Posted by: dontknow | 2007/02/28


Dear Cyber Shrink

My family has a problem. A few years ago my brother started talking about organisations persecuting him. This has increased and has led to him leaving his job. In time we came to the conclusion that the persecution is not real. He lives very isolated and seems very normal but lives with these ideas of being persecuted daily. Some of my family has tried to convince him to get help but he is convinced of his own truth. The fact that he doesn't have a job is a big financial strain on my mother. No one knows what the right thing is to do and mostly my concern is how everybody could make it easier for my mother. The rest of the family is very unsympathetic from my perspective. We've been advised before that as long as my brother can continue a normal life to just leave him but how do we deal with this and make it easier for my mother?

Thank you,

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

This does indeed sound as though it might be a form of paranoia --- and of course the condition is very difficult to treat, because the person is so very suspicious, although it can respond usefully to medication. It is also typical that while they may have some very disturbed and unrealistic ideas within the area of their paranoia, they are generally normal enough in other aspects of life --- except, as you describe, that a tendency to become a loner, due to the suspicions. Sometimes they can be persuaded to see a tactful ( and pre-informed about the situation ) psychiatrist in order to get help with dealing with the impact the persecuation is having on them, without directly challenging their beliefs, about which they are generalyl firmly fixed.

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