Discussions By Condition: Mental conditions

Mental illness....please give me some advice!

Posted In: Mental conditions 7 Replies
  • Posted By: dawn841
  • September 25, 2007
  • 04:16 AM

I'm trying to get information on possible mental illness of a family member. This is a long story and I hope not to jump around and I'll try to make it as short as possible. Any help or ideas I would greatly appreciate.

My brother is 43 years old. He is an alcoholic and a drug user for many years. What I would like to know is if substance abuse for all those years can cause mental illness? His troubles started when he was 13 and his best friend killed himself. He has since shot himself in the hand and told us that someone shot him. Took a knife out of the house and sliced himself. Stole cars, money, drugs (anything not nailed down),stalked girlfriends (any and all of them), in and out of jail all his life. He has nothing and doesn't strive to want anything better for himself. My parents have had him evaluated when he was younger. They found nothing. They took him to a psychiatrist, they found nothing. They took him to a boys home but they said he was fine. He has a hole in his spine from birth which I think contributes to his issues. He has nerve damage. He has the shakes but I don't know if it is the hole in the spine or the drugs and drink. There have been many things he has done over the years but this last year was it for me. He called me to tell me his ex and his daughter were having problems with her husband and that he was trying to help. He told me that someone put cement down there water pipes, ransacked the house, threw paint on the walls and stole stuff like a laptop from the house. Cops later found the laptop behind the trailer my brother lived in. I told the cops I suspected that my brother did it all but they couldn't do a thing again! What I am getting to here is he did all these acts and made it look like the husband did it. And mostly everyone was believing it. He has elaborate stories to tell and none of them true. He just lies and he actually thinks it's believable. None of it is true. This past weekend he couldn't get in to my mom's house. I have another brother that lives with her and takes care of things around the house. So he has become a target for the brother that has issues. So then he decided since he couldn't get in the house he would break a window, pull the cable wires down and pile lawn furniture and trash cans against the door. Well I had him locked up on a domestic relations warrant but that will only give us a break for maybe a couple days. There is so much more he has done and so hard for me to explain. I think something is mentally wrong with him. My fear is he is going to kill either my mom or my brother or both. Like burning the house down while they are in it. I have told both of them my fears and it turns out they also fear the same. I also expressed this to the cops and they just blew it off. If it is a mental issue I don't know how I can force him to get help or keep my family safe. Anybody have any ideas? I would really love to hear them. I just want to keep my other family members safe.

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7 Replies:

