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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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How to deal with a spouse (Wife 74) that will not seek help

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how to deal with a spouse (Wife 74) that will not seek help or admit to paranoid schizophrenia--and is still functional but very delusional
Dr. Z :

Hello

Dr. Z :

I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that you wife has been exhibiting these symptoms, i can imagine how distressful this must be for you

Dr. Z :

You mentioned that you have tried medications in the past, but since moving 14 years ago she has not complied with her medical regimen, is that correct?

Dr. Z :

So there are some limited options that you have for involuntary treatment if that is something that you are looking into. If because of her mental illness she is a danger to herself or others is the most common kind of involuntary commitment. Now there is a little used, but very effective involuntary commitment used in most states called grave disability and this is where your wife's mental illness is so severe that she is unable to take care of her daily needs on her own (e.g. clothing, shelter, food, hygiene, etc...).

Dr. Z :

Another option you can do is if you live in a more urban area, is that many urban areas have a 24 hour mobile mental health crisis team that can go to your place of residence to provide an evaluation and possible treatment for your wife.

Dr. Z :

Now if she truly has Schizophrenia then this is a lifelong disorder that will respond to the use of antipsychotic medication for most individuals, but other than that there are no other successful treatments.

Dr. Z :

In addition these resources may help you gain insight on her disorder and help to interact with her better to try to convince her to seek medical and psychological treatment for this

Dr. Z :

Unfortunately your wife may not be forced treatment if she does not meet the criteria for involuntary commitment even though she has a persistent mental illness. This is because the laws are designed to also protect the civil liberties of your wife despite that she needs intensive treatment. This an unfortunate flaw in the system I am afraid.

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.

Customer:

thank you for your anawer--at what stage should I ask for outside help---she has threatend physical abuse but I don't really feel at this point she would follow through--

Dr. Z :

Well I think you should start looking for outside help immediately because like I said without antipsychotic medication your wife will not get better. If she has threatened physical abuse recently then that does meet the criteria for involuntary commitment regardless if you believe she will follow through or not according to the law

Dr. Z :

I wish there was a better option, but many individuals who feel exhibit delusions and paranoia will not seek help voluntarily because they feel that everyone is against them and will hurt them

Dr. Z :

The resources may help give you an idea on how to reach your wife and convince her to seek medical treatment for her mental health disorder. You have to convince her that having a mental health disorder is no different then having a medical disease like Diabetes and Heart Disease, where medication is needed, but the only difference is that Schizophrenia effects the most complicated part of the human body...the mind.

Dr. Z :

The antipsychotic medication will help a lot as well and will help her gain insight on her disorder and lessen her symptoms where she will hopefully see that the medical treatment in necessary

Dr. Z :

So if she is initially involuntarily committed and given antipsychotic medications then her symptoms may lessen to a point where she will continue her treatment on a voluntary basis

Dr. Z :

Do you have any questions or concerns?

Customer:

Yes I Know that ---her mother was sent to amental institue several times when my wife and I first married--but then you could do that--my wife was self committed several times in Calif when she was 50 and 60 and realized because her children and grandchildren were very worried about her the medications helped but starting about 10 years ago she refused all medications and this is where we are ending up---we can not socialize at all because of the paranoia--I appreciate your answers--I am aware of most but I do keep hoping the Laws will change back--our children will only deal with her from afar--but thanks again just for reinforcement--I Just was reading your answers--I should explain that she becomes very verbally violent if I even mention mental health

Dr. Z :

Verbally violent can be used for involuntary commitment in some cases, but it depends on the jurisdiction. I wish the laws would change, but unfortunately they really have not changed for the last 20 years concerning involuntary commitment except for the addition of grave disability in most states.

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that your wife's paranoia has been so severe for the last 10-14 years, I can imagine what a strain that has put on you.

Dr. Z :

The addition of mobile health crisis units is a new tactic used in many urban areas that may be of help and can provide treatment and resources on site

Customer:

Thanks again for listening --I have been able to usually cope but now that I am approachung my 80th birthday in two weeks I begin to worry about controlling it all even tho I am still physically fitand able to walk my dogs several miles a day--luckily we live in the woods and do not have to cope with a town or city situation---thank you again for your answers ---hanks again Carl

Dr. Z :

Anytime, I am always happy to help and I truly hope that your wife will gain insight on her mental illness and seek treatment soon. 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 :

Oh and also when you finish rating me, this chat will be sent as a link to your email, if it has not already, so you can always use it for future reference. In addition, this chat will be saved in your JA account under My Questions so you can always go back to it when you need to

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