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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: My friend has suffered some sort of mental break...


 Threshold13 - Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:08 pm

I have a good friend, 29/f mother of two, who up until two days ago had no issues that I know of (I know her quite well and have dealt with mental illness / depression in friends before). We were talking the other night and all of the sudden she freaked out. For the past two days she has been extremely depressed; saying that she wants to be alone, crying, suicidal, shes even gone as far as cutting herself. She says she cant function and is having a hard time doing the most basic tasks. She keeps saying she wants to run away from her family.

Her mother was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and was never successfully treated. She was also a drug addict, abusive, and ended up committing suicide. To my knowledge my friend has never exhibited these traits.

If anyone can help I would be extremely grateful. I convinced her to schedule an appt. with her PCP.
 Dr. E. Seigle - Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:11 pm

Dear Threshold 13,

You are a good friend. I would also encourage you to ask your friend to obtain a full psychiatric evaluation from a recommended psychiatrist. She can get a name from her PCP, your local community mental health center, or your local hospital medical staff or their colleagues. With your friend's mother's history, her condition may represent something very serious and urgent. Good luck, try to help her to be seen by the psychiatrist ASAP! If it's going to be awhile, you might ask her if she's thought about suicide, or had a plan, or is worried she might do this: if she indicates thoughts of suicide, or a plan, or a past attempt, or you can ask to take her to your local hospital emergency room or to see her PCP immediately to assess her for suicide risk. Some people have thoughts about suicide but they are clear that they wouldn't act upon it, and this is less concerning. Her mother's suicide puts your friend at a higher risk. Asking her about suicide doesn't make people do it; it shows them you are not afraid and care and are interested in how they feel. If she is suicidal, she may need to be hospitalized if they feel that she is at significant risk. Assessment is important as soon as possible. Good luck!

-Eliot Seigle MD

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