Dangerous Family Members


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vis--vis
June 17, 2007, 06:00 PM
A few years ago my stepdad was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He is normally a great man, very friendly and outgoing, and would go out of his way to help someone. But once this started to grip his life, things have changed and it is very sad. He does not see things, but hears them.

On the meds he is ok, but off he is in bad shape. He usually thinks himself cured or that the drugs are a ploy of some kind against him and so he quits taking them. He and my mom have since split up, though not formally, and lately he has been scaring her.

He calls her saying things like, "I have spared your life," or blames his ex-wife for his mental conditions believing she had something implanted in his brain. Please don't laugh, it is not funny, it is rather tragic. Some days he just drives by. The other day his own brother had him arrested because of violent behavior. I am very worried for my mother as a result of these things. She does not want to own a gun and is open to pepper spray.

She wants to get him committed somehow but we cannot afford an attorney to do so and the local law enforcement, though they have many voice mails he has left talking about him sparing her life, etc., refuses to do anything. He lives out of his truck as he is a truck driver now. The police said the prosecutor probably could file domestic violence charges, but because he does not have an address they could not serve papers on him and we are out of luck. His brother tried to get a restraining order, but has failed. His father kicked him out of the house when he talked about killing them. So as you can see there are many problems. This is coming from a man who helped me grow up into a responsible man, myself. It is sad to see.

Any advice on how to get him committed or where we can find legal help pro-bono style in NE Ohio?

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kcmarine
June 17, 2007, 06:05 PM
I am very sorry to hear about that. It's amazing what mental disorders can do to change a person.

If all else fails, try to get him to the hospital. Maybe the doctors there can find a way to get a judge to get him committed. Other than that, I can't think of anything else. Sorry.

Hope that helps...

SniperStraz
June 17, 2007, 06:09 PM
All emotions aside, this is a man that may need to be stopped. The fact of the matter is that pepper spray and othe chemical agents don't always stop people with mental disorders. Think about what exactly schizophrenia is. Schizophrenia is a disorder in which the patient actually feels, hears, sees, smells, and tastes thing that are not actually there. It can work the other way around as well. The patient may not feel pain in certain situations. If you want your mother to be able to protect herself you need to give her a tool that will stop an attacker regardless of pain.

Sage of Seattle
June 17, 2007, 06:25 PM
The police said the prosecutor probably could file domestic violence charges, but because he does not have an address they could not serve papers on him and we are out of luck.


According to this link, there might be a way to serve notice to your stepdad. It may or may not help, but don't take no for an answer unless the DA can point to a legitimate law that prevents him/her from serving the warrant and/or papers.

http://www.serve-now.com/resources/process-serving-laws/Ohio/#4

Rule 4.4 Process: Service by Publication

Residence unknown.
Except in an action governed by division (A)(2) of this rule, if the residence of a defendant is unknown, service shall be made by publication in actions where such service is authorized by law. Before service by publication can be made, an affidavit of a party or his counsel shall be filed with the court. The affidavit shall aver that service of summons cannot be made because the residence of the defendant is unknown to the affiant, all of the efforts made on behalf of the party to ascertain the residence of the defendant, and that the residence of the defendant cannot be ascertained with reasonable diligence.

According to this link

http://www.psychlaws.org/LegalResources/StateLaws/Ohiostatute.htm

there is a good possibility that you could point to the law and ask why, when the police arrested him before, they didn't do a psych eval. With his history, medication use, temperment, recent spates of violence -- I guess I find it hard to believe they won't even have social workers check him out.

Post updates when you can, and good luck.

C96
June 17, 2007, 06:38 PM
The ability of the Law to give you any help depends greatly on the laws of your state. They do vary quite a bit.

Generally if he is held for a psyche eval and found wanting, they will only keep him until the meds start working. Then back on the street.

