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Support for a partner who has been diagnosed as mentally ill

My partner, aged 66, has been diagnosed with a delusional disorder.  Not sure when it started, but may have been seven years ago or earlier.

She was in a Community Mental Health Program which in my view did not provide satisfactory treatment.

She does not realize she is mentally ill.  Now taking medication for the delusional disorder (diagnosed by several psychiatrists) but how can I persuade her to have further treatment as she probably needs therapy to have any chance of getting better?

Currently, she is not being treated by a psychiatrist.

Since her delusions centre on some religious issues, it may be best if she consults with someone from our own religion?  I share her religious belief.  There does not seem to be a psychiatrist available from our Faith for several reasons, but I may be able to find a clinical psychologist.  Her GP can manage the medication.

Why is so little know about delusional disorders?

 

17 REPLIES 17

Re: Support for a partner who has been diagnosed as mentally ill

Hello @Patrick 

It is a tough one when faith + MI collide, my husband had psychotic depression as part of his BPii crisis which involved a religious delusion, the probable difference in his situation was that his delusion was causing him distress. The person in our faith he saw whilst being kind had no understanding whatsoever of psychiatric issues. Some faiths do now provide clergy on training in relation to this, however most of this is more "first aid" or recognising MI and not the skills required to treat serious conditions. "Lack of insight" is the medical term for when patients do not believe they have a problem.

 

Little is known about many neurological/psychiatric disorders including traumatic brain injury. The main focus of present treatment is symptomatic relief.

Re: Support for a partner who has been diagnosed as mentally ill

@Patrick  Hi Patrick and welcome to the forums and Hi @Darcy  how are you going Smiley Happy? this is an interesting topic religious delusions. Patrick I have schizoaffective disorder originally diagnosed as bipolar 1 and some of my delusions are religious. It concerns a totally different religoin from one that I was brought up in .... it is very weird to say the least. These delusions have calmed down alot since I have been on medications and seeing a psychiatrist (who btw is not that religion concerned ... which I think is a good thing for me anyway).

 

Personally I don't thnk having a psychiatrist of the same religion is a necessity. What is a necessity is finding a great, compatible psychiatrist. These can be hard to find. I hope this helps a bit. I wish you and your partner luck. greenpea

Re: Support for a partner who has been diagnosed as mentally ill

Thank you Darcy and Greenpea for your thoughts, both very useful.

All the best,

Kind Regards

Patrick

Re: Support for a partner who has been diagnosed as mentally ill

Welcome to the forums @Patrick, it sounds like you are incredibly supportive of your partner, however, it can be hard when they don't understand their diagnosis. Do you have a trusted GP that you can get to talk to her and also recommend additional services? 

Re: Support for a partner who has been diagnosed as mentally ill

Dear Ali11,

 

Thank you for your message.  I did this once before with my wife's GP and it took a long time to convince him, as he did not understand, strange isn't it?  Now she has a new GP and I am not sure I want to go through that process again as it was very stressful as I had to do it secretly to avoid causing any arguments.

When I mentioned someone from our Faith, I meant a professional health worker by the way.

Now just taking one day at a time, however, yes it is very hard when the person who is sick has no insight into their illness, while you can see that if they did accept treatment including therapy they might get better. 

 

Agree it is not easy to find the right psychiatrist - even if a psychiatrist is caring and knowledgeable, he/she still has to choose the right approach for the patient.   It seems that a very gradual process of therapy is needed, first building a rapport with the patient who may be very reluctant to give up their delusions?   A psychiatrist told me that the cause of a delusional disorder may be "due to the interactions between genetic predisposition and environmental factors and stressors leading to chemical imbalances and physiological changes in the brain. "  If that is the case however, would it be possible to find a medication to reverse the damage?  

 

Kind Regards

Patrick

Response to a friend who has Bipolar Affective Disorder

Dear Friends,

 I have an old friend who is about 55 years old, has Bipolar Affective Disorder according to a diagnosis by psychiatrists, also paranoid and sometimes delusional.  He has no insight into his illness and does not cooperate with treatment.  He emails me a lot sometimes, threatening me with revenge since he thinks I am responsible for his "incarceration" in a locked mental ward where he has been 2-3 times in the past few years.

He has threatened me a number of times with extreme forms of violence but it is mainly just words(I think) nonetheless, I did ring the police a few times as advised.  He found out about this I think using Freedom of Information.

He asks me periodically by email who was responsible for putting him in hospital and even made an application to VCAT to complain about his treatment in hospital.  The hospital team provided him with a detailed report (which he shared voluntarily with me) which explained the circumstances of his hospitalization, but he does not seem to accept this report.

When he writes to me by email he abuses me constantly and he blames other people for his problems, as well as myself.  All of his problems have been caused by someone else he thinks and he is very bitter about it.

He also has concealed his location and it would be hard for someone (such as a case manager if he has one) to find him.

How should I respond?

Ignore it and stop communicating?

Report the matter to his case managers at the hospital if his case has not been closed and just leave it in their hands?

Provide him with some "tough love" by telling him the truth about what happened, occasionally?   This could be a risky strategy though as it would probably make him very angry?

Any other ideas?

Please note that I do not want, in any way, to punish him.  However, he is a sick person and very much needs professional medical help.  I do not know if he will ever accept or seek medical help though unless it is forced on him (if he can be found).  

He is divorced - his marriage, unfortunately, fell apart because of his mental illness.

While I am not responsible for him - he is not a relative - I do feel concerned for him as a friend, even though he now considers me as his enemy.

 

Kind Regards

Patrick

 

 

Re: Response to a friend who has Bipolar Affective Disorder

Hi @Patrick,

Sorry to hear your friend is also going through some difficulties. This must be concerning for you as a friend but can also be very overwhelming. While you mentioned you do not have a responsibility for his care, it is normal to feel you want the best support for your friend, whether that includes some 'tough love' or some additional case manager support. Does your friend have a close relative or other 'neutral' party that you could get in touch with about your concerns? How would you feel about reporting his behaviour to them?

 

Re: Support for a partner who has been diagnosed as mentally ill

We're sorry to hear that you had to convince your past GP @Patrick and can see why you'd be reluctant again. We can see that you are trying your best to help your wife understand her condition, does your place of worship have any referrals to health services or are they connected to any hospitals that you can seek a medical professional?

Re: Response to a friend who has Bipolar Affective Disorder

Thank you, good advice.

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