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Can Prescription Drug Use Lead To Delusional Beharior?

Question:

One year ago my older sister was diagnosed with MS. The news sent her on a downward spiral.

For nearly a decade she has been using prescription pain pills to control pain in her neck due to injuries involving forced sex by her husband as well as for severe migraine headaches.

She could have left her husband years ago, but her reasons for staying have to do with lifestyle and the six children (ranging from 13 -19) they have together, and the millions of dollars her father-in-law is worth.

Recently, her doctors strongly suggested that she go into a pain management and a drug detox program. Her behaviors, in recent months, seem delusional if not crazy. I know that her abusive relationship issues are a huge factor as well as the MS diagnosis. could her dependency on narcotics also be a cause of this seeming insanity?

Currently, she is in a dark hole of blame. I have never experienced such a profound sadness surrounding my sister and her life and how horribly she treats our parents. They never laid a hand on us when we were growing up. My father’s only crime was he worked 100 hours a week when we were children. My mother stayed at home and we had many advantages that most of my peers never had growing up.

I guess my hope that, when she sobers up and goes through psychotherapy, she will regain some of the power that she once had and become the person that she once was.

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Answer:

Your sister’s situation is very serious and extremely complex. She has an abusive husband, a drug addiction, six children and, now MS. She has multiple reasons to feel depressed.

In answer to your question about pain medications, the answer is, yes, these pills can most certainly cause delusions and depression. Delusions are not behaviors. Instead, they are ways of thinking that have little to do with reality. Her behavior is her attacking her parents and, probably being verbally abusive to others. At least, that is my guess. She has ten years of abusing those drugs and one wonders how she was able to get a supply of them for ten years? There are many treatments for neck pain that do not involve the use of drugs. In any case, I do not doubt that, after ten years, she is addicted. In my opinion, the medical advice she is getting is correct. She needs to be detoxified from this long addiction for her to be able to manage her MS.

MS is complicated because, 1. It causes depression that must be treated, 2. Its an immune system disease that attacks the covering on the nerves. The cause of MS is not known. However, stress contributes to the worsening of symptoms. She has plenty of stress.

So, its important for the family to understand that her behavior is not totally in her control. That is because of the drug abuse and, now, the MS. She will need a lot of support to help her with detox from pain killers and with the MS, a serious and degenerative disease.

I am sure it is difficult for you and your parents to cope with her anger but the “dark hole” you aptly describe is, in large part, due to drugs and MS.

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Comments
  • Anonymous-1

    I have read that MS and bipolar are common... and that people with MS also can experience delusions and hallucinations.

    Can it also be that maybe not meds but maybe the delusions are just symptoms of the MS ?

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