I am very worried about my older brother. In the past 6 months he has started behaving very strangely. He has forged my name and my parents’ names on rental documents and doesn’t see anything wrong with it. Additionally, he is exhibiting very paranoid behavior, he gave away his cats, whom he loved for more than 5 years, and his reasoning is that my Dad is going to send him to jail! According to him he is an alcoholic, though I have never seen him drink more than 2 or 3 drinks at a sitting, and was prescribed medication from his therapist to stop drinking. He is paranoid, making bad decisions and is about to be evicted from his apartment. My whole family is at their wits end with him and we do not know what we can do! We don’t understand why he is taking meds for alcoholism when he isn’t an alcoholic or how he could be prescribed these without some sort of testing! He will say things that are completely outlandish and sometimes contradictory. We do not know what to do or where to turn. He will not tell us who is doctor is or what the meds are that he is taking! I am very worried that he is becoming a danger to himself and others. What can I do?
Are there friends or other relatives with whom your brother regularly interacts? If so try to gather more information from them. They might know the name of his doctor and other important information.
Your family might consider intervening as a group. Another idea to consider, if your brother would be willing, is family therapy.
In the meantime, monitor his behavior to ensure that he’s not in danger. This won’t be easy but do the best you can. If you suspect that he may be in danger, contact your local mental health crisis team. They can come to the home and assess his mental health. If they decide that he needs inpatient hospitalization, they can make the proper arrangements.
Consider contacting your local National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) support group. NAMI is an advocacy organization with active support groups in many communities throughout the United States. Their support groups are staffed by people who are veterans of the mental health system. They can direct you to specific resources in your community.
It can be difficult to help someone who is paranoid and who is actively attempting to keep others out. Your options are limited but hopefully the aforementioned ideas will be helpful. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle