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Thursday, October 07, 2010 ChristianAllison, Community Member, asks

Q: How can I convince my husband to seek treatment?

My husband has had some sort of psych problems since we have been together (7 years), and I am certain prior to this. I knew he had some problems, but I began to notice specific symptoms during my mental health semester of nursing school. For example, he works, but he changes jobs frequently. He is apathetic regarding our household matters - he does not care if our house is clean or not. I just thought he was lazy. During the past year, however, I have noticed increasingly bizarre behavior from him. He has accused me of infidelity, and his accusations are becoming more and more frequent. These accusations are completely groundless, but he thinks he has evidence. He asked me where I stopped on my way home from work because he saw pine needles in my vehicle. He calls me at work constantly and will not let me off the phone, even if I am not talking. He constantly asks who is talking in the background and if I am really at work. I was working a night shift in the ICU and had to go give some meds, and he would not let me off the phone, so I asked him if I could lay the phone down long enough to go give my patient a medication. When I got back he said he knew I was in the ER because he said he heard someone answer the phone, "ER". He thinks I go in there to flirt with the paramedics. I had to defend myself for over an hour, and he still doesn't believe me. He frequently wakes me up in the middle of the night and accuses me of masturbating and says I am lying about going to sleep. He has admitted to auditory hallucinations. I believe he has visual hallucinations as well. He thought he saw our dog chasing someone through our yard tonight. When I confront him about the things he sees and hears, he denies it. I have asked about the auditory hallucinations that he has admitted to and he says that he only does this when he is stressed out and it is my fault. He says that if we didn't fight then this wouldn't happen to him. We do fight a lot but it is due to his constant accusations and his loss of touch from reality. There is no reasoning with him. I cannot convince him he needs treatment, and he is beginning to self medicate with benzodiazepines which is really getting me concerned. I had to flush my entire bottle of xanax down the toilet to get him to stop taking them. He says that the xanax makes the voices stop. Later, he will deny ever hearing voices. I have repeatedly encouraged him to seek treatment, but it is a lost cause. We have two children, and I don't want to see them grow up in constant turmoil. Also, I am not sure how much more I can take. How can I convince this man that he could be helped?
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Answers (3)
Christina Bruni, Health Guide
10/11/10 1:23pm

Hello Christian,


It will only get worse if this continues and then you will have reached the point of no return.  Your husband needs immediate treatment.  It is possible he can turn violent if he is not taking medication to control his delusions.


Your concern is your children right now and their safety.  Think of them because if it gets any worse they won't have a father.  Already you mentioned your husband's self-care and attention to household duties has slipped.  This is a clear indication that he is in great trouble as a provider for his family.  Especially with the confession you made that he frequently changes jobs.


You could wait to see if he suddenly turns around and is amenable to seeking treatment.  However you know that at this point in time he is not.  You have only today and you have been given clear signs by your husband that he cannot function well enough to be responsible to take care of his family duties right now.


He is jeopardizing your work situation too by calling you at every hour and harrassing you on the phone when you need to be at work.


You might not want to take a time out from your involvement however you have to protect your kids and establish your own sanity and maintain boundaries even though he is your husband.


It will not get better unless he gets treatment right away.  You can set the terms here.  Tell him you'll go with him to talk to someone.  The presence of a mental illness in your husband is no excuse for him to continue with his behavior.


You need to protect yourself and your kids first of all.


For more support and suggestions you could contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) national hotline to get the name and number of the local chapter in your city or town that has family support meetings.


(800) 950-NAMI (6264) is the number.


Should your husband not be willing to go with you to seek treatment you have other choices.


I will stand by you whatever choice you decide to make.




Donna-1, Community Member
10/ 7/10 5:23am

Simply said, your husband needs to seek professional help/treatment.  You would not want to believe your husband would in any way hurt you or your children, but his symptoms and accusations are already hurting you, aren't they?  I know that sometimes when the paranoia and accusations start, and he no longer trusts you, the situation begins to deteriorate.  Tell him that for your own peace of mind, you would like to see a doctor with him.  If he won't see a psychiatrist, then go to your family doctor.  Tell the doctor the changes that YOU have noticed with emphasis on the paranoia and false accusations.  Make it abundantly clear that you love and care about your husband and you want only the best for him, and the best for you and your children.  Most likely, medication will be prescribed.  Ask the doctor (for your husband's sake) to explain to your husband what the medication is and what it is for and why it is necessary.  I think you should be as above-board and honest as you can around your husband because he is already paranoid and might think you and the doctor are conspiring against him, which you don't want.


And if he ever threatens you in any way, know that you have the right if not the obligation to protect yourself and the kids by caling 9-1-1 and telling the operator that your husband has threatened you and that he needs psychiatric evaluation.  The police and emergency techs are trained to handle these situations, and they do it every day.  I was picked up by the police twice when it was thought I might be of danger to myself or others.  I was not arrested, just taken to a local hospital for evaluation and admitted when necessary.  And it was the best thing that could have happened under the circumstances.


Best wishes.

Christina Bruni, Health Guide
10/11/10 1:26pm

One of those options/choices might be forced hospitalization where he is involuntarily committed to a psych ward for treatment.


The other option you might not want to consider.  Like I said I will stand by you either way.


The reality is: this could be the rest of your life with your husband if he keeps refusing treatment.  This could become a permanent state of affairs unless he gets treatment and stays in treatment.



ChristianAllison, Community Member
10/30/10 7:08am


Thank you for your response.  Your answer is very honest and I appreciate that.  I am looking into involuntary commital now.  He was evaluated 3 days ago and given some prescriptions, but has yet to take the first pill.  I paid $65.00 for them.  He has not slept in about a week, and he has not been home since his eval.  He is driving around with a loaded gun, on the road constantly looking for whoever it is who is after him.  I am praying that he does not come here.  We live in the country and he thinks people are in the woods and I am conspiring with them, for what I don't know.  He calls me repeatedly and hangs up.  He says I am lying about where I am.  He thinks I am watching him with surveillence equipment.  It made me really sad because he finally called about 4am and said he didn't know what was happening to him.  He had followed some voices into the woods and is now lost.  It is 36 degrees outside.  Last time I saw him he was wearing a short sleeved shirt and jeans, which he has had on for about a week because he is not bathing, either.  He does not feel pain, so I imagine he does not feel cold either.  It is the weekend and I cannot have papers signed to commit him until Monday.  I have contacted law enforcement and they said there is nothing they can do unless he hurts someone.  I guess I either have to wait until Monday or until he shoots someone or freezes to death.  He was normal one year ago.  I cannot believe he is gone, it is almost like he is dead - perhaps worse.

Mandy, Community Member
5/22/14 8:52am
I'm having the same problem with my husband . He is bipolor but for the last couple weeks he's been out of his mind . Our oldest son has left the house to get away from him. My husband believes we are being watched, our phones are tapped and every time we are out someone is always talking about him. He keeps threatening to file for divorce. Reply
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By ChristianAllison, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/22/14, First Published: 10/07/10