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How can I support a struggling friend? She is 29, in good…

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How can I support a...
How can I support a struggling friend? She is 29, in good physical health, usually fairly steady, very bright and kind. Her behavior has changed dramatically in recent months: ending a relationship, quitting a job, cutting off contact with family, and leaving her hometown. She's very angry with her family, saying they've mistreated her for years, despite this not seeming true based on everything our friends know about them and how distraught they are right now to be estranged from her. She is very upbeat lately, but it is because she believes things that we don't think are true: that she's being scouted for top secret government positions in bars she hangs out in late at night, or that she will become a model or broadway star. At times, she seems completely like herself, but often she seems really different. She also seems to have a really inflated self-image right now, is really talkative, and isn't sleeping very much. What types of illness might cause this, will it go away on its own in time, and how best can we support her?
Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Mental Health
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Answered in 10 hours by:
12/28/2017
Mental Health Professional: LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker replied 7 months ago
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1,160
Experience: 10 years post-MSW experience
Verified

Hi, thank you for writing. My name is***** are many conditions which may explain your friend's change in personality. Some could include Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, delusional disorder, PTSD, and psychosis. Late 20's for women can be a time when illnesses like schizophrenia begin to manifest. Unfortunately, it is not likely that these symptoms will go away on their own, although they may wax and wane, and they will likely require require medical intervention to bring her thinking back to normal. In order to best support your friend, you need to help her get evaluated by a mental health professional at the earliest opportunity. For fastest effort to help keep her safe, a psychiatric emergency room is ideal. However, it is not likely your friend is going to deem that she needs this intervention so sometimes, it can take sustained effort and engagement from multiple people who care about her to convince her to seek assessment/help. And at worst, it can mean asking the police to help intervene if her behavior really gets to a place where you are concerned for her safety or that of others and she maintains a position of refusing help.

Your friend is lucky to have you looking out for her. I am here to chat more if you'd like!

-Leah

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