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Sister Have Schizophrenia?

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My younger unmarried sister thought that she is married with an unseen person and she feels and talks him mostly. I m here for my sister’s problem. Don’t understand what kind of problem she had and what sort of treatment should given to her. Some says that she has schizophrenia and some says that it is schizotypal. Actually we have no reliable doctor here and also our family not support us, some members are not trying to understand that she has any problem. They thought that she is acting or something like that for some unknown reason. Some of the immediate family members thought that this mental stage will recover itself as time passes.

She is an educated montessori teacher for 6 years, unmarried having no other emotional relation. Suddenly left her job 2 months before with the reason that everybody of my co workers were against me and don’t want me to job there. Now her condition is that she thought herself married with somebody which cannot be seen by any one. He give her commands in her mind how to live and she left the job because he ordered her. One day she told me that i m 2 months pregnant having 8 kids without the person who married me touched me. She feel her all the time that he is with her, she is talking him most of the time while watching any wall.

We talk to a psychiatrist and he advised to give her medicines for about one year and she should be admit in the hospital for early treatment. Now nobody in our family want to give her any kind of drug for such a long time and me myself against to admit her in hospital. Kindly advise me what to do? Is this schizophrenia or schizotypal? what kind of treatment she needs? and most important is this thing curable?? I will be very thankful to u please help us. kindly tell me what is the criteria to know is the doctor reliable or not? she saw the same person (now she thought married with) since an year, when an year back she told me about it that i saw him somewhere in the market or in any public transport i said that its all ur illusions but now she saw or feel him in her home, as she said. The other problem is that if some doctor suggests any medicines then how to make her agree to take the meds, i tried to give her some sleeping pills and she refused. She thought herself perfectly well. Also want to know that is the situation needs hospitalization??

You are dealing with a challenging though very common situation. You sister may have schizophrenia. She is clearly delusional. She has imagined that she is married to a person who no one can see. She apparently is aware of his presence and claims to be able to see him. She also takes commands from him about how she should behave.

I do not know whether she has schizophrenia or schizotypal personality disorder because I do not have enough information to offer a diagnosis. A doctor who met with her in person would be better able to judge what she may be suffering from. What is clear is that she is delusional and is refusing help because she does not believe anything is wrong. It’s very common for people with schizophrenia and other psychotic-based disorders to not be aware that they’re experiencing symptoms. Their lack of awareness can make it very difficult to convince them to seek help. Why would they seek help if they believe nothing is wrong?

You sister could benefit from antipsychotic medication. This type of medication can stop her from believing in things and people that are not real. It can stop her delusions and can help restore her to her “old self.” Antipsychotic medication may not “cure” her but it has the potential to greatly improve her life. Psychiatrists prescribe these types of medications. This is the kind of doctor she needs to see.

My suggestion is that you do what you can to get her into treatment and to take medication. Is there a way you can convince her to get help? Could your family convince her? Is there anyone in the family who could persuade her to see a psychiatrist for an evaluation? This is what she needs. Otherwise, if she is experiencing psychosis related to schizophrenia or another similar psychotic disorder, her symptoms may only intensify. She may even become so delusional or paranoid that she becomes a danger to herself or others.

Tell her that the medications can help her feel better. Explain to her that you are worried for her safety and you are trying to do what you can to make sure she is safe and well. Express to her your concern for her well-being and that medication and treatment by a mental health professional is a way for her to feel “normal” again. Utilize the help of your family or friends if you believe it will convince her to attend treatment. As I mentioned above, your situation is challenging but with your help and continued attempts to get her into treatment there is good chance she can stabilize. Please write again if you have any additional questions.

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