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How To Handle My Mothers State Of Mind?

Question:

I don’t know where to begin?

My mother is 54 years old and she was recently diagnosed with psychotic Disorder Nos (Not Otherwise Specified). She was admitted to the Psychiatric Ward for 10 days.

We don’t even know when this started. She hears voices and sees people that are not there. She’s always investigating something and thinks that people are always lying to her. Shes just getting worse. Yesterday, she said that something told her to throw away lots of stuff. She then started to cry and said that she knows something is not right in her head. But then she just forgets and believes it’s reality.

I just received a phone call from my sister with whom my mother is staying. My mother cleaned out my sister’s room and threw away all of her working close. My sister is a security guard and needs her uniform.

We really don’t know what to do? Should we tell her what shes feeling is not reality? Should we snap her back when she does all these things, or should we go along with it?

She’s on medication, Seroquel and Celexa.

We feel hopeless, Please help.

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Answer:

I’m assuming, from the way you’ve written your question, that your mother never had these problems before. If that is correct then, at age 54, it is possible that she is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The reason I mention this is that she tells you, when she comes out of her psychosis, even for a few moments, that she knows  something is wrong.

You and your sister need a lot more information about your mother’s illness. It appears to me that you are anxious, worried and confused. Those feeling are very understandable.

Please understand that, while I am sharing some thoughts with you, I cannot make any credible diagnosis. That is why I suggest you: 

1) Bring your mother back to the hospital emergency room because she remains psychotic. Even if they don’t admit her, they can adjust her medications. They can also tell you more about her diagnosis and whether or not it might be Alzheimer’s. A medication adjustment might be all that is needed if this is a matter of reducing her psychotic symptoms. Or:

2) Have your mother see an outside psychiatrist to have her both evaluated  and medicated.

In my opinion, she might be best off in the same hospital emergency room as before.

If she refuses help, you might need to call 911. Clearly, her judgement is impaired and she could get herself into a lot of trouble when left alone.

As for how to handle your mother, it would not be helpful to argue with her or point out that she is being unrealistic. She won’t believe you, anyway, and might even become more suspicious.

I know this is a very difficult situation. You really need a lot more information about your mother, what to expect and how to proceed.

One last point. You and your sister need to work together, cooperatively, to get your mother all the help she needs. There is more to be done than medication alone and you need to find out more about that from the hospital social workers.

Best of luck

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