Hello. I am having hard time with my wife, she has some serious diagnosed paranoia and chronic anxiety. She has started to be paranoid about anything I say, like nothing is ever true that I am telling her. And now the problem has aggravated to explosive bursts of anger, and I am losing my hope, I don’t know how to cope with her, I am always “walking on eggs”. She thinks that everyone is against her, and now it includes me, as well. I love my wife and I do not want to give up. How can I deal with person who has this kind of problems without making her upset, and how can I be supportive in a way she actually believes that I do care and want to help her? Thank you for your answers, in advance.

A: Thanks for writing in with your question. The short answer: if you meant that she has “diagnosed” paranoia, then you need to get involved in her treatment, but if you meant to say “undiagnosed,” then you need to help her get into treatment. The latter is obviously more complicated.

If she is seeing a therapist or psychiatrist already, I would let her know that you would like to attend some sessions with her so that you can learn how to be more supportive. You could even call the treatment provider yourself to express the same thing, although, understand that they won’t tell you anything about her treatment without her permission. That’s why it would be best to go with her.

If she is not already in treatment, it can be very difficult to get someone with anxiety and paranoia to get help, but if you love her, you will try. You might start by talking with her medical doctor to get some guidance and referrals, as well as your insurance company so you will know who is covered. It might also be helpful to contact the closest chapter of NAMI to get information, support and resources.

If all else fails and her paranoia gets extreme or she begins losing touch with reality, you might need to take her to the ER to be evaluated, or at least call your local crisis line for help.

You are in a difficult situation and I hope that your wife gets some help and you are able to save your marriage.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts