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My brother has suffered with bouts of severe bipolar mania…

My brother has suffered with...
My brother has suffered with bouts of severe bipolar mania for 20 years. Over the past many years, living in IL., we have explored every avenue to get him help during these episodes (police, doctors, counselors) and we always get the answer that as long as he is not a threat to himself or someone else he has the civil right to behave as he pleases. Well, after a couple of very good weeks he has had a severe setback over the past 5 days. He is talking to himself, he got 5 farm tractors torn up or stuck in the mud, he is taking the battery out of every vehicle and losing the keys, he started a brush fire that took 5 people to put out before we had to call the fire dept., he started to dismantle his garage, and he seems to have had a total break with reality. Like I said, this has happened many times and we have never been able to get anyone willing to help us. And calling the law for any reason is clearly not ideal because they are not trained for this. He is not aggressive at all, just confused, but it is still risky. People can't believe that we can just "get him picked up for treatment" when he is in this condition. Athough he is psychotic he can answer basic questions correctly so I don't know that he would fail an evaluation. Is there something that I am missing that we could do to help him, it has been a while since I checked the laws. I have just been so discouraged by the responses I have gotten for the health field in the past, everyones afraid of lawsuits. Just hoping maybe something has changed.....Any suggestions on how we might get him help?
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Answered in 8 hours by:
8/11/2017
John-Michaels
John-Michaels, Counselor (LPC)
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 953
Experience: 25+ years helping people find solutions...
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I fear my answer is going to be the same old same old, but it is the answer. For one, if you do not have legal guardianship of him, there is nothing you can do even if there was something to do. Then, even if you had the legal right, you can't help him unless he wants help.Let me bore you with an illustration. We had a dog that would not stay in our backyard. He would climb the fence, drag himself over the top, scratching up his stomach, jump into the thorns below him, one time breaking a leg, and always tearing himself up I. The thorns. He would do anything to get out of that back yard. We couldn't stand to se him so painful, so we shortened the fence, smoothed out the top, and removed the thorns. He kept right on exiting the back yard. I wonder why? Ridiculous, huh? I may be wrong, but I fear that is what you are doing for your brother. If we had left things alone, the dog would likely have figured it out....eventually. By removing all the obstacles though, we removed the motivation for him to change his ways.There is not a hospital that is going to take your brother against his will, nor a judge that is going to lock him up unless he does something horribly wrong. You need to back away and let him reap his own cuts and bruises. There are doctors that will give him med's, counselors that will tell him how to control his urges, and hospitals that will protect him from himself until he does. None of them are going to force themselves on him though. You need to back off and let him make his own mistakes and suffer the consequences, hoping and praying it isn't too late for him to change. I know that is far from what you wanted to hear, but it is the truth and what you needed to hear. Did it make sense to you?
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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
but I am concerned for my mother. My dad just died recently which really effected my brother and my 95
year old grandmother is now staying with her. Last night my brother banged around and talked to himself all night in her basement, poured rubbing alcohol all over the house so she had to ventilate in the middle of the night, and now he is demanding for her to drive him somewhere and when she is refusing he is driving the tractor up and down the street and in a circle in the yard. When she refuses to give him money he walks up and down the street screaming that we are stealing everything he has got. This is not good for her health. And I understand your point completely, but if he is psychotic he doesn't have the judgement to make the decision not to act that way, does he? So, I am not sure about the part about him learning his lesson. (He has been diagnosed bipolar with paranoid tendencies and substance abuse). Anyway, thank you for your help...I thought the answer would be the same but people keep arguing that we can do something....so I wanted verification that we can't. Thanks again.
Wow, that does pit a different twist on it. Not that it changes the outcome, but it does give one a better understanding of your predicament. So he never threatens suicide or homicide?
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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
No, he has never threatened either. He gets paranoid and erratic, but never aggressive. Although he can destroy a lot of property just simply by being confused and tearing it apart or burning it. We just spent $500 dollar today to fix his car because he lost the keys and stuck a screwdriver in the ignition to "fix it". And now he just found the keys to an old truck and left in it without license or insurance. It is something constantly...but he thinks he is fine. And of course people say "you need to get him help" and don't understand it is not that easy. Thanks!
The only thing that I can think of that would actually get him the help he needs a bid to get a protective order on him and kick him out of the house. I say this not convinced I would do it myself, but eventually he would become a nuisance to society and I would do something. The problem is, what would they do? You're right though. I have had kids actually collecting and hiding knives under their pillow and throughout the house, yet because they did not say what they needed to say in the psych interview, they were not admitted to the hospital. Other than throwing him to the wolves, there is very little that you can do except to do your best to keep him and yourself as safe as you can.
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I know I did not give you the answer you needed, but it was what you expected. Would you give me a favor and rate my response so I can get credit for it? By the way, if you wish, you can give me in the loop and I can at least be a sounding board for you…
John-Michaels
John-Michaels, Counselor (LPC)
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 953
Experience: 25+ years helping people find solutions...
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