Discussions By Condition: Mental conditions

Please help diagnose my uncle

Posted In: Mental conditions 3 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • October 2, 2007
  • 01:53 AM

My family is pretty sure my uncle (currently age 71) is mentally ill but we are not sure what condition he has because he has refused to ever seek professional help in any form. Here's a rough outline of the symptoms:

1. Social isolation--has lived by himself in virtual isolation for 40 years. Never married, claims he hasn't dated for decades. Has a handful of old friends he visits with every few months, but spends the vast majority of his time alone. Almost never telephones anyone to socialize with them. Accepts visitors occasionally (with a lot of advance notice), but seems on edge during and before all such encounters. Completely self-centered, rarely inquires how others are doing.

2. Anxiety--Occasionally visits at the homes of family members, but claims he suffers a great deal of stress over the smallest interaction. Frequently cancels attending family gatherings at the last minute, without apologizing. Dislikes eating out in restaurants and will not do so unless he is forced to, does not attend sporting or cultural events. Was in a high pressure sales job in his 20's-30's, but quit working around age 40. Since then refused to work any job at all, even low stress employment.

3. Fear of doctors, medicine, health--has refused to see a doctor for any reason, refuses to consider medicine for any ailment. Is very particular about his diet and refuses to eat anything other than healthy food.

4. Paranoia--Is extremely concerned that others, even close family members, are out to injure him in some way, or damage his personal property. Will question everyone's motives over seemingly harmless acts and statements. These symptoms seem to come and go.

5. Anger--Will sometimes lash out at friends and family in explosively angry, abusive verbal outbursts. These outbursts seem to come out of nowhere and most often seem tied in to his various paranoias and lack of trust of people in general. Seems like a completely different person during these outbursts. Will not apologize thereafter, but will simply avoid social contact. If subsequently contacted by the person in question, he will avoid the subject, act as if nothing happened.

6. Routine--Seems stressed if daily routines are in any way interrupted. Checks locks multiple times. Seems to have compulsive gestures, such as rubbing a bowl incessantly with a towel when talking while cooking. Dresses neatly, hoards old books and magazines.

His symptoms seem to be gradually worsening. We are concerned that his increasing instability may lead him to hurt himself or others. The bouts of paranoia in particular concerns me. Is this just OCD or something worse?

Reply Flag this Discussion

3 Replies:

  • Sounds like OCD with some personality issues. http://www.focusas.com/PersonalityDisorders.html
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • October 8, 2007
    • 09:08 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I would just leave him alone, except for the anger issue. Is that new or has he always been that way. If this is a new symptom, his siblings need to tell him they are concerned and want him to be checked out for alzheimer's.:confused:
    Monsterlove 2921 Replies
    • October 14, 2007
    • 08:07 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I would just leave him alone, except for the anger issue. Is that new or has he always been that way. If this is a new symptom, his siblings need to tell him they are concerned and want him to be checked out for alzheimer's.:confused:The angry/paranoid outbursts are definitely not new, but do seem more virulent, when they occur, than before. The main thing that concerns me (and others) is how quickly and dramatically he morphs from a relatively polite, civil persona into a screaming, swearing, brutally sarcastic one during the outbursts. It is almost like he's switching into a new personality. But I can't say for sure that it is a genuine multiple personality, as opposed to just an intense and uninhibited expression of his anger/fear. Perhaps the previous poster is right that it is just OCD with personality disorders, since he seems not to have any other symptoms of schizophrenia. In any event, I no longer feel comfortable with having him be around my kids, so your advice to just leave him alone seems like the way to go.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • October 14, 2007
    • 00:21 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
Thanks! A moderator will review your post and it will be live within the next 24 hours.