We Think Our Roommate Is Schizophrenic And We Are Worried

Question

Asked by lunafrog1987

We Think Our Roommate Is Schizophrenic And We Are Worried

There are five of us girls that live in a house together, we are all between the ages of 20 and 24 years old. In fact the girl which we are speaking about just had her 20th birthday a few weeks ago. Recently we have all noticed very strange behaviors from this girl and we are unsure how to approch her with our concerns. We have found out that she has been spending all of her time at the library printing out anything she can find on the subject of the war in Iraq. She circles some words and puts symbols next to others trying to find a connection between words and ideas that aren't connected. She believes it is her mission to find "secret codes" in these printouts and she is confused why she is doing it. She says that all she knows is that it will take her a very long time to finish the project and is defensive when we bring up the subject. She has also been collecting random pieces of litter she finds on the street and bringing it home and setting it in a pile on her folder. She isn't collecting everything she comes across and it isn't theamed at all. Another example of strange behavior is a list we found of all the streets in our town that are named after trees, then a few addresses from those streets. Some of the address numbers are circled and some are not. The list goes on and on. We are unsure how to approch her about these things because she is so confused about what is going on and because of how defensive she becomes when it is brought up. We have also learned there is a history of bipolar disorder in her family (her mother) and her brother has an extreme case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. What are the steps we need to take to get her some help? We are really worried.

Answer

Hi Lunafrog1987,

Christina is right. Your situation really does sound like it needs to be resolved sooner rather than later.

A couple of other suggestions:

Do you have the contact details of the person's doctor? If you can find this out it might be helpful.

The fact that you share a house doesn't mean you have to take on personal responsibility - although I'm sure your support is helpful. If you have considered contacting her parents with your concerns I wouldn't necessarily be put off by any views you may have of their mental health. Maybe of more concern would be the relationship between the parents and their daughter. If you believe this is ok it might be worth contacting them with your concerns.

Social services are another port of call. They might be able to advise you about the support options in the area you live.

Answered by Jerry Kennard, Ph.D., CPsychol., AFBPsS