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Question
Posted by: Help! | 2012/09/19

Crazy Friend

Dear Cybershrink,
I''m at wits ends!!! I have a friend who is going crazy - she wasn''t always like this. A couple of years ago, she met a guy who she got romantically involved with. When he disappeared, she had this story that he is working undercover for some secret agency - didn''t pay much attention to it, as I was just starting out on my own new relationship.
Lately this escalated. She is showing symptoms of paranoia. She believe people are out to get her. A few weeks ago she took in a lady who apparently had no place to stay. Now she believes this lady is following and watching her.
She had this story that people were coming into her house at night and putting needles into her, doing who knows what with her. Later the story went from people to aliens and at the moment it''s angels.
She believes every time a bird or plane goes by, it''s a sign that they are watching her.
I don''t know how to handle the situation anymore, to be quite honest, at the moment I''m trying to avoid all contact, but she shows up at my workplace and home unannounced.
Is there some place where I can phone to just pick her up or something??? I know - it''s not realistic. But there is no gentle way of telling her she needs help???

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Well, she was naive to belief a silly story like that, but then she probably really wanted to believe him and his excuse for disappearing. But as your story continues, it does sound increasingly as though your friend is becoming mentally disturbed in some way, and only a proper assessment by a psychiatrist could clarify whether this is so, and what sort of problem this is, and what would best be done about it.
What you describe sounds very like a psychotic illness, posibly schizophrenia, and really in need of assessment and treatment.
Next of kin can request that she be examined and possibly admitted to hospital for further assessment and even treatment if the doctors who examine her agree that she might be a danger to herself or others. If she behaves peculiarly in public, the police may be able to use a different section of the law to also take her for assessment. Her GP could also start the ball rolling.
As you'll understand, there's no easy way to just get someone "picked up" - if it was easy, imagine the chaos as so many people could abuse that process !
Sometimes you can persuade someone to seek help, even from a GP ( they may be very sensitive at first to the idea of seeing a psychiatrist ) and if the GP is priomed with background information, he can assess better - by talking sympathetically with her, not confirming that the odd things she describes are real, but not arguing about them either, and sympathizing about how awful that is, and how it must put a great strain on her, and maybe a good doctor who understands this type of thing could help her, maybe with some medication to reduce the stress and help her to feel better.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/09/19

Well, she was naive to belief a silly story like that, but then she probably really wanted to believe him and his excuse for disappearing. But as your story continues, it does sound increasingly as though your friend is becoming mentally disturbed in some way, and only a proper assessment by a psychiatrist could clarify whether this is so, and what sort of problem this is, and what would best be done about it.
What you describe sounds very like a psychotic illness, posibly schizophrenia, and really in need of assessment and treatment.
Next of kin can request that she be examined and possibly admitted to hospital for further assessment and even treatment if the doctors who examine her agree that she might be a danger to herself or others. If she behaves peculiarly in public, the police may be able to use a different section of the law to also take her for assessment. Her GP could also start the ball rolling.
As you'll understand, there's no easy way to just get someone "picked up" - if it was easy, imagine the chaos as so many people could abuse that process !
Sometimes you can persuade someone to seek help, even from a GP ( they may be very sensitive at first to the idea of seeing a psychiatrist ) and if the GP is priomed with background information, he can assess better - by talking sympathetically with her, not confirming that the odd things she describes are real, but not arguing about them either, and sympathizing about how awful that is, and how it must put a great strain on her, and maybe a good doctor who understands this type of thing could help her, maybe with some medication to reduce the stress and help her to feel better.

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