Worried About My Mom....paranoid Schizophrenia???

Question

Asked by Mommy's Little Girl

Worried About My Mom....paranoid Schizophrenia???

I have recently become concerned by my mother's behavior. She is 45 years old and has admitted to several occasions of severe confusion (i.e. not knowing how to turn on her headlights in her car, or not understanding when someone makes a very simple statement). Also, when I moved out for about three weeks a year ago, she told me that she was halfway between sleep and consciousness and thought she heard Christmas music. She opened her eyes and it stopped. She also told me that once, again halfway between sleep and consciousness, she thought she heard me lying on the couch a few feet away (she said I was snoring) but when she turned her head to look, I wasn't there (she was home alone on both occasions).

My four month old son died in October of 2007 and since she was the one who found him dead, it took quite a toll on her, moreso than it already would have. I think she may have suffered some sort of psychotic break and that it may have triggered these symptoms. She lost 15-20 pounds after he died and has mentioned suicide and homicide once or twice since, even suggesting recently that killing herself would make everything better. I thought it was all getting better until a few months ago when I got pregnant again and also got married. He moved in with us and ever since she has been accusing him of doing things (going through her desk, stealing her tools, damaging her things) that he is NOT doing. She and I have argued about it extensively; I try to tell her she's imagining things and she keeps saying that I'm discounting her complaints. But I know that she's wrong and I think that deep down she knows too but can't admit it to herself. She also looks out the window all day, watching people walk past and watching the neighbors, and she's convinced that every person who passes is "casing the place" (i.e. thinking about robbing us). When I tell her she's being paranoid she gets very defensive. She always seems to think everyone is against her and she has recently begun saying that about all of her coworkers. She stopped hanging out with her friends, never leaves home except to run errands, and has been drinking beer even when she doesn't have the money to do so. I don't think the beer-drinking is causing the symptoms, though. That's a rather new development and she had these symptoms long before then. Sorry this is so long, I just wanted to give a thorough description of her behavior. Oh-- I also wanted to mention that her sister is a paranoid schizophrenic with a history of drug abuse (post-diagnosis drug abuse) and she was beaten by her father as a child, if that helps.

Does my mom have schizophrenia, and if so, when do I know it's bad enough to do involuntary hospitalization if she won't seek help (which I doubt she will-- can't even get her to go to the dentist for a toothache)? Please help, I'm worried about her.....

Answer

Hello,

I am not a professional so cannot diagnose your mother's behavior.

However I can tell you that if schizophrenia runs in her family and you've mentioned the behaviiors you just did I would say that right now, as in immediately, your mother should get evaluated by a psychiatrist.

Late-Onset schizophrenia is not common however it does happen when someone is in their thirties or forties. I would not delay in getting her treatment.

Please refrain from trying to convince her that she's imagining things or that what she thinks is happening is not really happening. People with schizophrenia ioften h ave false beliefs and delusions because of their illness and it is a futile effort when family members try to convince them that they are sick.

I would call your local reputable hospital with a psych ward, describe what's going on and see if you could get her admitted. If not try to get her to see a psychiatrist in the community.

If she has schizophrenia she will need immediate and life-long treatment with medication.

Regards,

Christina

Answered by Christina Bruni