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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Imaginary friends

Resolved Question:

It's quite long and complicated story. Putting it in a nutshel: Our friend Mark (63, well educated - phd, highly inteligent) started behaving strangly several years ago. He created a set of imaginary friends, talks about them to us , telling us what they do (did, or will be doing soon), he even set up email accounts for 'them' and impersonating each of the friends sends us emails from 'them'. Mark has never been married (he is gay) and although he has a number of real true friends, he seems lonely. We are worried and do not know what to do. It's not easy to tell a lifelong friend to go and see a psychiatrist. Any suggestions? Thanks. Dariusz
P.S Otherwise his life seems quit normal and satisfying. I have never noticed anything unusual.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

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


There could be a couple of things going on with your friend. One, he could have late on set schizophrenia. While it is rare a person develops schizophrenia after the teens or 20's, it does happen. It is thought that developing schizophrenia at such a late time may indicate another underlying problem, such as early signs of dementia or a life long problem with mild schizoid symptoms that have not surfaced before this time.


Your friend could also have a physical disorder. As I mentioned, symptoms of dementia can be confused with a mental health disorder. Also, there is a disorder called Pick's disease that affects the frontal lobe, which affects reasoning.


The best option for Mark is to have him see his doctor. It should be easier to suggest to him that he see his doctor because he does not seem well than to suggest seeing a psychiatrist. If Mark is willing to see the doctor, you can call ahead and explain what you have been witnessing with Mark's behavior. You can also offer to go along, if you feel comfortable doing so. The doctor may not be able to share his/her findings with you (because of confidentiality) but at least the doctor can refer Mark if his problem is not physical but mental. You can also ask if Mark is willing to sign a consent to allow you to become involved with his exam and treatment, if you feel you want to do this.


I hope this has helped you,

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