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Ask A Therapist: Mentally Ill Sister Won’t Seek Psychiatric Help

Q: Hello, six years ago my sister started having aches and pains everywhere. She spends her time running around to hospitals for physical diagnoses. They will not treat her because she has been examined physically and tested millions of times. She is physically fine confirmed by medical Drs. however she still believes that she is physically ill. She says she cannot breathe and believes she has bone cancer. All she talks about is wanting to die but she is not suicidal. She has asked for assistance from myself (I’m her sister) and my father to euthanize her. She was told she had severe anxiety and somatization disorder but she will hear nothing of it. When you try to talk to her she gets very verbally abusive. What can be done to help her get the proper psych help she needs? This has been going on for 5 and a half years.

A: Has your sister had a full psychiatric evaluation with treatment recommendations? If not, that’s the first place to start. Set strong boundaries with her regarding how she treats you. Even though she’s mentally ill, you don’t have to allow her to become emotionally abusive. Watch the complete answer below.

Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW

(Note: When reading this question I laugh at myself having a difficult time deciphering the word somatization. In no way was my giggle meant to minimize the seriousness of this question.)

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