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Ask Dr. Ed Wilfong Your Own Question
Dr. Ed Wilfong
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
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My 16 yr old grand daughter has hallucinated since she was a

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My 16 yr old grand daughter has hallucinated since she was a little girl. If you are going to say she had a vivid imigination and did not hallucinate, please tell me now. She is in danger of harming herself or others. We just found out in March that she hallucinates and hears voices. She has been erroneously diagnosed as being depressed and her present doctor has not been able to get this under control. Her present medication, just started about a week ago, starts with a "g". I'm sorry, I'll know it if you say it. Also on Lexapro. Has previously been on these meds. to begin with; respirdol (spelling wrong), ativant, trazadone. Not sure if there are others. The respiradol was just discontinued. She burns. Recently has begun to pull her hair out; head hurts in places where she pulls. Subject to migraines. Heart condition, corrected, but not totally; couldn't get behind heart. (Beats too fast). On birth control, but don't know what kind. Always been very active in dance and cheer. had to drop dance. Varsity cheerleader. She is not depressed. She has lost confidence in her doctor. Please remember, if you don't believe children can hallucinate, I'm looking for someone who knows they can. Thank you
The risperdone was the only medication that would likely stop the hallucination. If she is on Geodon, that should help (if that is the "G" medication). She could hallucinate for a lot of reasons including schizophrenia, bipolar, borderline personality, or depression so the diagnosis is important.
The ERs are horrible with mental health problems. They have no interest and little training. There should be private hospitals in D/FW for psychiatric problems such as this. I would also call SW Medical School in Dallas. I don't recall if they have a psychiatric hospital. Given the number of for profit psych hospitals, I have a hard time believing there is not an appropriate one in D/FW. Many times outpatient counselors are not used to hospitalizing patients, so don't know resources. Baylor has excellent Psychiatry Department and you can try TCU. Someone should help you find a good Doctor or Hospital.
Dr. Ed Wilfong and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you so much for responding; The doctor said the risperdone was causing the burning; he took her off it and replaced it with Geodon. She's just started it this past week. The Geodon had previously helped her at one emergency room, to finally relax and go to sleep. The reason she has to go to emergency rooms is she is having horrible, threatening hallucinations after office hours. This last one, two nights ago, was the worst yet. She ran, screaming from the house and was being chased by her hallucinations. She was delirious with fear. She has explained to me that they fly up in her face. They show her how they will cut her mother up if she doesn't hurt herself. They threaten her loved ones. She feels she must protect them. I have tried to soothe her and tell her that God will protect her family and friends, that he knows she can't do it alone; but, of course, when you're the one seeing and hearing all those horrible things, how could that be possible, in her mind. This last episode was the first we've witnessed her terror by running from them. Luckily, her brother and his friend were able to catch her; her dad had to hold her to keep her from running again; dear God, this is the most awful thing. That's why I am writing. She is being tormented. AND she's begun to tell her mother she will kill her; stab her, with no remorse; she smells blood. She has said her mother smells like blood. Of course, knives have been put away; but, the sight of a dead animal or thought of killing now excites her and triggers episodes. She has them very frequently. Her doctor has diagnosed her with depression. Does that sound like depression to you? She isn't depressed. She hallucinates and hears voices. She is scared and anxious. She has done this, beginning when she was very young. She told me they made her drink nail polish remover; put a plastic bag over her head; made her run in circles. She saw a dead girl in the living room, in a box, her face horribly burned; the images at first were more like "heat" images she said. I don't know when they changed and became images of men; when she hallucinates, everyone's face, including her own, changes, looking horribly burned. SHE burns.
You know, even if we could find a good doctor, that doctor probably couldn't see her for six months to a year; what do you think can happen before you can see a doctor and get started on medication that will help? Her odds aren't very good. Six months from now will probably be too late.
I haven't overlooked that I should add a bonus. I am on a very limited, fixed income, which I don't get till the third Wednesday of the month. I wish I could add something now, but I can't, it just isn't there. I realize you are a blessing and you're getting very little to begin with; I'm sorry that all I can offer right now is my appreciation for your time and expertize.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Dr. Wilfong: Since this began, I've combed the internet to find the correct help for my grand daughter. In my searches, I found Dr. Gail Edelsohn. She is in Pennsylvania. She is a published Psychiatrist, and is highly qualified for what we need. I assumed they wouldn't speak with me, but, after I wrote you again, I mustered up the strength and nerve to call her office and ask for at least a referral to someone here in Texas. She was in a meeting, but the lady I spoke with was extremely interested and didn't understand why I thought she wouldn't speak with me. I told her Emily's story; she is relaying it to Dr. Edelsohn and told me if she couldn't call me, she'd at least have someone contact me. I can't believe it, but am so thankful to God I made the call.
I know you surely are interested in people, or you wouldn't be online answering questions for practically no money. I thank God for you, too because money is very hard to come by and have when you need it the most. I was very surprised to learn Risperdone is the only medication that can stop hallucinations. Of course, it didn't stop them, but I profited from your answer and when I can, will be happy to add a bonus to your account. I hope to stay in touch with you till I'm sure we have secured a qualified doctor and hospital for my grand daughter. Dr. Edelsohn has many articles about child psychiatry and child hallucinations. I realize my grand daughter is 16, but getting to the root of the problem and believing it started at a very young age is important to me. I believe it is essential to treating her properly. She has been thrown into a category that views this as a behavioral issue. When she was 'short' with her answers yesterday, he responded with, "if you're going to keep talking like that, I'm tempted to put you in the hospital." She perceived it as a threat and I see it as a reason to label her as depressed and behavioral issues. She is scared and afraid she will never get better. She is frustrated. I think I have found the right kind of specialist and that she will at least refer us to someone in the same practice. Again, I thank you for your kindness and I would like to stay in touch till things are better.
I am glad to help. I have found other professional very willing to make referrals. I want to clarify -- out of the medications you listed, respiridone was the only one that would stop hallucinations, unless my guess of Geodon was correct. Many medications stop hallucinations.
I would be glad to have you stay in touch. I am not online a lot, but try to check in every day or two.
Please post new questions "Attn: Dr Ed" unless you know how to direct it to me through JA (I don't).
I hope things and your daughters treatment begin to improve.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Dr Ed:
Thank you, ***** ***** interested in referrals. We are south of Fort Worth. That is the closest major city.
I was directed to the AACAP website, but only found one doctor listed for Fort Worth. We would greatly appreciate any referrals your colleagues offer to us. Fort Worth is the closest major city to us.
We don't know what to look for, nor how to get someone to see her in a timely manner. I'm afraid we are in a race against time. Even though she feels better now, she has told her mother she could stab her with no remorse. She had an incident where her face became distorted, or disfigured, her tongue was out and her eyes weren't normal. It was earlier in the evening, before the incident I described to you. She was running from and arguing with several hallucinations, but sometimes she wasn't speaking clearly, couldn't be understood. As I mentioned, she was coming off the respiridone and starting the Geodon. Do you think that caused it?
I've written too much. I thank you again for your concern and kindness and if you can, I would appreciate the referrals. I will pass them onto my daughter. I also told her about the hospitals you suggested. Thank you so much.
I don't know anyone in the area, but I have had the best luck calling the Psychiatry Departments at Medical Schools. They tend to keep track of Alumni, faculty with private practices, and often have clinics. As I mentioned, I would try TCU, SW Med school and Baylor. The National Alliance of Mentally Ill (NAMI) may be of help. I would look for someone who is an Adolescent Psychiatrist but given her age, Adult may be OK. You may contact Texas Psychiatric Association. State organizations tend to offer referral services I am sorry I don't have other ideas.