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Question
Posted by: Concerned Niece | 2006/04/12

my aunt is hearing things

My aunt's boyfriend last year died suddenly in a car accident after she had told him to leave during a heated argument. Since then she has not been hearing things in her attic. She is insistent that Sal (her boyfriend) is still alive. That he sings her favorite music and plays his guitar. I believed that she was hearing music but I disregarded it and thought she was hearing her neighbor. Now things are progressing. She found a drawn picture on a piece of cardboard next to there new years eve picture. It was in pencil, and it was a sketch of a stick person walking in an attic. The picture is clearly an attic, you can see the angles of the rafters and 2"x4" running along the floor. My aunt is farthest from artist, than anyone I know and the picture were definitely drawn by some body who knows how to draw correct angles. My question is this, is it possible to have some kind of mental disorder caused by grief , that's focus is the person that she is grieving over and could she have somehow drawn those pictures herself, subconsciously?

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Our expert says:
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This could of course be an unrelated psychotic illness, but very possibly a depression and/or a complex grief reaction, complicated by psychotic features, including these hallucinations and delusions. Either way, it strongly suggests that she needs to be persuaded to see a good local psychiatrist for a full assessment and advice on treatment. In the first case anti-psychotic medication should help ; in the second, these plus proper antidepressant treatment. In answer to your specific questions, yes, there can be psychotic and other complications to complex grief. She might have drawn the pictures herself ( and may have more artistic talent than you knew of ).

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