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Schizophrenia?

Question:

My husband has changed over the last year drastically. He is suspicious of everyone and everything. He has accused me of doing terrible things. His anger is directed at me. I’ve watched him talking to people who aren’t there for hours and hours. He doesn’t sleep. It used to that once he slept he would be ok. Not now. He just starts where he left off. His brother was diagnosed as being Schizophrenic in his early teens. My husband is 47. Could he be experiencing late onset of Schizophrenia? when I try and talk to him about seeing a doctor he flat out refuses and say’s I’m the one with the problem. I just don’t know what to do. He was hospitalized 3 times and was told he was bipolar. I’m almost positive it’s much more than that.

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Answer:

Something significant is going on that warrants a full psychiatric evaluation. Late-onset schizophrenia does exist (although it is rarer than the early-adulthood variety) and should be checked out. Bipolar affective disorder can be associated with psychotic symptoms (e.g., hallucinations, delusions) either in its ‘pure’ form, or in combination with a psychotic illness (generally referred to as “Schizo-Affective Disorder”). The combination of energy and hallucination that you are describing possibly points to this latter form of illness. Your husband needs to be evaluated as soon as possible, and all the symptoms he has been experiencing need to be explained to the evaluating psychiatrist. There are medicines that can help calm him down. I’m concerned that the anger may be taken out on you violently. Although not nearly as common as the public would believe, there are true stories of family members attacking one another when under the influence of delusions. If you fear for your own safety, take appropriate precautions please (including moving out of the house, restraining orders, police involvement, etc.) necessary to protect yourself.

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