My husband is paranoid. I think he has a mental health disorder. It has gotten worse over the years that he imagines things and even shouts at me. How do I make him see a doctor?
Although you tell us that he has, of late even started shouting at you, there is no hint that he could refuse to accept advice from you or any other person he might have trusted in the past.
In this regard, you might tell him of your concerns to the effect that he seems to have changed over the past few months, and that you are not sure what might be going on and it might be a good idea to seek help. See what he says.
Many are times when such a person might tell you that he has also noticed some changes in himself. He might for instance tell you that he worries about lack of sleep at night, the fact that he has lost some weight and he might even volunteer the fact that he worries about his security.
That you have also noticed something might be a reason for him to trust you even more and to take yours as a sign of concern for his welfare.
If that does not go as well as one hopes, there are other options that would include seeking the assistance of a trusted relative or friend and in many cases, the church can and does play a critical role in getting people to seek mental health support.
From your description, it is possible that like many other people with paranoia, fear is at the centre of the symptoms and many with fear of all sorts turn to the church and to prayer.
Many are the churches that understand the complementary roles played by churches and mental health practitioners.
If all the above fails, then you might need to consult a psychiatrist who would then advise you on the best way forward, remembering that each individual human being presents to mental health services in a different way and only an expert with adequate information can tell you what to do.
In a recent case, a man who had symptoms similar to what your husband seems to have was the subject of an attempt to forcefully “abduct” him to the hospital.
A group of what he called ‘goons’ had been dispatched to sedate and force him to the hospital because of what was said to be a mental disorder, most probably paranoia.
He was able to resist what he later described as a plan to dispossess him of his property, a plot hatched by his first wife and two of her sons!
They had been advised that if they could get the man to a mental hospital even for one day, then the diagnosis of a mental illness would be confirmed and the man would never be allowed to own property!
This level of abuse of psychiatry is partly grounded on ignorance and partly on greed.
To the experienced doctor, therefore, any information brought to him by family members regarding a wife or husband who has recently become paranoid needs collaboration from independent sources.
Many are times when an innocent enquiry of this nature turns out to be a matter of serious legal and social problems. I hope yours is purely a medical matter.
As you can see, there are several different ways of trying to understand how to proceed with this problem, and all I say is that by asking the question, you have made the correct first step. Consult an expert who will help you navigate this potentially difficult territory.
Send your mental health concerns to [email protected]