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Ask Dr. SchwartzAsk Dr. Schwartz:
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

What's the Best Option?

Tue, Oct 2nd 2012

A childhood friend and I have reconnected over the past few years. A few years ago she told me about some hallucinations she’s had. When I suggested that she get mental help, she shied away from me a bit and did not open up about some of her issues for a while. Recently though, she’s started communicating her “deeper” issues again, and I am sincerely concerned.

She’s had hallucinations of experiencing things that don’t really happen (think aliens, demons, fairies), but she’s also having delusions that she IS someone else. She honestly believes she is a fictional character in her spirit, but trapped in her body. Recently more “personalities” like that have started speaking to her as well- she can sometimes hear their voices.

She has confided these things to her other family members as well, and she is very upset that no one believes her. I know she has been treated by a doctor for depression because she has a lot of self-loathing, no motivation, fatigue, physical difficulties, dark moods and thoughts of suicide. But her mother and I don’t think that she’s spoken to a doctor about the other stuff, her “beliefs” and hearing voices. She keeps saying she doesn’t want people to think that she’s crazy (and most of the time she seems normal until she goes off the deep end and explains how she is someone else or that a demon spoke to her).

Her family members and I don’t think she’s “crazy,” but we know she needs help because some of the things she’s explaining to us are not normal. Her physical and mental problems have made it difficult for her to hold down a job, so she’s dependant on many other people. She doesn’t really have the money for extensive treatment or medications, and so we’re afraid that she will refuse to seek help simply because she cannot afford it. She has a great home support system, but this isn’t enough as she clearly needs medication and therapy.

Where should we turn?? Are there public services that can help her?

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