Advice on Brother's Illness - How to go about Getting Treatment

The following is a discussion that took place on the web discussion area here at this web site earlier this year on the topic of getting help for a delusional brother.

Topic: Advice on brothers illness

Date: Tuesday, February 18, 1997 08:03 PM My brother has recently (Dec/96) been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He is 38 and is also an alcoholic. He receives a disability pension that is completely spent within a week of receiving it. He has moved from city to city "to get away from the bike gangs that are going to kill him when they find him". He has spent a considerable portion of his adult life in trouble with the law. When he is out of money he calls for support from his family.

Prior to his being diagnosed, we all insisted that until he took responsibility
for seeking rehab for his drinking problems we would no longer provide the financial
support he had been getting. We wouldn't hear from him for months at a time. He is
currently living with my sister, who is becoming more resentful as time passes since he
doesn't appear to want to seek the appropriate treatment. My family feel that he will
never seek help unless he is without support from us. I'm sure there are others that
have gone through much of this scenario. There are homes in Ontario that range from
full supervision to minimal supervision operating under the Schrizophrenia Society of
Canada, he will have nothing to do with them. Can anyone offer some advise on the
course of action we might take with him? We are convinced that when his cheque
comes in at month end, he will be gone again. My sisters and I all have families of our
own, yet my brother has taken priority over everyone. I would appreciate hearing from
anyone on this. Thank you. M


From: Bojangles
Date: Wednesday, February 19, 1997

Dear Mikki, My 27 year old son has been schizophrenic for nine years now and it has
only been in the last year that we have been able to really help him. What we finally
realized was that we were in fact, enabling him for many years. We had to cut off all
support, financial and emotional in order to get him into treatment. It was the most
difficult thing I have ever had to do but it was the only thing that worked. We tried
everything else and he would always end up in trouble again. He has been on
Risperidol now for almost a year, has been going to AA for almost a year and staying
sober, lives in a group home and attends a day therapy program. We have a
relationship with him for the first time in years...he comes home to visit and we do
things together as a family. He is by no means "well" and there are a lot of problems
still, but he is tons better than he was a year ago. It was only when he realized that he
had no other choice that he went into treatment. good luck.

From: m
Date: Thursday, February 27, 1997

Thanks so much Barbara for your feedback. Having our beliefs validated by someone
who did the same, i.e. withdraw financial and emotional support, has been extremely
helpful for my family to hear. As an update, my brother is moving to Ottawa this
weekend with my sisters assistance. He will be close to a schizophrenic rehab. centre
and tells us he will seek the necessary treatment. He is insistant on carrying through
with this himself. We have advised him to also join an AA chapter in Ottawa. We will
just have to wait and see what happens next week. Thanks again.



From: mik
Date: Sunday, March 02, 1997 07:51 PM

Well Feb. 28 my sister helped my brother settle into an apt. in Ottawa. My sister didn't
feel she could tell the landlady about my brothers condition, however did leave her
phone number with her. What a nightmare has followed. We got a phone call Mar. 1,
he had gone on a drinking binge, become very abusive verbally which all progressed to
the police needing to be called. When they arrived he was passed out, therefore they
couldn't take him to the psychiatric hospital because he was no longer a threat to
anyone or himself!!! Instead the police removed him from the residence and sent him to
Kingston because of an outstanding warrant for dui. My sisters and I have been making
frantic calls to the hospital that treated him in Thunder Bay, the Kingston psychiatric
hospital, etc., etc. We have been advised to show up at his bail hearing and try to
convince the crown attorney that he is a "threat to himself or others" so that they will
order a psychiatric assessment and possibly have him committed. I can't begin to
explain the turmoil we are in. I have to keep convincing myself that we are doing the
right thing for him, but my insides feel like they're tearing apart. I'm also having some
difficulty understanding how aloof my Mum has appeared (she's wintering in Florida),
while my sisters and I are here trying to deal with this situation. Thanks for listening, I'll
keep you posted with court proceedings.



From: Bojangles
Date: Monday, March 03, 1997 07:15 PM

Dear Mikki, Hang in there, this is the hardest part but you can now get him the help he
needs. Stay strong and be firm, it is very hard but you have to do it if he is to get help.
Try to forgive your mom, it may just be too painful for her to deal with and the only
way she can cope is to withdraw. Not fair to you but it may just be the way it is. Life is
not fair. Thinking of you and praying for you all.



From: m
Date: Tuesday, March 04, 1997

Yesterday, Mar. 3 was the most frustrating day yet. My sisters and I have determined
that the courts are in a total state of chaos. We spoke to so many different people
getting advice, providing medical info, trying to convince the crown attorney why our
brother needed treatment, to be told a crime of dui is not serious enough to request a
psychiatric assessment. I have to admit however, that everyone at our provincial court
knows now who we are and what our concerns are with respect to my brothers
condition. Mar. 4 - hope dawned today, we hired a lawyer, are obtaining copies of
every single piece of medical history we can dig up, as well as criminal history and are
going to bombard the courts and their psychiatrist with it before Friday. Friday is
decision day!! We are all praying for a hopeful outcome for my brother. My heart
aches when I see him come into court with a look of hopelessness on his face. He told
the lawyer he will consent to going into a psychiatric facility. First major step, if we can
get the courts to order it. Again, thanks for the words of encouragement Barbara.





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