It’s impossible to know what is wrong with your brother without having interviewed him professionally. Diagnosis over the internet is impossible. Ideally, he should be interviewed by a professional.
His behaviors are concerning. Your mother suspects drug use and that is a possibility. Some parents opt to drug test their children, but that may or may not be a good idea in this situation. The validity of those tests would have to be thoroughly vetted.
You noticed this change about a year ago. Try to think about what was happening at the time. Perhaps something changed. Perhaps that’s when he began hanging out with certain friends. It would be interesting to know more about his friends. Do they use drugs? Does he mimic their behavior? How do they treat their parents? How much time does he spend with them? Is he worse after spending time with them? Knowing the answers to those questions could help to determine if they are part of the problem.
He seems to treat you and your mother with disrespect. It would be interesting to know how he treats other people. What about his father? Does he treat him (assuming he is part of his life) with the same level of disrespect? Is there anyone whom he treats kindly?
He might treat certain people with disrespect because he feels that he can get away with it. He may feel empowered to manipulate you and your mother because he feels there will be no penalty for having done so.
He should be evaluated by a mental health professional. Your mother can make an appointment for him. She should consider choosing a therapist who specializes in working with adolescent males. She may also want to consider family therapy because his behavior is affecting the whole family. Sometimes people choose to undergo both individual and family counseling simultaneously. After a thorough evaluation, the therapist will determine the best course of action. That is the first step.
When your brother becomes upset, try not to fight with him. Understandably, that’s easier said than done. It’s not that you shouldn’t defend yourself. It’s simply that you want to do everything in your power not to make the situation worse. If your brother is experiencing mental health problems, you would not want to contribute to the chaos.
A mental health professional will know how to help and what to do. That’s the best way to handle this situation. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle