How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC Your Own ...

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5430
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

HI there. I wonder if you can help me. I wanted to get some

Resolved Question:

HI there. I wonder if you can help me. I wanted to get some more info after a repetitive family issue we had this weekend. My sister who is now turning 23 seems to "switch between 2 personalities" after excessive drinking. This has come about in the past 2 years i believe and what happens is that she switches between her "drunk normal self" and then another "suicidal" person in periods of between 10-15 mins...which results after having drinking until she really has sobered up.

I experienced this, this weekend and the only thing i can call it is: alcohol induced schitzophrenia. She suddenly gets a glaze over her eyes and becomes "possessed" and starts to scream and shout and want to jump out cars, or windows and "kill herself". She also does not remember these bouts but only remembers when she switches to her "drunk self" and has flashbacks of this.

The other night resulted in me taking her the hospital as she was trying to jump out the car door and screaming and also did not recognise me as her brother. At the hospital she switched between her drunk self and this "other person" which really scared me. I wanted to book her into get assessed as she seems to cut herself and want to hurt herself by smashing walls with her fist in this rage. When she is this person she says such hateful and hurtful words and is totally at risk of commiting suicide...then switched round to someone else. She has now been recommended to a psychitrist next week but i am so concerned about her., The doctors say it could be a religious possessed deamon in her or alternatively some chemical imbalance due to excessive alcohol in her brain which causes another personality to switch. She does not drink often or have a drinking problem but this issue only occurs when she goes out on the town and parties hard and drinks excessively. She also had blood tests at the hospitals...( the next day ) and there were no traces of drugs in her blod or anything like this. She does not take drugs but it seems that i have witnessed 3 episodes of this after some heavy drinking the worst of which lasted about 3 hours on sunday night. she will only cut herself with a razor after a drinking spree, or only have these episodes of hatred, suicide and killing people in these circumstances only. It also seems that her hatred for someone is based on those she loves most like myself and parents and her boyfriend. I really need some help or advice or assistance. my sister has stopped drinking under strict instructions from the hospital until she has seen a psychiatrist,,,however, she is totally upset by this and cannot believe she has a disorder as she does not see what other people see. she has no recollection of the "blackout" moments she has when switching personalities but only remembers the drunk personality the day after...but not the suicidal episodes and outbursts of hatred or not recognising her family. please help as i fear for my sisters life if she drinks too much and i am not there to protect her and prevent her from doing something drastic. I search for answers.....i need your help....and advice....many thanks

I am happy to provide more information if needed to assist you as i am now back in London and my sister is back home in South Africa, so am happy to update this for you. I am worried for her as this is not a normal condition i have experienced nor is this a typical intoxicated behaviour expected from my sister. This is an extreme condition which i believe may be due to the alcohol causing some imbalance in the brain releasing some psychotic behaviour.
Grant
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your problem.

 

I am sorry to hear that you experienced this with your sister. It was very smart of you to take your sister for help. Whenever you have someone threatening themselves or someone else like that, getting help is the wisest move.

 

It is common for alcohol users to develop a different personality while under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol, as you probably already know, is a depressant. When someone uses alcohol, it depresses reactions as well as mood. Someone who is normally fine while sober can suddenly become tearful, moody and suicidal while using alcohol. It is not uncommon that the user also does not recall their actions while drinking.

 

However, in your sister's situation, it appears that she may have an underlying psychological issue going on here. The fact that she acts out so violently and becomes not only suicidal but homicidal and also has such a drastic change in personality while using is a concern. Oftentimes, someone with mental health issues will use alcohol and it causes an extreme reaction and change in personality. It can make the symptoms they already have much worse. Although misuse of alcohol can cause cognitive dysfunction and other damage to a person, the same is true in reverse. Those with psychological issues can use alcohol and end up with symptoms that are overwhelming and frightening.

 

It is difficult to say exactly what your sister is dealing with. It is very good that she has an upcoming appointment with a psychiatrist to find out the underlying problem. It can range anywhere from simple anxiety and depression to organic brain disorder, psychosis or a personality disorder. Schizophrenia is also another possibility, however, it may sometimes be confused with other mental health disorders because the use of alcohol confuses the symptoms and makes the person harder to diagnose. Sometimes the person may also have two or more possible diagnosis and therefore, a thorough psychological exam needs to be performed to get an accurate diagnosis so treatment can help.

 

Once your sister sees the doctor and a diagnosis is made, she may also want to find a recovery program for alcohol users. You mentioned that you thought she might not be an alcohol abuser so she may be an alcohol user. This is someone who doesn't use on a regular basis but when she does, she drinks to excess. However, that still means she needs help, especially given her reactions when she does drink and the fact that drinking alcohol may be dangerous if she ends up on psych medication.

 

If your sister is not willing to go for help, you and your family may want to follow through yourselves to gain support and have a place to turn if the behavior continues. Two great places to start are http://www.nami.org/ mental health assistance and http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/ for families dealing with an alcohol user or abuser.

 

A couple of books that may help you are Sober Siblings: How to Help Your Alcoholic Brother or Sister-and Not Lose Yourself by Patricia Olsen and M.D. Petros Levounis M.D. and When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness by Rebecca Woolis. They are available on Amazon.com or your local library may be able to get them for you.

 

Keep in mind you are doing what you can to help. Your support is important, even if she cannot acknowledge it at this point. In the meanwhile, take some time to care for yourself and don't allow yourself to become over stressed. If you feel you need to talk with someone, try a counselor. If you attend church, a pastor might also be a good option. Rely on friends and family to help as well. You will be in better condition to help your sister if you are doing ok yourself.

 

I hope this has helped you,

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5430
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and 3 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education