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?
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