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I think my 45 year old brother has been suffering with some…

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I think my 45 year...
I think my 45 year old brother has been suffering with some kind of mental illness. I think he has been living with it since at least 1995. The most apparent symptoms (in my view) are: paranoia, inability to form friendships, conviction that other people know how the world works but are not letting him in on the knowledge, a lot of time spent in bed, a feeling of superiority over professionals (and probably everyone else) and he becomes very hostile when anyone suggests he could use mental health support. He has not been diagnosed with a mental health problem, but our family doctor feels he has a condition that means he won't get treatment until he displays behavior that puts himself or someone else at risk of harm and has to be committed to institutional care. I am finding this really hard to cope with. Particularly if he may present a risk to other people. Any advice you can give will be very gratefully received. Thank you.
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Mental Health
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Answered in 13 minutes by:
6/20/2010
Mental Health Professional: cathy, Mental Health Professional replied 8 years ago
cathy
cathy, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1,436
Experience: MS., MS.Ed., 30 years clinical and administrative experience in psychiatry and mental health
Verified

Hi and thanks for writing JA

Yes, I see. I think you are right and sadly so is your brother's physician. It does seem as if something is terribly amiss with your brother and he is very "defended" about your suggestions that he seek some help with this. Quite sad, because now a days we have so many treatments that work so well in treating just what you have described.

Regrettably, your family doctor is quite right. Our newer mental health laws are quite good and go a long way to protecting the rights of those with mental illness who had formerly been quite mistreated. In a case like your brother's, tho, it can be quite frustrating indeed. There is not much you can do until he does one of three things:

Poses an immediate threat to himself

Poses an immediate threat to others

Behaves in such a way that his behaviors pose an immediate threat to himself from others.

I know how very frustrating this is. Believe it or not I hear from many family members every week in exactly your situation and they feel so very helpless and hopeless. There are a few things that I am going to recommend that may be helpful to you.

1. Contact your local nami chapter so you can talk to other family members in similar and the same situations you have found yourself in and ask them for support and ideas on how to best help your brother. Many NAMI chapters now also have peer components to them and they are extremely helpful. Peer programs are run and staffed by others who have mental illness.

You can look up your local chapter on the national nami site. I have provided the link below for you.

www.nami.org

2. If you live in one of the states that has a ACT team (Assertive Community Treatment) you can call them and ask for some guidance on this. ACT team members come out to the home and make assessments there. They deal with some pretty hostile people but they are very skilled in what they do so they may very well be able to help you. To see if you live in a state with ACT, just google Assertive Community Treatment or contact your states Department of Mental Health.

3. You can stage a family intervention but these are tricky and I do not like them one bit, but they work for many people. You find a therapist in your area and go into see them yourself. Explain your situation and ask if they can help you with an intervention? You then tell your brother that you have a problem and need his help with the problem, Will he help you?

The intervention is either staged in the home or in the office (safer in the office I have found).

Let me know what you think and if I can be of more help to you.

Warm regards ***** ***** wishes,\

Cathy

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I accept everything you wrote. The added dimension here is that my brother lives in the UK, I live in Ireland and our parents live in the USA. Does this mean my parents and I just have to wait until one of us gets a phone call about harm he has caused himself, or another, from a police officer?
Mental Health Professional: cathy, Mental Health Professional replied 8 years ago

Nope. Let me see what else I can give you by the way of help on this.

Where in the UK does your brother live? Who cares for him? Does he handle his own finances etc? Can you make a day or two trip to England if need be?

Let me know and we shall just try a little harder to get you some help.

Cathy

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
He is living in London; staying with a friend from high school (I know I said he doesn't form friendships, but this was formed before he became ill).
He doesn't need day-to-day care, although his existence mostly revolves around bed, online job hunting, and reading.
He is remarkably good at managing money. Having lost a high paying job in 1995 (when I started to become aware of his mental health problem) he has essentially managed to survive on money earned up until then. Now he is on a welfare payment and this is not enough to survive in London, hence staying with his friend.
Thank you so much.
It is absolutely no problem for me to go to London for a few days.
Mental Health Professional: cathy, Mental Health Professional replied 8 years ago

Okay, I make no guarentees on this, but let make some calls and do some asking around and I will get back to you with whatever I can glean.

You know you do not mention any violence or other impuslive acts. It sounds as if he is just living a marginal existence without much prospect for change, so if that helps you sleep better tonight it is my observation based upon what you have posted thus far.

Give me a day or two on this.

Write back and please put "ForCathy" in the header so I know how to find you.

Thanks for your patience on this

Cathy

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
ForCathy
He has never been violent or impulsive, but he got thrown out of his last digs (rented room in a house) and told me that his landlady got so cross/upset that she threatened to call the police. I have no idea if this was because she felt threatened, or whether she has an extreme personality. It seems reckless of us to just wait and see whether he becomes a danger, especially when none of us are near enough to keep a close eye on him. We don't have any means of communicating directly with the friend he is staying with.
I'm not sure that 'ForCathy' at the top of this message is what you meant by putting it in the header. If it isn't, please let me know and I will adjust as necessary.
Thank you again, I will click reply, but would also like to pay you, so I'll see if I can 'Accept Answer' and pay after clicking reply.
Mental Health Professional: cathy, Mental Health Professional replied 8 years ago

Please do not pay me until I find out if I can help you further?

I would prefer not to be paid until I have exhausted all resources here.

and yes, just adjust the header to say For Cathy and I will be able to find you again quickly.

Will catch up with you tomorrow.

Cathy

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
ForCathy How do adjust the header?
Mental Health Professional: cathy, Mental Health Professional replied 8 years ago

Okay, do not worry on this. If you cannot adjust the header I will figure it out from my end.

Have a peaceful night and restful sleep. We will figure this out.

Cathy

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
For Cathy:
I don't know if you had difficulty tracing my query, or whether there was no further information you could find. Can you let me know. I'm happy to pay you for the advice received so far.
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