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Old 06-30-2012, 11:22 PM   #1
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Sister's Condition is Rapidly Progressing, but diagnosis is unknown

Hi everyone,

This is my first post here. My sister has been an alcoholic for at least 8 years, (though I suspect it may be much longer). She's been physically addicted for 8 years, and has been through at least a dozen treatment programs. Over the past few years of on and off sobriety she began also using cough syrup as well as exhibiting signs of mental illness. In the process, she's lost her job, her marriage, her home, her money, custody and visitation with her children and now her sanity. She has periods of time where she's basically functioning and almost seems normal, with the exception of certain comments and/or lapses in judgement. Other times she's off the wall, with really bizarre behavior including screaming at my elderly parents for no reason, writing bizarre messages in nail polish on her car, etc. Her hygiene during these times is disgusting and she leaves food in her room for days. She drinks and drives routinely, though I'm pretty sure her license has been revoked again. She spent all the money from the first half of her divorce settlement. She can't work. She's torturing my parents daily, who are in their 80's. I want to have her committed, but she doesn't even admit their's anything wrong, plus in California I know it's difficult to do. Any advice at all would be appreciated.

 
Old 06-30-2012, 11:29 PM   #2
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Re: Sister's Condition is Rapidly Progressing, but diagnosis is unknown

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Originally Posted by sadsister12 View Post
Hi everyone,

This is my first post here. My sister has been an alcoholic for at least 8 years, (though I suspect it may be much longer). She's been physically addicted for 8 years, and has been through at least a dozen treatment programs. Over the past few years of on and off sobriety she began also using cough syrup as well as exhibiting signs of mental illness. In the process, she's lost her job, her marriage, her home, her money, custody and visitation with her children and now her sanity. She has periods of time where she's basically functioning and almost seems normal, with the exception of certain comments and/or lapses in judgement. Other times she's off the wall, with really bizarre behavior including screaming at my elderly parents for no reason, writing bizarre messages in nail polish on her car, etc. Her hygiene during these times is disgusting and she leaves food in her room for days. She drinks and drives routinely, though I'm pretty sure her license has been revoked again. She spent all the money from the first half of her divorce settlement. She can't work. She's torturing my parents daily, who are in their 80's. I want to have her committed, but she doesn't even admit their's anything wrong, plus in California I know it's difficult to do. Any advice at all would be appreciated.
Oh, and when she really goes off the deep end, she'll sit in her room for hours and talk, laugh and cry to herself nonstop and it can go on for days. It's so creepy. She thinks she's a victim in everything and that she's been and is being persecuted. Also, she's preoccupied with terrorism and conspiracy theories.

 
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Old 07-01-2012, 05:36 AM   #3
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Re: Sister's Condition is Rapidly Progressing, but diagnosis is unknown

The next time she is out of control call either the police or an ambulance. Explain what is going on. Tell them she is a threat to herself and others and needs a mental health evaluation. Once at the hospital hopefully they would admit her and figure out what is wrong. Tell them that she has no place to live until her problems are treated. They will have to do something.

 
Old 07-01-2012, 10:03 AM   #4
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Re: Sister's Condition is Rapidly Progressing, but diagnosis is unknown

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The next time she is out of control call either the police or an ambulance. Explain what is going on. Tell them she is a threat to herself and others and needs a mental health evaluation. Once at the hospital hopefully they would admit her and figure out what is wrong. Tell them that she has no place to live until her problems are treated. They will have to do something.
Thanks. I kind of knew this was the only option, but we haven't wanted to do it because 1. We're worried about suicide and 2. California laws wont allow them to hod her for more than 72 hrs and 3. She'll be angry with us and weave us into her list of "enemies" and having some degree of her trust is our only advantage right now.

But yeah. I guess it's either that or continue this way. She does have a psychiatrist, but she rarely goes and he wont speak to us without her present or tell us her diagnosis. Frankly, I think he may have made this worse, with entertaining her deluded ideas and prescribing meds that worsen her mania., but that's another story anyway.

Thanks for the advice..

 
Old 07-01-2012, 01:42 PM   #5
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Re: Sister's Condition is Rapidly Progressing, but diagnosis is unknown

Could you have somebody else call? If you are worried about suicide she really needs help. My husband has a disease that causes mental illness and we needed help with him and in a way we got lucky because he had a reaction to a medication and I had to call an ambulance. Once at the hospital they quickly knew that he needed more help than I could give. Good luck! I know what you are going through and its very hard.

