Dear worried sister, on the basis of a short letter, it’s difficult for me to identify the exact nature of the problem. Your brother may be mentally ill, but he needs to be evaluated by a mental health professional to determine if a disorder is present.
Mental illness might be part of the problem but so might your mother’s treatment of your brother. She protects and defends him. She is enabling his lifestyle. Your brother doesn’t have to change because your mother fully supports his lifestyle.
This is a complicated situation because of the family dynamics. If your brother were open to seeing a mental health professional, and if you arranged the consultation, your mother may not even allow it. She might see your attempt to help him as interference.
You should encourage your brother to seek help but realize that you have very little control over this situation. Maybe he will take your advice but be prepared for him to reject your ideas. You can’t force your brother into treatment if he is unwilling and, as you noted, he is not dangerous and thus not committable to a hospital.
I wish I had a more actionable plan for you, but in life there are situations where you have little or no control and this may be one of them. It can be a difficult psychological realization. Encourage your brother to seek help and perhaps, eventually, he will take your advice. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle