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Posted by: mary | 2012/06/06

My daughters domestic worker

My daughters maid says that the evil spirits are trying to poison her. She carries her food around with her alll the time. She spends 3 nights a week at church, and is depressed. She will not speak to her children about her evil spirits. Her husband left her years ago. She drinks a special tea to ward off the evil spirits which smells awful. She locks her room with her own lock, and then says that the evil spirits have opened it. What is wrong with her? My daughter is desperate, as her maid spends her working hours wandering around with her food, and not getting the work don. Please assist

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Presumably she talks about these fears of evil spirits at church ? Can't your daughter try to speak with someone at that church, and ask them to help the woman ? Has she seen a sangoma or other traditional healer ? If their assistance doesn't help, its very possible she is suffering from a psychotic illness with delusions coloured by her cultural and chuirch beliefs, but outside of those norms. That is where it is worth while at the same time, to try to persuade her to see a doctor ( even better, a shrink ) at a local clinic or hospital ) for proper assessment, as if as is quite likely, this is a delusional psychotic disorder, medication could make a major difference in helping her to return to reality and to feel more comfortable and unafraid.
Its also possible that chemicals in the smelly tea could be making her more disturbed and confused, rather than less so. But at least it opens the possibility that she might be persuaded to try other medicines of a more orthodox sort, which could be more helpful

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Our users say:
Posted by: Cultural Trauma | 2012/06/06

Differrent African cultures believe in the supernatural and are superstitious. Also if they don''t appease their ancestors all sorts of bad things could happen or befall them.

What makes someone believing in these things appear to be normal or abnormal eg suffering from schitzophrenia or hallucinating accoding to western diagnoses and psychiatry, is a rather sensitive issue.

Certain traditional healers may diagnose her with different problems and if she went to a western psychiatrist he/she may diagnose her with a mental illness.

If she believes in these spirits, then it is her belief system.

Has your daughter suggested she see a psychiatrist?

There are a variety of ancestral conditions that may be causing this problem depending on belief systems. Even though she may be a Christian and goes to church doesn''t mean she doesn''t believe in her traditional cultural background.

Your daughter can ask her if she has gone through the various customs regarding her ancestors, like slaughtering, etc

You need to take her to see a doctor who is well learned in the traditional customs as well as western mental illnesses.

Reply to Cultural Trauma
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/06/06

Presumably she talks about these fears of evil spirits at church ? Can't your daughter try to speak with someone at that church, and ask them to help the woman ? Has she seen a sangoma or other traditional healer ? If their assistance doesn't help, its very possible she is suffering from a psychotic illness with delusions coloured by her cultural and chuirch beliefs, but outside of those norms. That is where it is worth while at the same time, to try to persuade her to see a doctor ( even better, a shrink ) at a local clinic or hospital ) for proper assessment, as if as is quite likely, this is a delusional psychotic disorder, medication could make a major difference in helping her to return to reality and to feel more comfortable and unafraid.
Its also possible that chemicals in the smelly tea could be making her more disturbed and confused, rather than less so. But at least it opens the possibility that she might be persuaded to try other medicines of a more orthodox sort, which could be more helpful

Reply to cybershrink

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