Annie’s Mailbox: Cousin’s behavior concerning
November 1, 2010
Dear Annie: How do you get a mentally ill person to see a psychiatrist when he thinks he's perfectly fine?
I have a cousin who immigrated to the U.S. with his family a year ago. I believe he had some issues before they came, but the new environment and financial pressure finally buckled him.
Two months ago, he started interrogating his wife about her hundreds of alleged affairs and other nonexistent misbehavior.
Since then, it has become a daily ritual of verbal and sometimes physical abuse of his wife.
I live 300 miles away and have tried to talk to him over the phone.
When I suggested he see a doctor, he exploded. I feel helpless watching him destroy his family and himself.
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I suspect he is schizophrenic or bipolar, but he refuses to admit he's ill, and I don't know how to get him to seek psychiatric help.
How can we get him to a doctor? Are there other resources available to them to deal with his problem?
— Trying To Help
Dear Trying: You cannot force your cousin to seek medical help, but you can try to protect his wife.
Suggest that she contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233).
She may not realize this resource exists. If she won't call, you should, and ask what you can do to help them.
You also can contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) at 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264).