be SO unpredictable!