She could be experiencing psychosis. Psychosis is a break with reality. She seems to be paranoid and delusional. That’s evidenced by her fear of the neighbors and now members of your family. Psychosis is associated with disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Typically, people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder-type conditions begin experiencing symptoms in their late teens or early 20s. For your mother to develop these conditions later in life, would not be the norm but it also would not be rare.
She could be experiencing an organic brain condition. For example brain tumors, cysts, dementia, certain types of epilepsy, and strokes can all cause psychosis. She was evaluated by a doctor but only blood was drawn. A more thorough evaluation with a specialist is necessary.
You mentioned that your mother occasionally smokes marijuana. Marijuana is a hallucinogenic drug. In the United States, it’s classified as a schedule 1 drug which means that it has a high potential for abuse and no medical value. Studies show that people who use marijuana are at an increased risk for developing psychosis when compared to people who do not use marijuana. It’s possible that your mother’s symptoms are the result of her marijuana use.
Your mother should consult a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor with specialized training in mental illnesses. He or she would be in the best position to determine what’s wrong. Depending on his or her evaluation, the psychiatrist might recommend that she be evaluated by a neurologist. A neurologist is a specialist in brain diseases.
It’s imperative that your mother be evaluated immediately. Go to the emergency room if necessary. Generally speaking, psychosis does not go away on its own. It requires intervention. The sooner the better. She needs help now. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle