My brother is 20, and I suspect he has a psychological disorder. He is crazily religious, and says he can see Jesus. He is hateful towards other religions. He does not practice what he preaches, and finds himself perfect with god. He lacks empathy for our grandmother who he lives with. She takes care of him financially, and he yells and curses at her. He is not sympathetic to her, even though she has leg problems, and our mother (her daughter) just passed away. He calls our pre-teen sister a whore, even though she is not at all promiscuous. He verbally assaults her on a daily basis, and calls her slutty, a whore, and verbally degrades her. I try and insult him back, but he insults me also. He finds no wrong in this. He always thinks someone has poisoned his food, and ask if all of his food is ok before he eats it. He thinks he is sick every day. He try’s to go to the emergency room about 2 times a month. He is obsessed with the marines and plans on going in the military even though he can’t. He attends a school that gives GEDs. He is self absorbed, lacks empathy, and conceited.
A. I would agree that your brothers behavior is not normal or acceptable. Some of his symptoms may be indicative of psychosis, including his belief that he can see Jesus, his fear that his food is being poisoned and the fact that he thinks he is always sick. Those are called delusions.
He also seems to have anger and empathy issues. Those are not necessarily associated with any one mental health disorder but coupled with his possible psychosis, this situation is troublesome.
Undoubtedly, his symptoms are concerning for you and your family. He is quite aggressive, abusive and increasingly unstable. The major concern is that he may become physically aggressive.
My recommendation is to keep tabs on your brother’s behavior and try to remain safe. When he is verbally aggressive, it’s best not to fight back. Doing so might only inflame the situation. Everyone should try to keep their distance.
The most difficult aspect of your situation is that while it is seemingly clear that your brother needs help, if he doesn’t want it, then he is under no obligation to receive it. You can recommend that he seek treatment and ask him to go, but he has the right to say no. In most cases, the only time an individual can be forced into treatment is when they are imminently dangerous to themselves or to other people.
If you fear for your safety, then you should call the authorities or the local mental health crisis team immediately. The mental health crisis team can come to your home, assess the situation and determine the next steps. If he is deemed a danger to himself or to others, they will take him to the hospital. Once in the hospital, he can be evaluated and given treatment.
If you’re unsure about how to handle a concerning situation, call the local mental health community center or the crisis team and ask for their advice. They can assist you in determining whether or not their services are required. If you have additional questions that you think I may be able to answer, please don’t hesitate to write again. Please take care and stay safe.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Jun 2014
Randle, K. (2014). I Suspect My Brother Has a Disorder, But No One Will Listen. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/06/07/i-suspect-my-brother-has-a-disorder-but-no-one-will-listen/