Alcohol Making My Wife Psychotic

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My wife (of 30 years) is an alcoholic, as her mother was. She has presently been drinking, she has about 12 hiding places. The alcohol makes her psychotic. She doesn’t know yet that I know she is drinking. Currently, we have a friend and his fiance living with us. Recently, from the drinking, she has turned against me although we haven’t had any issues in our marriage. She is telling my friend how she wants me to do, has said so a few times and “why doesn’t he hurry up and have a heart attack”. Talks terrible about me and has said terrible falshoods against me to some of her friends – all untrue completely. She recently has come to delusions that my friend and she have something emotional together and have had sex, but this has not happened. She talks to him about how she likes to give BJs and has some men she can get money from (?). She is buying alcohol daily right now and where she is getting the money, I don’t know – but I suspect it may be through sexual favors.

This false relationship with my friend scares him and as she tries to get him to do something, she either screams, hits him then goes away. He goes back up to her to tell her that he and she have not done or have anything. She looks at him and says “I have no idea what you are talking about.” This is happening all the time right now through this week. My friend, at the same time is voice recording all of this. I just don’t konw what to do. There is more that I am not willing to talk about right now. I do think she needs to be commited for her pyschotic behavior and to dry out. She has come to be able to lie with such comfort, I don’t know if she knows what is real or not.

A. If your wife is engaging in behavior that makes her a danger to herself or others, then she would likely meet the criteria for an involuntary commitment (though it varies state-to-state). The only way to know for certain would be to have her evaluated at a psychiatric hospital. Understandably, she may not voluntarily go the hospital. In that case, the alternative would be to call the police or a local crisis team. The police will take her to the hospital if they believe she needs to be evaluated or if they are concerned about her health or wellbeing. The local crisis team can come to the home and evaluate her psychological condition. I would recommend a local crisis team instead of the police, if possible, but you must do what is necessary to avert a crisis.

My sense is that even if she currently does not meet the criteria for an involuntary commitment, her situation may worsen. At this point, I would recommend contacting a local crisis team and discussing your problem with them. They can advise you about how to handle this. I believe that the seriousness of the situation could necessitate emergency assistance. The fear is that she may accidentally harm herself or another person, because of her high level of intoxication.

The crisis team can assist you with an emergency but you also need to deal with her longstanding problem of alcoholism. You should contact an interventionist or a family therapist who specializes in helping family members deal with an addict. Not getting this may mean that you are enabling her to continue her dangerous behavior. You do not want to enable her behavior in any way. If she cannot or will not stop drinking, then it usually is up to family members to intervene. It is a complicated problem and I recommend that you seek professional help. I hope that you can find the help that you and your wife need. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Jan 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Alcohol Making My Wife Psychotic. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/01/07/alcohol-making-my-wife-psychotic/