Get information and advice - Sibling FAQs - Why is my brother acting strangely?
My brother is acting really strangely - he either sleeps for days or is really hyper and getting really carried away over something. Why is he like this?
Signs that something is not quite right
Sometimes changes in behaviour may indicate that a mental health problem is developing. Mental illnesses rarely come out of the blue. Almost always, these disorders are preceded by a gradual change in behaviour. This can happen over a relatively short period or over a number of months. Some of the changes you may see include:
- becoming more anxious, irritable
- becoming depressed or suicidal
- difficulty in concentration or memory
- being preoccupied with unusual new ideas, or odd beliefs
- change in sleep patterns, lack of or too much sleep
- changes in social behaviour, overly friendly or withdrawn
- marked changes in mood
- not able to function as previously, unable to cope with work or studies
- becoming overly suspicious
Where do I start?
If you suspect that your brother is suffering from the onset of a mental illness it is important to seek medical help early and encourage him to realise there is a problem and seek help. You also ought to raise your concerns with your parents – acknowledging mental ill health in the family is always difficult but the earlier help is sought the better the outcome for all.
It's important to remember that your brother may be anxious, frightened, confused or may feel that you are 'getting at him'
- be calm, sympathetic and tactful - it would be best to approach the subject when he seems to be relaxed and most likely to listen to you
- try to imagine how you would feel if the situation was reversed – what would you find helpful?
You may try suggesting that:
- stress, anxiety or other symptoms are making it difficult for them to cope as well as usual and that a doctor should be able to help
- suggest that you could accompany them to go to see a doctor to offer support
For more information please read our Are you worried about someone's mental health factsheet
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