Psyche treatment is very expensive no one wants to pay for those that really need it.

oldjeeps
June 17, 2007, 06:38 PM
I don't know about where you are but I am fairly certain that around here you don't need to use an attorney to petition to have someone committed to a psych ward. You might want to stop by your local LEO's office and ask them.
Only thing is that as memory serves if you file a petition to have him committed you have to be willing to 1. sign it and 2. appear in front of a judge at a competency hearing.
Also, not sure what it would take to actually get him into a treatment center if you did file a petition.

Black Knight
June 17, 2007, 08:08 PM
As far as no address to deliver papers or anything else is concerned you said he operates a tow truck right? Well they can get his address from DMV records. Also by operating a tow truck he is working for someone else or he is operating a business. There has to be a physical address for the business license. They could use that address. Could it be that he does the towing for the local police and they don't want to find someone else?

Steak
June 18, 2007, 06:50 AM
This is very odd.

My brother is a diagnosed schizophrenic. He lost it at about age 18. He is a different person, but I still love him. Would you stop loving your mother if she lost her legs? Of course, you don't want to deal with pushing her around, just have her put in an institution, easy!

Coming down with this illness late in life is very rare (nearly always before age 20). Are you sure it is not the result of a stroke, alzheimers, or dementia?

Why do you want to commit him? Does he have no family that cares for him? Take away any guns he has, of course, but commit him to a state institution when there are other options?

It is very hard to get someone committed. They MUST prove themselves a danger to the safety of themselves or others. Saying stupid crazy stuff is not enough (Ron Paul supporters as an example). Probably 25% of members here think they have something implanted in their brain, should they all be committed? This sounds like an old man with dementia, not schizophrenia, and I KNOW schizophrenia. If you are not willing to help, and only willing to have him locked up, stay out of it.

This sounds like the modern day version of locking the crazy grandmother in the attic and tying her up. Mental illness is the most horrible of any illness. I'll take cancer, bird flu, and paralysis any day over mental illness. Your only idea is to send him away to a straight jacket?

He might have lost his mind, but you and your family have no humanity. Seems like he might be the better man.... crazy as he might be...

You hate your step-dad, thats obvious, but you seem to be out to destroy him, not help him. Your mother sounds like a real piece of work too. Did she not take vows? If he really is 'sick' she should be helping any way she can, not trying to lock him up. She did once love and marry this man, then kicked him to the curb when he got sick? Shameful, as it sounds from your post.

I'm glad my family has stronger values than your own.

Mumwaldee
June 18, 2007, 12:46 PM
Ibtl

C96
June 18, 2007, 12:57 PM
Steak ~ You don't know schizophrenia. I've dealt with schizophrenia for quite a bit longer than you've been alive and you seem to know very little about the disease or the treatment of it.

I could see no hate in the original post, just some of the normal questions about how to deal with the issue.

vis ~ Their should be some local mental health office that can give some pointers on dealing with the issue at hand as well as some accurate information on the illness.

I doubt that there is any easy solution, just try to find the best one available to you.

Love can be an important part in dealing with the illness but it does not make the illness or it's symptoms go away.

allan

JohnBT
June 18, 2007, 01:02 PM
vis--vis

I've worked with individuals with serious mental illness for more than 30 years. You might be able to get him committed for a week or two, but he will be released after they're happy with his medications. I don't think any state still does long-term committments unless there has been a serious crime.

And ignore everything Steak said, except possibly the part about it being one of the other psychoses and not just plain old schizophrenia. Other than that, I think he's wrong.

John

vis--vis
June 18, 2007, 02:14 PM
Why do you want to commit him? Does he have no family that cares for him? Take away any guns he has, of course, but commit him to a state institution when there are other options?

It is very hard to get someone committed. They MUST prove themselves a danger to the safety of themselves or others. Saying stupid crazy stuff is not enough (Ron Paul supporters as an example). Probably 25% of members here think they have something implanted in their brain, should they all be committed? This sounds like an old man with dementia, not schizophrenia, and I KNOW schizophrenia. If you are not willing to help, and only willing to have him locked up, stay out of it.

This sounds like the modern day version of locking the crazy grandmother in the attic and tying her up. Mental illness is the most horrible of any illness. I'll take cancer, bird flu, and paralysis any day over mental illness. Your only idea is to send him away to a straight jacket?

