So, this all started when my boyfriend mentioned to me that our roommate and the girl he’s seeing gossip about him.He says that the girl asks our roommate all sorts of questions regarding him the entire night and have been doing so for over a week, therefore making it impossible for him to sleep. I was never able to hear anything at night even when he says they’re talking at that very moment and he was even 100% sure the neighbors heard it too, saying the neighbors would also talk about the girl gossiping so late at night. A few days ago, he had enough and confronted our roommate, telling him she needs to leave and not to bring her anymore. Our roommate completely denies it and even the neighbors told us, they never hear anything through the walls. Ever since then, my boyfriend has gotten worse saying that he feels like he can read the neighbors thoughts and will be so focused on the voices that only he hears, that he’ll completely ignore any conversation I’m having with him. He smoked pot every day for almost the last 10 years but since his paranoia and behavior, I’ve asked him to stop. It’s only been 2 days since he’s stopped completely and still hears these voices constantly. He’s planned to stop for a month minimum but I don’t know what else I should do. He refused to see a therapist and only confides in me about these things he hears so I don’t want to break his trust. Could it be the pot or something else entirely? Was telling him to stop smoking the right thing to do and what can we do in the meantime to help him make the voices go away…
It’s difficult to know what is causing the voices. Marijuana use has been linked to psychosis. Research has indicated that our brains are not fully developed until around the age of 25. Drug use before the age of 25 could significantly alter the brain chemistry and potentially lead to mental health problems.
The decision to stop using marijuana seems appropriate. The longer that he can abstain from using drugs, the more likely it is that the voices will decrease. However, the damage might have already been done. Only time will tell.
He has refused professional help but that is what he needs the most. The voices might be indicative of the beginning stages of a psychotic episode. If so, then therapeutic intervention could prevent the development of a full-scale psychotic episode.
The best way you can help him is to continue to encourage him to seek professional assistance. He is unwilling to see a therapist but perhaps he would be willing to see a primary care physician. Offer to attend the appointment with him. He might change his mind.
You stated that you do not want to break his trust but it might be necessary. If revealing his symptoms would convince him to seek treatment, then do it. Prompt treatment is imminently important. It could prevent the development of a lifelong, severe mental illness.
You can’t force him to seek treatment but you should do everything within your power to convince him to seek professional help, even if it means breaking his trust. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog