Dear Desperate mom, I understand your concern. Post-traumatic stress disorder may not be the primary problem. Your daughter seems to be experiencing a psychotic episode. Psychosis is a break from reality. It’s associated with disorders such as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Religious delusions are common among individuals with psychosis.
The fact that she doesn’t think she needs treatment is also very common among people with psychosis. Psychosis causes individuals to be confused, disorganized and frightened.
Your daughter needs immediate, emergency assistance. If you cannot convince her to go to the hospital, then another option is to call the local emergency mental health crisis team. Check the white pages to see what services are available in your community. The mobile crisis team, will come to your home to perform an evaluation. If they believe that she requires hospitalization, they will provide the arrangements.
If nothing else works, then call the police. Involving the police should be a “last resort” option. If they believe that your daughter is a danger to herself or to someone else, they can forcibly escort her to the hospital for an evaluation.
Coercing an individual into a mental health evaluation or hospitalization is never the ideal situation but you must do what is necessary to protect your daughter. When people are psychotic, they may do things that they normally wouldn’t do. It is a high-risk situation.
Finally, I would encourage you to reach out to your local National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) support group. Virtually every community has a NAMI presence. Contact them and ask for support and guidance. They can assist you in the process of helping your daughter. Many of the NAMI members are seasoned veterans of the mental health system. They can tell you how it works and what to expect.
If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to write again. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog