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Medical Any psychologists here? Worried about my mother

  1. Apr 26, 2009 #1
    I'm worried about my mother, and I'm hoping a psychologist or psychiatrist can give me some advice. I'm not sure if this is the correct forum for this, or if it should be moved to general discussion, but I figured this is as good of a place as any.

    My sister was shot and paralyzed two years ago, and for the past year and a half my mother has been taking care of her. Feeding her, doing bowel training, up until recently had to catheterize her, et cetera. All of this has taken quite a toll on my mother, and a few times, I've seen her "snap."

    A few examples:

    1) My sister is hypersensitive around her shoulders, so anything touching them is painful. She describes it as having a permanent sunburn. One day I was sitting with my sister, and my mother accidentally touched my sister's shoulder. My sister said "Ow, be careful" and my mother started laughing. She poked her again and laughed even harder.

    The more my sister begged for her to stop, my mother kept poking her, laughing harder and harder, adding "What are you doing to do about it?"

    When I glared at my mother and suggested she stop, she started yelling at me at the top of her lungs "F*** YOU! YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE!" and so on and so forth.

    2) My sister told me the other day, my mother was in a bad mood, so my sister asked "What's wrong?" My mother responded "You know I blame you. My life sucks and it's your fault." My sister started sobbing, and my mother kept up the abuse, calling her stupid among other things. My sister said "I wish I were dead" and my mother responded "So do I! Die already!"

    In addition, my parents have developed a nasty gambling addiction. It turns out they lost 26,000 dollars last year at the slot machines. Meanwhile, they're having trouble paying their bills, and they've gone deep into credit card debt. That 26,000 wasn't "extra" that they had set aside for entertainment. One day, my mother said she was running to the store real quick to buy some items for the house. She ended up going to Delaware Park instead and spent the money she had taken to buy the items on the slot machines, and came home empty handed.

    I'm not sure what I should do in this situation. My mother obviously is under tremendous stress, and she isn't dealing with it in a healthy way at all. However, she doesn't think she has a problem. She always comes up with some excuse for her behavior. "The slot machines are just a form of entertainment," she says. "Oh, I was just having a bad day" she says about her actions to my sister.

    I think it's a much more serious problem than that. I just don't know how to bring up the situation in a way that will make her understand, without her snapping at me. She probably needs to be on some sort of medication, but I'm not sure if there are any medications for whatever has gone wrong.

    Any suggestions from anybody with some background training? I'm lost here.


    ***EDIT*** I know this forum is not for medical diagnoses, and I'm not looking for a specific diagnosis here. I'm more looking for a general direction, since I can't force her to the doctor. I'm looking for some possibilities on what she has, whether a doctor would help, maybe some ammo I could use to convince her to see somebody. If anybody has a suggestion of several different possible disorders or whatever that she has, that's great, but just some general information about what's going on would be useful. Heck, even just a website or a search term that I could plug into google would be useful, because I'm lost. Thanks again.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 26, 2009 #2

    Math Is Hard

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    This sounds like a situation that a social worker might need to assess.
  4. Apr 26, 2009 #3


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    Your mother needs help dealing with the stress. You can find a lot of support groups on the internet for the family of victims and families and caretakers of disabled people.

    Counseling might be a good idea for your mother. Your family doctor should be able to recommend someone. The hospital probably gave your mother information on these support groups. It's pretty standard.
  5. Apr 26, 2009 #4


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    Wow, Jack21222, sounds like your family is really under a lot of stress, and in turmoil. I think a call to a social worker would really help. Your mother needs a break from time to time.

    So sorry to hear of your troubles - I wish the best for you.
  6. Apr 26, 2009 #5
    Thanks. I just need to figure out a way to get in some help without alienating my family. It sounds like it may be a bit more than just antidepressants can cure.

    I think I'm going to contact somebody from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to see if they'd suggest anybody in particular. They were a tremendous help in the months after the injury, and they must run into this problem often.
  7. Apr 27, 2009 #6
    There's a thing called "In-Home Social Services", I think, and if you can arrange for that they send a caregiver to do all the things your mother currently has to do for your sister. I assume your sister is getting some kind of Social Security for being disabled and I think anyone who qualifies for that also qualifies for IHSS. I'm sure it would take some of the stress off your mother.
  8. Apr 29, 2009 #7
    I think you should take your mother to see a doctor for assessment coz there are a number of reasons for these behaviours. The doctor will take a more thorough history, do physical exams and appropriate investigations before s/he can make a correct diagnosis and help your mother.

    Take care Jack
  9. Apr 29, 2009 #8


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    If you are in the US, you may be able to find out what help resources are available by dialing 211 on your phone. They should be able to let you know of some resources that may be of help.


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