How my family handles Social Anxiety Disorder - we need some tips
I am trying to learn more about anxiety disorders. I apologize for the long post. I occasionally suffer from mild anxiety.. but I am more worried about my brother.
Everyone in my family is shy, but I can tell my brother's anxiety has gotten so bad that he has a hard time interacting with me, or anybody. He cut off ties with all his friends years ago, so I know he has nobody to talk to, and he completely avoids us (his family) whenever we are home. He is in his 20's and also suffers from epilepsy, and has had numerous, "embarrassing" siezures in public, which I'm sure is a huge factor in his anxiety.
The problem is, as much as doctors and everybody else encourage him to seek treatment, he avoids getting the help he needs and doesn't even take medicine prescribed for him (for anxiety or epilepsy, even though he said they work he doesnt like them). When my parents have talked to the doctors and psychologists he's seen, they get the impression that my brother acts like he's fine to avoid having to receive a diagnosis. He's still in denial..
I try to be understanding, but he barely talks, so it is difficult to have a conversation with him, so I never get a chance to really know what's going on.
I know he needs some help, and I fear his condition is getting worse and worse.
My parents have good insurance, and have spoken to doctors and made as many suggestions as they can, but the last psychologist my brother spoke to (3 months ago) told him there's nothing wrong with him. He later bragged to me about it, like he won a competition. He hasn't seen any doctors since. We've also since noticed he's been experiencing occasional hallucinations (hearing things, smelling things, etc that arent there).
I just can't figure out a way to help my brother anymore. I can't just sit and wait and hope he eventually realizes he needs treatment/medication. I think he needs somebody to talk to, yet he has such a hard time talking about anything. I've attempted to have innocent conversations with him, but that leads nowhere. He shuts down as soon as I ask him how he's feeling. Why does he fight so hard to show he's OK? I fear his anxiety is causing all sorts of problems, and fear where it could end up. When will it end?
Re: How my family handles Social Anxiety Disorder - we need some tips
Bless you for your concern about your brother. Anxiety can be devastating to many of us, and just by its nature, can be hard to treat if he is reluctant to discuss or seek help on his own.
It sounds as if his experience with doctors has been less than comfortable, and just admitting he has any issues that he needs help with are too difficult for him to bear.
I would move very slowly with him and gain his trust as his brother. There has never been a time where these disorders have been more understood and treatments are getting better and better all the time. There is no shame in mental illness, although getting past old stigmas can be hard.
Without him being interested in getting help, there is little you can do, as he would have to be proactive in his own treatment plan for it to work. Family counseling can help the rest of your family in accepting and living with a family member struggling with SAD, so that might be something you could do as a family.
I also have lived my life with a mentally ill sister, that refused to admit she had anything wrong, so we eventually had to learn how we could live with her in our lives without her continuously creating chaos in our lives. There is no easy answer, but I wish you the very best...