Mother is Deteriorating and I Need Help

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hello my name is luke, my mother is going down hill fast including anti social and chucking items away and not eating she has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and other things in life and it is getting to the point where i’m ripping my hair out from stress.I woke up this morning to find the coffee table has been chucked away all my stuff from the lounge room is gone I brought her a new bed and she doesn’t want to sleep in it she sleeps on the lounge from about 10pm to 1pm no movement she doesn’t go out or do anything she won’t help her self or let anyone help her. i’m 20 looking after my mother and the house I have no life. I can’t have a girlfriend and if I have friends over she gets angry at them. what should I do? Move out and let her be by herself? or put her back in mental hospital???

A. While I understand your frustration, I would advise against moving out and “letting her be by herself.” I also don’t think putting her “back in the mental hospital” is advisable or even possible unless there is evidence that she is in grave danger because of her behavior or illness.

You mentioned that she wasn’t sleeping and eating, two signs which may be indicative of a psychotic episode. The fact that she’s not eating may mean that she does need to be in the hospital to protect her safety. If that is the case, then it is imperative that you call emergency services or do what is necessary to ensure that she is evaluated at a hospital.

Your mother needs more help than you or any other family member can offer. That seems clear.

If this is not an emergency situation, then contact the local community mental health center, the local hospital, her doctor if she has one, or any other psychiatric or medical professional who you think could refer you to the proper services. There may be home health care services that could assist in your mother’s care. There may be residential living facilities or group homes in which she could be better cared for by a trained, professional staff. Your goal at this point should be to find the best possible treatment for your mother.

Also consider contacting other family members who may be able to assist you. I hope that you’re able to find the proper assistance for your mother. She is clearly not well and you shouldn’t be managing this problem alone. Utilize the assistance of others if possible. I sympathize with your situation. Caring for a family member with a serious mental illness can be an overwhelming task and few lay people realize this. You almost have to live through it to know what it is like. I know that you did not exaggerate when you said you “have no life” of your own.

Hopefully, your mother will improve. You should see a counselor to help you through this process and period in your life. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 May 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Mother is Deteriorating and I Need Help. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/05/05/mother-is-deteriorating-and-need-help/