Some people only have one psychotic episode and never have another. It’s concerning that some of his symptoms have begun to reemerge. Thankfully they don’t last long but your concerns are justified. Treatment could prevent his symptoms from getting worse.
His refusal to accept treatment is obviously problematic. As you have correctly noted, it could prevent the possible development of a severe mental illness. Without treatment, he is at risk for having additional episodes of psychosis.
It’s very encouraging that he is no longer using drugs. It significantly decreases, though does not eliminate, his chances of having another psychotic episode.
The only time an individual can be forced into psychiatric treatment is when they are an imminent danger to themselves or to others. Otherwise, they are free to decide not to accept treatment. That is a difficult reality for loved ones. They know that treatment would help and could prevent future problems but they are often powerless to intervene.
Are there family members who might convince him to accept treatment? What about a friend who he likes or respects? If there is someone who you think can help, contact them immediately and discuss your concerns. You would feel better if you knew that someone was looking after him while you are away at college.
Do everything that you can to help him but realize that your power is limited. You can’t force him into treatment. You should continue to encourage him to accept treatment but ultimately the decision is his. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog