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Question:

My mother says she hears people talking about her. For instance, she says that my sister calls her names in Spanish and that the neighbors are talking about her. Recently, she attacked my dad for the fact that she thinks that he cheated on her with many women. She called me and told me that he got her by her hands and wouldn’t let go of her.

I spoke with my sister and she told me the whole story. One thing, she takes care of my little one who is 7 months old, and we are concerned that she might hurt her. She takes really good care of her, can’t complaint about that. Another thing, this is not the first time it has happened. It happened to her about 10 years ago.

Please any suggestions of what it might be and what should we do.

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Answer:

From the sound of it your mother has what are called delusions. Delusions are unrealistic and unfounded ways of thinking. From your description, the particular delusions your mother are paranoid in nature. Paranoid delusions have to do with thought that are suspicious in nature.

In addition, your mother reports that she is hearing voices. These are called hallucinations. For example, she hears your sister calling her names and the neighbors talking about her.

The combination of delusions and hallucinations point to a serious mental illness of some kind. Why this happened ten years ago and not again until now has to do with many possibilities. Sometimes stress can bring on the symptoms of a mental illness in a person who has those symptoms only when there is a lot of stress.

Another possibility is that your mother has been prescribed a medication by her doctor that is causing this to  happen. Or, she may be accidentally over dosing on her meds, that is not unusual in some older people.

In addition, it is always possible that her symptoms have to do with the onset of Alzherimers disease. I don’t know her age but it can even happen in a younger person. These types of symptoms can occur in a person who is having mini strokes or multi infact experiences that cause dementia.

The last possibility is that she is secretly drinking or abusing drugs. I am not suggesting that any of this is happening but only that these are possible explanations.

Whatever the causes of these psychotic symptoms, it’s important that your mother be seen by her doctor who might refer her to a psychiatrist. These are serious symptoms and need to be evaluated by her doctors.

I don’t know what to say about her baby sitting. The problem is that she may not make the best judgments when she is with the baby because her thinking is clouded. In other words, she would not do anything intentional to harm her grandchild but may make the wrong decision when babysitting.

Have her seen by her doctor and report these symptoms to him or her.

Best of Luck

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