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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5220
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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My husband and I have been together for about 8 years now and

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My husband and I have been together for about 8 years now and we’ve been married for 3 of them. About 4 years ago I noticed that my husband (age 31) was starting to act kind of strange. He was starting to not trust his family or friends. This got significantly worse about 2 years ago where he thought his family, my family, co-workers and friends were “out to get him”. He is very smart and went to grad school and never finished because they were building a platform for him to be the next mayor or congressman. He said bodyguards and people would follow him to spy on him. I for a while went with it but always had doubts. It was getting so bad that we moved 7 states away because he thought everyone was trying to get him. Now that we’ve been here at our new state for almost a year things are getting worse. He’s now realized that he was physically and emotionally abused as a child. He has stretch marks on his back but now believes that they are scars from his mother beating him with a belt. He’s not able to get a job because he feels he’s “not ready”. He has extreme insomnia and when he doesn’t get sleep he starts to act even more out of character. He won’t really come outside or do anything because everyone is talking about him or giving him nasty looks and they are “out to get him”. If he has a conversation with someone he makes up more sentences that they said. I overheard one conversation and what he heard and I heard were two different things.
I’m very concerned and I don’t know what to do. I tried approaching him on this but he completely lost trust in me and gets very angry if I don’t believe him. I just don’t know what to do………….

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating, distressing, and worrisome this situation must be for you. On the one hand your husband is an adult and he doesn't want outside help. But on the other hand you are clearly a very loving wife and you know he definitely needs help.

You are correct. Your husband is more than likely suffering from a thought disorder. Yes, schizophrenia is the most common thought disorder. It doesn't sound like an independent paranoid disorder but rather the paranoia that is a frequent part of schizophrenic disorders. And as you're seeing, the longer that this type of disorder is untreated, the more severe it becomes.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. You are of course right and it is very clear that his attempt to be so independent is only hurting him and not helping. But it is important for you to not become adversarial about this. To have him feel that you are on his side. Why?

Because taking the medications, staying true to the treatment, and staying stable, is something he will not learn from being lectured to about it or being made to feel like he's wrong. He will become defensive. So it is vital for you not to always make him feel as if he is in charge of himself.

That does NOT mean that you just accept his downhill spiral. But you do have to accept that you have very limited influence to change it. That's the nature of schizophrenia. So let's work on the small window of opportunity that does exist.

One of the problems here is that with many schizophrenia disorders sufferers, manipulating the situation to avoid medication or treatment in general is part of the disorder. It is very pernicious and very difficult to treat. And it prevents him getting help, so you need to address if first. I would like to recommend to you the work of Dr. Xavier Amador. I think that in this area of treatment resistance he has been invaluable to all of us working with schizophrenia. I know some people don't go for his style, but I have found it very valuable and I think you will see its value as well. His whole approach is to find the way to make treatment a win-win situation. Because for your son, treatment is only for others' sakes: family, doctors, etc. Not for himself. The meds probably cause whole sorts of side effects he doesn't like. And this is going to be true of any meds the doctors come up with. Because resistance is often part of the illness and all meds have side effects.

So this approach can help you very much. But not only you personally, but the whole family. Here are his two most known books:

I am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help. This is the book that made Dr. Amador famous. It details a bit the story of his brother, who will remind of you of your husband probably in some aspects.

The other book is I'm Right You're Wrong, Now what? Break the Impasse and Get What You Need.

So, read one or the other and digest the idea and then see if you can use it to get him to get help.

Here is his organization's website that has wonderful resources available:

Again, you know from your experience with him that he is not going to respond without you having a strategy such as Dr. Amador's strategy in place. I think his is a good one to start with.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

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