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Distressed husband needs help


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Five days ago my wife was diagnosed as having a psychtoic episode and has been prescribed aripipprazole (Abilify) by her psychiatrist. The psychiatrist has said it is very likely this episode has been caused by slimming pills she has been taking for a prolonged period of time which has resulted in her having high levels of seratonin and caffeine in her system.

The problem is, over the past 6-12 months she has developed an obsession, bordering on pathological, for the lead singer in a pop band.

Following this psychotic episode four days ago she has told me that, after seven blissfully happy years together, she wants to separate because she feels she cannot love me the way she did because she knows she would happily leave me if the opportunity ever arose of her being with this pop singer. She realises that it is just a fantasy and the chances of it coming true are zero. Yet she wants to be independent and single just in case her fantasy might come true.

I need to know how long it is going to take for the Abilify to start to work and her to realise she is living in a fantasy world that can never happen and for her to realise she has made the biggest mistake of her life.

Also, will the Abilify stop these fantasies? Her psychiatrist said the drug will undo the damage done by the high levels of seratonin and caffeine in her system and diminish the thoughts she's having but I'm not sure if it is going to change the way she thinks.

I can wait a long time because I love her more than life itself, but how long will that be?

It was only four weeks ago she gave me a valentines card say 'when we married it was for better or worse....I couldn't have done any better and you couldn't done any worse'. And every family member and friend of hers I've spoken to have said she loves me more than anything. Our relationship has always been so strong before she got ill so her psychosis is the reason for this.

Please help me

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Hell, Tim, and welcome.

I'm sorry you are feeling such distress. :( I don't know the answers to your questions about Abilify, unfortunately. I do know that it can take some trial and error to find the right medications and the most effective dosage. Is your wife also seeing a talk therapist? I imagine this would be an important part of the healing process for her as well.

I sense your upset and wanted to offer my support. I hope you have some support there for yourself as well. This situation must be difficult and confusing for you. We are here to listen.

Take care.

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Tim, has she stopped the diet pills? And, was she taking them a year ago, when the rock-star obsession was developing?

A fair number of substances, and a lot of different life situations, can mess with a person's head enough to tip them over into psychosis. It doesn't have to be a permanent transition; they can come back, with help.

I can't make you any promises about how long it takes; it varies too much from person to person. At the moment, you probably have to treat her as mentally incompetent, as a patient (remember where that word comes from) that you just have to tend ("... in sickness and in health.") Of course, there's no way you can go on doing that forever. Perhaps you could discuss it with her doctor, some, since you are her husband? I don't know what they'll tell you, but at least they might be able to tell you when she has finally stabilized on the new medication.

After that, you might have to treat her as competent again, and if she still has the conviction that you need to divorce, you might have to let her have her freedom. Unfortunately, there's no way to protect our loved ones against their own bad decisions, much as we might like to.

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Thanks for your concern and advice guys. I emptied the slimming pills into the bin the day we got home from the hospital when she was diagnosed.

After starting this thread with my original post, I needed a few days away and so went to stay at my parents place to calm down. I had reached a point where I thought I was going to need some psychiatric help and could barely look at my wife because of the hurt she had caused me, let alone look after her! Although her family had been in touch, I did feel like 99% of the burden of caring for her was on me while I was being rejected by her

I feel a lot better now and ready to take care of her again. But, only nine days after my wife had her psychotic episode, she now seems back to her normal self. Except that her feelings for me haven't returned.

Is it physically possible that somebody could have recovered so swiftly from something like this? I'm asking because if it is possible, and she really has recovered after a few days of medication, then I have got to face the reality of my marriage being over a lot sooner.

I have been told by a couple of the mental health care visitors that rejecting loved ones, particularly partners, is a common symptom. Is this true?

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It's going to be impossible for us to reassure you about a particular drug reaction your wife had, Tim. How much of it was purely the diet pills and how much of it was something she felt, is completely within her. You don't know; the doctors don't know; I don't know. The only person who can tell us, after she has had time to come to grips with things, is your wife. I would recommend some counseling, for her and for you two as a couple. Perhaps you might learn what the pop star represents to her, and for all you know it might be something you have that she isn't seeing, or used to have and could have again.

I guess it's possible that if the onset was sudden, the recovery might be, as well. That's more a question for her medical doctor and psychiatrist, though.

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