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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10547
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Hello, over the past 6 + months, my sister has been showing

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Hello, over the past 6 + months, my sister has been showing signs of sever anxiety and depression. She believes people are following her and tapping her phone and now claims that me and my brother are the leaders of this group of people harassing her. This past week she has thrown away most of her personal belongings and forced her husband to leave her. She seems very unstable and says she does not trust anyone. She will not go to see a doctor, as she does not believe anything is wrong, but we are extremely concerned now as she says she wants to go and live in a homeless shelter and start over. We have tried to get her help two months ago but that did not work. I am looking for suggestions on how to get her to a doctor so she can be diagnosed and treated as needed. Thank you, Keith

Dr. Z :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern about your sister

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that she has been exhibiting this type of behavior, I can imagine how this distresses her and yourself to see her like this.

Dr. Z :

May I ask when she was admitted for three days did the hospital give her a diagnosis at all?

Dr. Z :

Also it sounds like your sister may have a psychotic disorder called Delusional Disorder -Paranoid Type because believing that people are following her and tapping her phone are usually signs of paranoia. This can obviously cause symptoms of anxiety and depression as well.

Dr. Z :

Now in order to get her to a doctor will be difficult because she does not trust others because of her paranoia, so she may not trust a doctor for an evaluation

Dr. Z :

The only way she can be involuntary committed to a hospital is if she was a danger to herself, danger to others, or is gravely disabled (cannot take care of daily needs such as food, shelter, hygiene, etc...).

Dr. Z :

Now it seems possible that you may be able to involuntarily commit her for gravely disabled if she wants to live in a homeless shelter, but it would be considered a stretch and a long shot.

Dr. Z :

So the other option would be voluntary commitment or treatment, which she does not appear willing to do.

Dr. Z :

Also before I go on I wanted to provide you with a link explaining Delusional Disorder in more detail for you.

Dr. Z :

Now there is a slight possibility that her symptoms could be caused by another psychotic disorder called Schizophrenia, although that is highly unlikely given the onset of symptoms at her age and she would have to be hearing voices or seeing things that are not there (e.g. Hallucinations). There is als0 a possibility that her symptoms may be caused by an organic brain disorder (e.g. Traumatic Brain Injury, tumor, etc...)

Dr. Z :

So Delusional Disorders are one of the hardest and underrepresented disorders to treat because most individuals do not seek treatment as they do not believe anything is wrong with them, poor insight.

Dr. Z :

I also want to provide you with this book that can help provide some techniques to help her gain insight on her behavior.

Dr. Z :

So in order to help her get diagnoses and treated, you have to help her gain some insight on her disorder, but because she has linked you with the group of harassers in her mind, it seems like she will not respond to you or your brother positively.

Dr. Z :

Unfortunately unless there is someone in her life that she trusts, there will be no way to get through to her to help see that psychological treatment would be best for her. And since she may not qualify for an involuntary commitment, then she may go untreated for a very long time.

Dr. Z :

This is one of the unfortunate cracks in the system where as a country her freedom to choose her medical treatment or not choose a medical treatment is given more priority than her actual state of mind. So even though she does have a very serious mental health disorder, she still has a right to chose if she wants treatment or not.

Dr. Z :

I see that you are offline right now, but when you get back online I would be very interested in continuing this discussion with you and talking about anything further you would like to share regarding your concern, so if you respond in the chat box I will be able to get back to you as soon as possible.

Dr. Z :

Hello, I see that you are online right now. So please if you have any questions or concerns feel free to ask them at anytime.

Customer: Hello Dr. Z. We had her go to the hospital July 1st. The hospital kept her for 3 days and then released her with some prescriptions (I do not know what exactly) and a request for out-patient counseling which she did not attend.
Customer: Yes she appears to be din
Dr. Z :

Yeah most individuals with a Delusional Disorder do not respond well to initial outpatient therapy, so this does not surprise me. Usually you need more intensive inpatient therapy before considering outpatient therapy to help treat someone with a Delusional Disorder

Dr. Z :

The difficulty in getting her appropriate treatment which would have to include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and possibly the use of antipsychotic medications will be difficult and I am sorry to say, but usually individuals with this disorder do not voluntarily get treatment, so even if you do everything right approaching her, she still may not respond positively.

Dr. Z :

I would encourage you to read the book that I got you as that can help you gain some insight on this dilemma of yours regarding your sister.

Customer: Dillusional, she believes my brother and I have had her phone tapped, as well as camera and surveillance monitoring equipment installed around where she lives with my mom, and her house that her and her husband have been building for many years. She just called my brother and told him she is going to go away by herself to start her life over, she has said this a few times in the past week or so. But now that her husband is no longer living in my moms house with her we are more concerned that she will walk away, and she does not have anyplace to go. Her husband has taken her car away as she was getting scared when driving a few months ago and almost got into accidents when chasing the people she thought were following her. Thank you for the articles I will be reading them this afternoon in the hopes to find a possible path to take.
Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that your sister is experiencing these symptoms. Eventually, her paranoia will become so great that she may respond with threats of violence. At that time, she can be involuntarily committed. Usually it is at first for 72 hours, but since her delusions will most likely still be present, so this can extended by a civil court order from a judge.

Dr. Z :

I truly hope that your sister gets the treatment that she needs to get better. 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 :

Before you sign off though, I would very much appreciate if you could rate my performance in helping you so that I can get credit for this question. Thank you very much

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