 
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:01 PM   #6
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Re: Sister's Condition is Rapidly Progressing, but diagnosis is unknown

I applaud you for trying to deal with this. Getting a mentally ill relative into treatment is difficult, especially when they deny a problem exists. But you and nyour parents need protection from this behavior of hers, especially the abusive behavior toward your parents. You can sometimes get help from a mental health "interventionist" who is trained in convincing people to get help (go to hospital right then), and it takes you somewhat out of the "bad guy" position. I would talk to her psychiatrist, let him know what is going on, and see if he will offer any assistance. If she has a good rapport with him, perhaps she could be admitted to a hospital where he has priviledges. He can listen to what you say, he just cannot tell you anything about her (HIPPA). He could also give an opinion whether a police or ambulance call would be more effective. I think an ambulance call is less threatening and if she gets really out of control, they could medicate her. You can also consider a restraining order to protect your parents, and getting her resituated in a community mental health house with supervision once she gets out. The social worker at hospital would help with that. You mentioned mania, and if she is bipolar, that can be treated if she will stay on medication and off ETOH.

 
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:58 PM   #7
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Re: Sister's Condition is Rapidly Progressing, but diagnosis is unknown

Thank you. This is actually really helpful. I haven't decided what to do yet, but I will let you all know.

 
Old 07-02-2012, 08:46 PM   #8
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Re: Sister's Condition is Rapidly Progressing, but diagnosis is unknown

You see, we have to make sure she isn't released right away. She needs to stay in for at least a few weeks to get this stuff out of her system. Then we can see how ill she really is, and begin to get her treatment for the illness. (Sigh). I left a message for her psychiatrist but he hasn't returned my call. I think he's lazy and disinterested. That's what I think. Anyway, just venting.

 
Old 07-03-2012, 07:34 AM   #9
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Re: Sister's Condition is Rapidly Progressing, but diagnosis is unknown

If she gets into a psych hospital, they will keep her until deemed medically safe to release her, so I think you can breathe easier about that. You're right, she will need to be there awhile to detox, get a psych diagnosis (at least) and get stabilized on some treatment for that.

 
Old 07-03-2012, 06:03 PM   #10
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Re: Sister's Condition is Rapidly Progressing, but diagnosis is unknown

Next time she's out of control (screaming at your parents), call 911. Tell them you need a "PET Team" (psychiatric evaluation team) to come out, or an officer who is equipped to do the field psych evaluation. Tell them she's threatening your parents, or you feel she is a threat to herself or others (that's the key standard -- harm to self or others). If she is, they can have her held for 72 hours (called a 5150 hold) for evaluation. If she needs mental health care, and it sounds like she does, that can be undertaken when she is in the 72 hour hold. Alternatively, take her to a hospital emergency room and let them know you feel she is a threat to self or others. But it's usually easier to call 911 and get the process started that way. Hope that's helpful.

 
Old 07-03-2012, 06:05 PM   #11
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Re: Sister's Condition is Rapidly Progressing, but diagnosis is unknown

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Originally Posted by sadsister12 View Post
You see, we have to make sure she isn't released right away. She needs to stay in for at least a few weeks to get this stuff out of her system. Then we can see how ill she really is, and begin to get her treatment for the illness. (Sigh). I left a message for her psychiatrist but he hasn't returned my call. I think he's lazy and disinterested. That's what I think. Anyway, just venting.
Once she's under a psychiatrist's care, they will help figure this out. Definitely let them know if you have fears about her mental illness leading her to retaliate against you or your parents. Professionals are trained to deal with this and to support the family. You might have a social worker in to talk with you and your parents, too. Best of luck.

 
Old 07-03-2012, 06:07 PM   #12
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Re: Sister's Condition is Rapidly Progressing, but diagnosis is unknown

Also it could be that the psychiatrist can't call you back because he doesn't have a confidentiality release from the patient to discuss the patient's condition/care with others. In that case, although the psychiatrist probably appreciates the info he/she can't call you back....

 
Old 07-03-2012, 11:23 PM   #13
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Re: Sister's Condition is Rapidly Progressing, but diagnosis is unknown

Thank you. I found out about PERT today. First I called NAMI and then the local mental illness help line, who referred me to the office of the patient advocate (who explained the process and was very helpful) and then she referred me to PERT. Sooo we have a game plan.

 
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