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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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What can you do to help a family member with schizophrenia

Customer Question

What can you do to help a family member with schizophrenia that is unable to see that he needs help because he's suffering from anosognosia?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

*This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice in a Q&A format. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area. Please note that anything said here is not private or confidential, as this is a public forum.

Hello and thank you for using Justanswer. Can you tell me if this family member is a danger to himself or others at this time? Can this person reasonably take care of his daily living needs (e.g. shelter, food, clothing, etc...)?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He is not currently a danger. He can barely take care of himself. He was homeless but now lives in a half-way house type of thing.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He is watched constantly. He does bizarre things like defecate where he shouldn't and urinates on himself.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately if he lives in a half-way house there is nothing you can do to help this family member right now in terms of forcing involuntary treatment. Even though he clearly has Schizophrenia, he still has rights in that he can choose to undergo treatment or not, even if he suffers from a significant mental health disorder. Just like if you had a heart condition that was life and death and needed to see a cardiologist, it is still your choice, just like this family member has a choice. Now because you can probably demonstrate that he has a significant mental illness and it interferes with his daily living, and that with treatment he can regain some or most of his cognitive processes than you can file for conservatorship, where you (or a conservator by the state) will make all medical decisions for this individual. Here treatment can be mandatory on an outpatient or inpatient basis, depending on the severity of the symptoms and situation, but this process usually takes upwards of 6-12 months to complete given that you have to convince a judge of his mental health issues and how they interfere with his well being. This would be the only realistic way to get him the help he needs since it is unlikely he will seek treatment voluntarily.