He might have lost his mind, but you and your family have no humanity. Seems like he might be the better man.... crazy as he might be...

You hate your step-dad, thats obvious, but you seem to be out to destroy him, not help him. Your mother sounds like a real piece of work too. Did she not take vows? If he really is 'sick' she should be helping any way she can, not trying to lock him up. She did once love and marry this man, then kicked him to the curb when he got sick? Shameful, as it sounds from your post.

I'm glad my family has stronger values than your own.

You're a real piece of work. We want him committed because we think he is a danger to himself and others and he needs help we are unable to give him. He has become violent with his family members. A few months ago he picked up a dryer and hit my mother with it. And shortly before that he pulled out a shotgun and held it while staring my mother down. He is off the meds and refuses to take them. While my mother was a homemaker and he out on the road as a trucker, he altogether stopped sending her money. She went without food for a few weeks eating sometimes only bread, maybe with some peanut butter. Displeased as she was, she stayed and wanted to help. Not only that, he is the one who left (3 times now), took practically everything my mother would have needed to move into a home.

I was talking to my mother about this the other day and we were both tore up over this. The problem with your post is you have made a vain assumption of the greatness of your family over mine on the basis of deliberately incomplete data. I don't feel I must post every detail of familial life in my household when the entire concern of this post is a family member who is currently dangerous and scary and will not allow himself to be on medication. She does not want him committed because she hates him. She wants him committed (as does his family) because they do not know what else to do.

Jeez.

warriorsociologist
June 18, 2007, 02:19 PM
Vis--vis, well said.

NeoSpud
June 18, 2007, 03:32 PM
Don't mind the troll, Vis. You've got to make a really tough call there, and I feel for you. A close family friend of mine has recently begun demonstrating signs of some psychosis, most likely due to MS, and has said some terribly saddening things (false stories of how we abuse him, etc). He doesn't have auditory or visual delusions, but his paranoia and now generally antisocial behavior (I mean that in the sense of the personality disorder, wherein he acts out without fear of consequence or consideration of others) is kinda scary.

I understand what you're going through and I hope you can find him help.

Steak
June 18, 2007, 05:28 PM
Hey, I got over-heated, but I am no troll, and I still believe in what I said. This is very close to my heart because I deal with it on a daily basis, with my own brother. The truth remains, your mother married this man, and when he got sick, instead of doing her best to take care of him, she kicked him to the curb and tries to have him committed. By your post, it sure sounds that way at least. She has no obligation to live with him, and put herself in danger, but don't walk away, have him committed, and wash one's hands of him.

Did I say love can cure him? No, but it can keep a mentally ill person safer than he would be living in a truck or locked up in a cell. There are programs out there, where a person can live on their own, and still have therapy, support, and needed meds. One need only look in the bad neighborhoods of any city to see what happens to the mentally ill who's family deserts them. Those folks are wards of the state, which he would be if he was 'committed'.

vis--vis
June 18, 2007, 07:52 PM
Hey, I got over-heated, but I am no troll, and I still believe in what I said. This is very close to my heart because I deal with it on a daily basis, with my own brother. The truth remains, your mother married this man, and when he got sick, instead of doing her best to take care of him, she kicked him to the curb and tries to have him committed. By your post, it sure sounds that way at least. She has no obligation to live with him, and put herself in danger, but don't walk away, have him committed, and wash one's hands of him.

Does anyone else think this guy does not read what I post?

Again, She's never kicked him to the curb. He left. Many times. Now he just calls and threatens or comes around and intimidates. Having someone placed in the hospital is not evil. If that person cannot and refuses to help themselves and refuses treatment, and there is nothing one can do to prevent or help their mental state without medical intervention, then that is what you do. What part of that do you not understand? The programs are useless if he will not enter into them. He will not enter into them because his mental state will not allow him to. He believes them to be a conspiracy against him.

Now I ask you to quit posting in my thread. I no longer care to hear what you have to say on this topic. Respectfully.

