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Blossoming Paranoia?

Question:

Hi, I have a serious problem and I need your help. My brother has always been a little paranoid but over the past year it has gotten very bad. About a year ago while living with my parents he claimed someone was either throwing something or was shooting bb’s at his bedroom window. He claimed they would do this every time he would try to go to sleep. He said they would listen to him and try to keep him awake. Then it started getting worse. He then started to say they were shooting ultra sonic waves at him to cause ringing in his ears. They were worse when he would try to sleep but it grown to all the time. Part of the problem is also some of the junk he reads on the Internet. He has spent a ton of money combating this hidden adversary. My parents in an attempt to do something to help him have decided to move to get him away from this ghost. My brother has been staying with me for the last few month and he claims they followed him there. Now he believes they are shooting microwaves at him. Another idea he go from the Internet. No one around him suffers from these problems and no matter how ridicules his theory’s are we can not convince him of his problems. Trying to just drives him further away and causes arguments. Right now my parents are trying to sell their home of 32 years and move to another state in a hope that a change of scenery will help. I know he will probably hate me if I did this but is there anyway I can get him some help without his consent. This has already torn the family apart and I am at my wits end. It is starting to cause other problem with some of my siblings including myself. Everyone is always so depressed. Please help.

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Answer:

Sadly, the first thought that comes to my mind is that your brother should be evaluated by a psychiatrist (a medical doctor specialized in mental illness) for possible psychosis and/or paranoid schizophrenia. The noises he is experiencing (that no one else experiences) are possibly auditory hallucinations, and the odd and improbable explanations he has come with to explain those noises he is hearing are possibly delusions (fixed irrational beliefs that cannot be shaken with logic). Both auditory hallucinations and delusions are hallmarks of schizophrenia, which is a neurological condition as much as it is a ‘mental’ disease. There are other possible explanations (including drug addiction and/or other ‘organic’ problems) to be considered as well. Really – only a qualified psychiatrist can sort out the possibilities and offer coherent and helpful treatment. There are multiple well tolerated medications which are useful in treating schizophrenia and related causes of psychosis (if in fact that is what is happening here). It might significantly benefit your brother to be prescribed such treatments. Please get him evaluated as soon as you can.

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