Mentally ill mother -

kandmApril 30, 2008

My mom has paranoid schizophrenia as well as high blood pressure and diabetes. She has stopped taking all her medication and is showing signs of a mental relapse. I have a sister and 4 brother but only two of us live in the community.

My siblings all want her to be committed involuntarily even though she is not a danger to herself or others. Her mother and myself are the only one against the idea, since we believe she should have medical problems cleared up by a doctor, before we take such a huge step as involuntary commitment.

She complains about physical illnesses in such bizarre ways that the others simply dismiss it as being crazy rather than following up. When she complained about "yellow worms" infesting her body they dismissed it, said she was just crazy but when I took her to the doctor, it turned out she had a severe yeast infection.

I am really angry and resentful about my siblings, who at most, call her every week or so, telling me I need to go along with their wishes about committing my mom right now. They contribute nothing to her care but want to call all the shots. It's so frustrating.

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You didn't say how old she is. However, it's unlikely that her medical problems can be "cleared up" or even controlled unless she becomes capable of taking her medicine without supervision. a sense, she is a danger to herself because she can't understand her need for medication. A doctor is not going to be able to help her unless she is able to help herself. The fact that she has quit taking her medication points to the obvious that she is no longer in control of her needs.

Perhaps a short term involuntary commitment is the way to go. It should be long enough to straighten her out so that she can be trusted to take her medications properly.

And, how will you and your mother feel if one day she decides that someone is trying to kill her, and she tries to protect herself? This happens more often than you may think possible. Think about the possible consequences of putting off adequate treatment.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 4:27PM
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How old is your mother? What is her living situation now? Perhaps you could consider assisted living, where medication management is part of the package they offer?

Although she in not mentally ill, MIL went to assisted living when her doctor said she could no longer live at home alone, because she wasn't able to manage her medication and it was seriously endangering her health (she has congestive heart failure).

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 8:10PM
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She just turned 65.

I'm not ruling out the possibility of short term institutionalization, it's just that she has medical problems that seem to be discounted in the rush. I just have a hard time believing she will be more comfortable being treated for medical problems in a public institution than she would be from physicians she has seen for 20 years.

"And, how will you and your mother feel if one day she decides that someone is trying to kill her, and she tries to protect herself?"

This kind of behavior has never been an issue, she is not violent, when she is or is not on her medication. It is a misconception about schizophrenics that they are all violent.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 9:28PM
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>>> They contribute nothing to her care but want to call all the shots.

Oh, I'm so sorry. I have the same situation and I truly understand the effect on you because of your sibs'. I'm sorry that I don't have any input about your Mom, but I just wanted to reach out to you as I know what your siblings' criticism must do - I live it.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 10:02AM
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Who has power of attorney, pays her bills, etc. I would suggest contacting a elder care organization to get guidance. A short time in a nursing home etc could help put her back on her feet and an alternative Dr might have some new ideas. Ask her Dr for a second opinion Dr.
If you or someone in the family have not set up legal papers, do it now, because if no one has, and she has to go to the hospital, no one can even discuss her problems because of the HEPA laws.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 1:46AM
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>>because of the HEPA laws.Just to set the record straight - HEPA is an air filter. The correct phrase I think mariend wants is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). Easy to get confused, I know!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 5:06PM
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My mother was an alcoholic who was unable to take her meds for diabetes & hypertension let alone get proper nutrition due to her continual "inebriated" state. She was getting quite ill due to her multiple diseases and was unable to comprehend the *big picture* or respond adequately. I knew that something more invasive needed to be done and found that (in FL) we have a process called "Baker Act" that allows mental health professionals, police, or a judge to initiate an involuntary examination. Unfortunately, I had to petition the court to have this process put in place since her POC physician did not recognize the depth of her alcoholism ... the court responded in 24 hours and a deputy went to her home and took her to a facility. I was with her at the time and explained that a member of family services had petitioned the court (half truth). She went without much fuss and it was the best thing that happened. She was thoroughly assessed mentally and physically and was released about a week later after she was stabilized and after putting some home-care assistance in place. It didn't last for long - but I felt that the examinations she received were very valuable. So the thought of temporary committment (if it's anything like this Baker Act) might be a first step ....

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 10:33AM
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