JohnL2
June 18, 2007, 08:03 PM
vis, I sent you a PM bro.

Lupinus
June 18, 2007, 08:22 PM
Vis, don't let steak get to you.

I've dealt with a manic depressant, literally, all of my life. One who has been violent to herself and occasionally to others.

When all else fails there is no other choice then to commit the person, it sucks, no one wants to really do it. But it is better then the alternative.

As has been said if you get the state to commit him he likely wont be there long.

Are he and your mother still legally married? If so (and you can afford it or have insurance that will, or can find a hospital that will work with you) a better option would be for either you or your mother to get power of attorney over him. It will be on your dime and not the states but you can sign the paper work getting him committed. Actually since he has a mental condition you may be able to go and get him on Medicaid or similar offered by the state to cover some of the cost once the POA is obtained. And it will be a hospital the state insurance covers, rather that an actual state hospital. Also length of treatment will be on your and the hospitals terms, not the states trying to get him out of there ASAP once they force him back on the meds.

That is how my grandfather made it happen and it worked quite well for many years until he passed and my idiot "I'm giving her choices dad never did" uncle got ahold of my grandmother. He simply doesn't understand her condition and the fact she cannot make her own decisions, much like your step father.

never_retreat
June 18, 2007, 08:24 PM
I think you need to talk the the county health department/ human services. They might me more in tune to your problems.

BBQJOE
June 18, 2007, 08:48 PM
This is indeed sad. Sad because it has gotten to a point where the issue of weapons has arisen.
Also sad because you'll probably find no one wants to help until something tragic happens.

I knew a guy who was having great pain in his back and legs. The doctors (State) prescribed him some pretty strong pain killers.
He resorted to his old days, and would take a months supply,(pills) and break them down and inject it. He would go through a whole months supply in a matter of days. he would stay up for days on end, until it was all gone.

He would then severely crash for about three weeks, back in serious pain, withdrawl and depression until the first of the month came and he got his meds refilled. Then it was back to the races again for a week or so.........

His wife pleaded with him to stop. I spent many hours listening and talking with her. (No talking to him, impossible)

I called every single agency I could find and no one could help, and worse there was no way to commit him in order to save him from himself.
He would have to go willingly. Yeah right.

He's dead now. It killed him.

I know this isn't exactly the same as what you are going through, but it is just another example of our system, and how you can't get any help until something really bad happens.

I hope you find a safe avenue for this guy, and a way to keep your mother safe.
Good luck!

JohnBT
June 18, 2007, 09:59 PM
"Does anyone else think this guy does not read what I post?"

Me. He missed all the relevant points of who did what.

In a nutshell, from what I've seen, you can't make anybody do anything, you can only encourage them and provide them with options IF there are any. Even if there are some treatment programs in your area, he is going to have to show up and sign himself in.

All you can do is protect youself and your family.

John

Kali Endgame
June 18, 2007, 10:59 PM
I've got a Grandma and Uncle who are both paranoid schizophrenics. The grandma was subjected to electrotherapy and the uncle is way dangerous when he goes off his meds. My Uncle totally spun out the previous christmas and the only thing we could do was call the cops or go and look for him. He "lost" his identity and couldn't figure out who he was for several weeks. The town they lived in did not have the resources to treat him, so he kept getting released back into family care.

Good news: grandma is pleasant to be around.

I feel for you and wish you the best of luck, in these trying times.

Hardware
June 18, 2007, 11:25 PM
Vis-a-vis,
If he is threatening people with deadly force my suggestion is to report the incident to law enforcement and press charges, include the fact that he is a diagnosed schizophrenic and he is off his meds. Most counties will issue a 72 hour order faster than you can say involuntary committment.

3 days in a secured facility will allow mental health professionals to assess and diagnose the threat he poses to himself and others. They can and will keep him on his meds.

I used to work in a secured admission facility in North Carolina and have seen how the legal and mental health systems really can mesh tightly.

Elza
June 18, 2007, 11:25 PM
vis--vis: Does anyone else think this guy does not read what I post? Just ignore him, vis. Sounds like he is projecting.

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