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Help! Serious mental illness in family member, anyone have experience with this?

My brother, two years my senior, has had episodes in the past, usually triggered by alcohol or drugs. A freak-out and hospitilation at 16, that blew over and he went back to normal. A weird phase at twenty. Psychotic break at like 27, acting just like my great-aunt did when I was a kid, she was schizophrenic; anyway she had he's been a little off since. Conspiracies, hallucinations, aliens, he usually didnt bring it up and if he did he didnt do it in mixed company. He started drinking hard a couple years ago and the alcohol really brougt it out. Schizophrenia is my guess, it runs in the family. He spent the summer with me and he was perfecctly normal. I have kids, so its mellow, I just straight out banned alcohol since he'd had such bad episodes drunk. He did great, he was happy, normal. After summer he went back to my moms, she missed him, is real needy. I didnt see him for a few weeks.

 When he came back to visit, he was off, weird. Told my cousin that someone put a chip in her head and he had to cut it out of her. Freaked her out, understandably. I think he'd been using, detoxing is hell on schizophrenia. So my mom called me in the middle of the night a week ago. My bro was out there, he jumped off the roof through and awning; earlier that day my Grandma had to collect him from McDonalds where he was talking to hallucinations and freaking people out. He was out of control, mom was scared of what he would do. So I told her that since he refused to get heelp - no health insurance, no problem, excuses, excused- this was a good time to call and get him placed on a psychiatric hold for 3 days to get help and medication. She hemmed and hawed and finally took him to the ER. (Not how you get a 2hr hold!) He was released, I dont know how since he was totally delusional, irrational, talking to hallucinations, unable to follow simple conversations, spasticly examining and moving things, using his 'magic powers;' so a few hous later he was somehow - only he really knows how - detained by authorities and taken to a mental crisis ward. Releeased the next day, still no meds. At first I didnt want to deal with it, but they were talking so mean and treating him bad over there, wheen they calle d me for help asking me to come I wasnt going to until I heard how they were having all these peoplee staying there and they fought with him constantly, hes a pretty quiet, passivee guy.

 SO my DF and I went to see him and we had to pick the lock on hos door to the attic, andd he asked to come with us. He seems happy to be here, but he's so....disturbed. He's kinda avoiding me, keeps moving to a different room if I try to have a conversations, then having conversations with imaginary pople in the next room- or my cat. Its so weird to watch this. He really liks and respects my fiancee Bryan, hee even asked to talk to him; they are upstairs putting up a bed for him. I dont know what to do. My grandma and uncle were at moms when we went to see him and they tried to talk me out of bringing him, but keeping him isolated in the attic and fighting with him isnt good for anyone. He is hard of heariung so between that and being drowned out by the voices only he can hear, I havent been able to keep his attention for more than 20 seconds at a time and then he runs off to examione my shoes or read my mail, ormove random things and have hushed conversations with the cat! He wont get on meds, doesnt really think theres a problem, he's just aware of things we are blind to, he's more 'evolved' or such nonsense.

 I was really hoping he'd snap back to normal like before, but this is truly delirius behavior. I know i practically wrote a book, thanks so much if you read my long rant. I dont know what to do, just needed to vent. Any opinions, advice, suggestions, anything, would be much appreciated!

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Asked by AngelicaDem at 11:25 PM on Oct. 21, 2012 in Relationships

Level 19 (7,749 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • Paragraphs, please

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:30 PM on Oct. 21, 2012

  • Thanks, Anon, how's that? : )

    Comment by AngelicaDem (original poster) at 11:36 PM on Oct. 21, 2012

  • This is not sudden mental illness this has been going on all along and he needs proffessional help now.

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:41 PM on Oct. 21, 2012

  • You're right, I guess I meant sudden as in he was perfectly fine a month or two ago and now he's lost all touch witth reality. But there's no way to force him to get help, he doresn't think he needs it, and I'm the only person left who is willing and capable of keeping an eye on him and keeping him calm - I dont want to alienate him. What approach do you think would work to make him get professional help?

    Comment by AngelicaDem (original poster) at 11:45 PM on Oct. 21, 2012

  • Bitch much anon? Jees...


     I feel for you and this situation. My sister is schizophrenic- so I understand how it is. Sadly, it is SO hard to get them help as adults, and even if they get on meds- they stop taking them or they don't work well half the time when they do. This definitely sounds like schizophrenia and it only gets worse, drinking and drugs definitely don't help at all. I'm not sure there is much you can do at this point- the system sucks. Unless he's hurt someone or committed a crime, they won't do much unless he goes on his own. 

    I wish you luck with all this, and I hope he can get the help he needs


    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 11:51 PM on Oct. 21, 2012

  • I would go to court and have him declared incompetent. I would ask for custody and I would get him in for an evaluation.
    I get the idea that he does not have a job, most likely because he can not hold one. To get him into a therapy program you would have to get him to want to and you can not even talk to him. That is the best advice that I have. He has been failed throughout his life (no blame) and he has breaks with reality that may never be healed but he can be helped. So either you go to court or you get him to talk to you and from the sound of it the second is not going to happen anytime soon.
    This can turn into a dangerous situation, depending on what exactly is going on and there is no way that anyone can really tell you over the computer.

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:55 PM on Oct. 21, 2012

  • Hi and I am sorry for this tough time for you, your family and your brother.
    Although i don't know about this mental condition, as an educator with
    a couple of students in a similar situation, i would like to thank you for
    taking such good care of him.

    Your homework will be to examine 1) how often he gets into this state, and 2) what triggers it.
    Is it a frequent behavior anyway, i.e. once a week?
    Is it periodical, i..e comes and goes over time, with unpredictable fluctuations?
    Does alcohol and drugs abuse cause him to go back to the challenging state of mind?

    Please answer these questions, as these hold the answer to your brother's future.
    ╬čne more thing: Please google "Paulo Coelho", as he is a well known Brazilian author
    with global recognition, who spent his teenage years in an asylum for mental illness,
    and he thrived as an adult.

    Good luck

    Answer by MamaaSutra at 12:16 AM on Oct. 22, 2012

  • Have you considered a residential treatment program? It may be more expensive, but in the end, it would keep him monitored and safe. He needs to get on medication. There are free clinics that he can go to for a psychiatric evaluation for medication. Once he is able to find the right medication that works for him, he can have a functioning life. Tell him you're concerned and try to convince him to go to regular therapy. Maybe even work it out with the psychiatrist in advance and pretend it's "family counseling" and go with him at first, though the therapy would really focus on him. He should also be able to get social security disability money for his mental illness treatment. See Allsup


    Answer by hellokittykat at 12:31 AM on Oct. 22, 2012

  • You and your family are in my prayers

    Answer by adnilm at 9:29 AM on Oct. 22, 2012

  • Medication is the only thing that will help. I would suggest that you go on  and answer the questions with your brother in mind.  If he qualifies for SSI and Medicaid he may be able to get into a residential treatment facility.  A treatment facility that offers, medication, therapy and support may be the best answer.  Call 211 and see if there is a support group for families dealing with your situation.  Good luck to you. 



    Answer by booklover545 at 11:27 AM on Oct. 22, 2012

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