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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4420
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Hi, I am a general practitioner and would appreciate your opinion.

Resolved Question:

Hi, I am a general practitioner and would appreciate your opinion. My mother, age 65, is a dear person, very energetic and would do anything for us, but she has this problem which is driving us all away from her and we dont know how to deal with it anymore.
She talks non-stop- about things that nobody could care less about and with great detail. She cannot listen and it is impossible to have a proper conversation with her as she always interrupts and starts talking about her own things again. She has a very positive outlook on life in general, does not seem to ever be depressed, but seems negative about many people in general. Social status is important to her. She drains all of our energy when she visits and does not seem to have any boundaries. She would follow us even to the bathroom or our bedrooms to continue talking. She can easily take over and like things to be done her way and is quite set in her ways. She has always been this talkative, but lately it is really causing serious problems in our family. When watching a movie for example, she interrupts regularly but and usually does not follow the line of the story. She has an exceptional memory and does not forget anything! She could tell you in detail the date, the exact meal, the conversation of course etc etc of some gathering 10 years ago that all of us can only vaguely remember.
She would never admit that she has a problem.
I thought about ADHD, but she seems to do her work well, can complete tasks etc.
What would you suggest?
Regards,
Lucille
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 10 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that your mother talks excessively like how you described, I can imagine how that would be exhausting

Dr. Z :

May I ask, when she talks excessively does she talk very fast?

Customer:

Yes

Dr. Z :

Is your mother overly dramatic at all? Like does she ever exaggerate displays of emotion?

Customer:

I would not say she is overly dramatic when she talks, but she overreacts, for example: she would be stressed out more than would be normal when someone has not locked the door and she seems to get a fright easily and would then frighten all of us with her verbal response

Dr. Z :

Is she sensitive to perceived criticism? And needs constant reassurance of approval?

Customer:

Yes, very.

Customer:

I spoke to my sister whom she stays with and she feels she is definitely overly dramatic (previous question)

Dr. Z :

Okay, that is what I thought. I think your mother may have a disorder called Histrionic Personality Disorder and this causes her excessive talking. The excessive talking is a two pronged approach, to keep the attention on her and to also talk over you to avoid an criticism or any perceived negative comment that you may say. Here is a good link describing it in more detail for you

Dr. Z :

A good tactic to try to stop the excessive talking is to listen to them for a certain period of time, not too long, until you have enough information to try to formulate for yourself what yous mother is trying to communicate. Then ask them if they would mind if you interrupt her. Your mother may say no or that she had not finished her thought then, but you can say "Oh I thought you did finish your thought just then." Then when you interrupt, say something about what you hear and something simple and to the point, but if possible, something that reflects something positive about her. Don’t stop with a comment about her. Add some experience of your own that will confirm that you understand what they’re experiencing (e.g. memory, similar feeling, etc...). Then tell her you’ve been listening for more time than you have to spare (and more than you want to give away) that you’re really sorry, but you have work you have to do and you’ll have to continue this conversation later.

Dr. Z :

This allows you to actively listen to her, so that she feels validated, but also allows you to set boundaries as well

Dr. Z :

Individuals with this disorder have a hard time with boundaries, so it is your job to be firm with them. And at first she may take it personally, but eventually she will start to understand and respect your boundaries if you are consistent with setting them.

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX have a look at the website. Are people with this problem ever able to get insight into their problem, or would we just have to cope with it? Any form of therapy worthwhile? (As far as I can remeber from medical school days, there is not too much that can be done for this problem...)

Dr. Z :

Well psychotherapy is usually a good type of therapy for individuals with this disorder. I would recommend either Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) as these therapies help to keep your mother on task and not try to dominate the session with excessive talking. These therapies will also help her gain insight onto her behavior as well and help her manage her emotions better, so as not to exaggerate them. Here is a small snippet on the use of psychotherapy for individuals with Histrionic Personality Disorder.

Customer:

Thank you very much.

Dr. Z :

Now the treatment success for this disorder is mixed, I would agree with what you learned back in your school days, but it is still possible with those two types of therapies, which have the best success rate for treating personality disorders.

Dr. Z :

Anytime, is there anything else I can assist you with? I can recommend some books if you like as well

Customer:

Glad I contacted you, we really considered Ritalin or something similar- not that she would have taken it!

Dr. Z :

Yeah I do not think that this was a sign of ADHD because like you said she was really good with tasks and keeping her focus. I think because this has occurred for a long time, it is a sign of a personality disorder.

Customer:

Will pass on the message to the rest of the family.

Customer:

Regards,

Customer:

Lucille

Dr. Z :

Glad I can help you Lucille. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4420
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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