  • There are plenty of self help groups who would give you support...keep yourself safe and seek them out..look them up on line like Al-Anon...or Co-Anon. Someone there will have been through what you are going through.
    thoroughbred 4 Replies
    • October 14, 2007
    • 00:23 PM
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  • It's ashamed that the police can't do more for you guys. I would be scared out of my wits. But drugs & alcohol can do that to a person. Maybe losing his friend got him so depressed that he turned to those things to hide the pain. Then after awhile they just became a way of life for him & of course now he's addicted. In my state if a person is having mental issues & is a threat to friends & family, they can have him/her commited. But it has to be on a doctors orders. If I were you I would try what the first person suggested & see what you can legally do about him. And stay as far away from him as possible. Don't argue with him as you will lose. Heck he could even be a sociopath. He seems dangerous to me, so keep yourselves safe in the meantime.
    alltrouble2 7 Replies
    • October 16, 2007
    • 11:28 AM
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  • From what I know from school, research, and my experience with my own brother (now serving 2-5 in prison), alcohol and drugs do not cause mental illnesses, but mental illnesses can drive a person to alcohol and drugs. I know my brother was depressed and paranoid, he started with just selling the drugs for money, then using, then alcohol with marijuana, and it just kept getting worse. The lies, the manipulation, the theft. My brother did all that, it stems from addiction, from paranoia. From conflicting needs. In my brothers case, he felt the need for the drugs and alcohol, the money to get them, so he stole. He broke into the house to steal it, or to get inside when he had no home for awhile. But he also needed the love and comfort his family provided, so he couldn't fully confess what he did, or that love and protection would be taken away. Something could be wrong with him, from what you've said it sounds like he might be paranoid, possibly Bipolar. Or it could simply be that he's addicted to drugs and alcohol, and when he's high or drunk he becomes violent.
    PagaNovelty 14 Replies
    • November 26, 2007
    • 07:14 PM
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  • Seems like you think you know .....there is plenty of research based evidencethat drugs do, and will continue to, cause mental illnesses in some people.Some drugs for some people can also mask the symptoms of mental illnessthat existed prior to the drugs being used. At the end of the day I we looking for the cause or the solution. The solution can be found through self-help groups for any drug, for the user and non-user. Maintaining honest communication and trying one day at a time to not hold grudges and to love unconditionally is a recipe which can prevent relapse, in recovery from any addiction and isn't bad advice to prevent it starting in the first place.My personal belief, if that the world is being run by drug dealers, legally and illegally.
    thoroughbred 4 Replies
    • November 26, 2007
    • 09:21 PM
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  • Seems like you think you know .....there is plenty of research based evidencethat drugs do, and will continue to, cause mental illnesses in some people.Some drugs for some people can also mask the symptoms of mental illnessthat existed prior to the drugs being used. At the end of the day I we looking for the cause or the solution. The solution can be found through self-help groups for any drug, for the user and non-user. Maintaining honest communication and trying one day at a time to not hold grudges and to love unconditionally is a recipe which can prevent relapse, in recovery from any addiction and isn't bad advice to prevent it starting in the first place. My personal belief, if that the world is being run by drug dealers, legally and illegally. What I was taught is that they do not cause the illness, unless the illness is caused be injury caused by the drugs/alcohol. The drugs/alcohol can mask previously undiagnosed illnesses, or exacerbate an illness or a predisposition to an illness, but not cause it outright in themselves. It is what I was taught. I do agree with you about the drug dealers running the world. Prescription, over the counter, and illegal drugs seem to make the world go round. And communication is key with someone trying to beat any addiction. Communication, love. They need to know you won't hold what they've done against them, so they can be strong to continue.
    PagaNovelty 14 Replies
    • November 26, 2007
    • 09:25 PM
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  • What I was taught is that they do not cause the illness, unless the illness is caused be injury caused by the drugs/alcohol. The drugs/alcohol can mask previously undiagnosed illnesses, or exacerbate an illness or a predisposition to an illness, but not cause it outright in themselves. It is what I was taught. This is so very true. My mom was diagnosed as manic depressive after years of drinking. The drinking always covered up the depressive state and for that reason we always thought she was a "high strung" person. After she was forced to stop drinking (she was a social drinker and found herself without them after we were forced to move) she went into a very deep depression. She hardly got out of bed and only talked if she was talked to. Even then she would only use yes and no. She ended up trying to take her life, and after recovering, the scare of almost dying drover her right into a manic state. After that episode we noticed it happen more and more. She would be very depressed and then when she had something to be happy about (like when I had my first child) or if she was frightend (like when she had a heart attack) it would bring her into the manic state. You could actually hear her voice changing over the course of a few days. Your brother does most likely have a mental illness of some kind. I could even be that it was brought on by the episode with his friend. I know how hard it is to see someone you love do all these thing and not care about anything. He does need help, and it might even be good for you to talk to someone who can help you understand too. Good luck!Kiera
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 27, 2007
    • 07:50 AM
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  • I think at this point you need to secure your mom's house and are most worried about safety. Change the locks if he has keys and strap a phone to mom's hip with instructions to call the police if he shows up and starts banging around. You could put bars on the windows or an alarm system would be awesome. You could get the $10 alarms they sell at Longs, too, for now. He's not ready yet for changes, so you need to change.One organization, Tough Love, actually helps with younger kids, but your mom or you may get some advice there. Alanon seems to have their own agenda and it's not necessarily to discuss how to get out of a mess.
    Monsterlove 2921 Replies
    • November 29, 2007
    • 08:15 AM
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