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Mother believes she infested with parasites :((93 Posts)
Where to start with this one? I honestly don't know. Just before Christmas my mum was getting quite run down with taking my grandad to endless hospital appointments, and she said that she got bitten in a taxi by a tick or something.
Shortly after, she became convinced the house was infested with fleas, despite no evidence. For the first few weeks, I thought this was true, but after a while began to have my doubts. As the months have gone by, she then became convinced it was scabies. The latest is she's convinced she's infested with parasites/something called round worm. She believes she has multiple infestations from different sources (the taxi, my brother's friends, my Dad's customers, even our pet rabbit!)
Having done our own research over the months (me, my Dad and brother also live here) her symptoms match a condition known as formication. It's where people have the sensation of bugs crawling on them, collect samples, suspicious of doctors, ruin their skin etc. All mum's symptoms. She's collected hundreds of what she claims are samples of these things, but the majority look like lint or house bugs. She believes everyone in the world suffers from parasites and that they are the cause of all major illness, cancer, viruses, aches and pains.
She wears a hair net, barely eats (has lost 3 stone), wears a mask etc. We've tried having reasonable conversations with her suggesting it could be something different to what she thinks - not necessarily mental, but perhaps nerve related. These all result in arguments, or her crying hysterically. She even tells us 'Don't say it' if we suggest it's anything other than parasites and starts crying. Last week I had an argument with her because she was rejecting every suggestion, there was a hair on a glass and she was screaming at me that it was a worm.
There is no talking to her. She has seen two specialists so far, one a Scabies expert, the other infectious diseases. Neither could find anything, though they only examined her, didn't do tests. She is seeing another specialist in London soon, but her long term plan is to go to Germany, which she believes is the holy grail of medicine. She believes that in Germany they will instantly know the cause of her illness. She says Germany is her last resort, yet she's barely tried anything. My Dad found her a company that does Lyme's disease tests, she found a company online that tests stool samples, but hasn't done that. She's been to the GP maybe twice in six months? She claims it's because she has no faith in any of them.
She has threatened suicide and even said that she has 'plans' to kill herself before Christmas. I'm really worried about her, but also struggling to cope with the situation mentally myself. She wakes me up every night hoovering and showering at 3 in the morning, which means I'm sleep deprived at work. Same for my Dad who works 17 hour days. The sleep deprivation probably makes my anxiety worse.
Until recently I was practically living with my boyfriend, but he's had to leave the city lately as his mum is terminally ill and may not have long. That was my escape and I could just about cope, but no more. I go out with friends as much as possible, but I've lost my spark. I feel crippled by anxiety, heart palpitations, very low mood, tearful. Not myself. I know it might seem selfish to be concerned about my mental health, but as a family we are all feeling the strain. My plan is to move out soon, as coming back to live at home was just a temporary measure whilst I found my feet post uni. My leaving might reduce my anxiety, but it's not going to solve the situation in the long run.
The question is, what do I do? I've spoken to a friend who is a health care professional and she thinks we need her admitted in a hospital so things like brain tumour etc. can be ruled out. She refuses to accept even the possibility it's any illness aside from parasites and says she's planning on suing the NHS once she finds out what's wrong with her in Germany.
Sectioning is obviously an option, but I know she would hate us forever if we did that. She hates my Dad already because she thinks he's poisoned our minds against her. Not true, as we're both adults and reached this conclusion based on her behaviour. She constantly snipes at him and gives no consideration for the long hours he's working. She believes that I've become a light sleeper recently because I too am infested... nothing to do with the fact that she's hoovering outside my room at 4 in the morning, not to mention the crippling anxiety that accompanies hearing her constant ranting to herself.
Any advice would be appreciated. I try and keep to myself at home, but she comes in my room, rants and raves. Also says horrible things about me and my brother sometimes, and is awful with my dad
As a side note, she's never had a severe mental health crisis before. She can be a difficult person, is very aggressive and opinionated. Sometimes cold, other times warm hearted. She has a problem with hoarding (the house is shocking, and she only recently has started to get rid of a few things.) I get rid of things in secret. She had a breakdown during the menopause and left home for a few days, plus was very negative about my Dad during this time. Aggression aside, she has been mostly OK in the last few years up to now. The point being, whilst I wouldn't say she was of a completely sound mind, she doesn't have an established mental health condition.
I would give anything for this to go away, but it sounds like there's no end in sight
Sorry, it sounds like she's suffering from psychosis, could you get the gp
to do a home visit if she won't go to them? Otherwise 111 maybe able to advise how to access psychiatric assessment?
I'm sorry you're going through this as it sounds really awful and scary.
I'm not sure how much advice I can give you but I didn't want to read and run.
It sounds as if your mother is having some kind of mental break.
my brother is very unwell mentally and one of his many symptoms is that he feels like things are crawling on his skin.
Can you encourage your mum to go back to the gp? Or even to Germany?
You cannot get her sectioned even if you wanted to, that is for doctors and a court to do believe me we tried for months to get my brother sectioned as a danger to himself and others, nothing happened,
Just so you know if she does end up sectioned it will be because she's very unwell and not because of anything you do or don't do.
Has your mum got access to the Internet? I'm wondering if she's part of any groups maybe Facebook that might be feeding this?
Google morgollens, are there other things she's paranoid about?
Really I think the best thing for you to to is make plans to move out, can you and your brother share a place?
You can still support your mum with whatever this is but it's better for your mental health to have a bit of distance and a good night's sleep.
I know how hard it is to be worrying constantly and not getting a full night's sleep.
If she is threatening suicide she needs mental health evaluation asap.
I am so sorry this is happening
It does sound as if sectioning might be necessary
Is it possible to get the GP to come by?
I completely understand that you’re worried about your own mental health. I do think this needs to be handed to professionals.
The doctors who saw her, I wonder if they made any notes about her state of mind? Those might have been passed to her GP?
You are having palpitations so I’m wondering if you need medical attention. I have anxiety and did have palpitations, there’s def some meds that can help take the edge off a bit.
I must go to bed but do keep posting if it helps, will keep this on watch.
Agree with pp that she need mental health evaluation.
How to get that for her when she doesn't think she's mentally unwell is another thing.
All you can do is try, call gp, get referral to mental, see if they do home visits, expect to wait 6-8weeks for first appointment and try to get her to it.
I'm sorry for you op, it's a long hard road you're on. 🌸
Try and speak to her GP surgery. And move out, you must fasten your own life jacket first.
Whilst it’s noble of your dad to be working all these hours, presumably to provide for everyone, perhaps he needs to reduce them so he can be a proper partner to your mum and get her some help and support.
Don’t encourage her to go to Germany, if she doesn’t get the answers she wants while she’s out there, who knows what will happen. Trying to navigate a foreign health and legal system will be 10x worse than this already is.
GP or social services, persistently, over and over again until something gets sorted,
I don't live in the UK but agree a mental health evaluation is necessary. She is having delusions and has expressed suicidal ideation. This could all be due to a severe depression with psychosis. Waiting six to eight weeks is too long. Can you talk to her gp? He/she can certainly listen to what you are observing without breaching any confidentiality. You need help in formulating a plan of action. Things could become much worse quickly in a situation like this.
Please take care of yourself. All the best with this. It is so hard. 🌸🌼🌸
This is very common for those with mental health issues and often drug issues (which of course cause MH issues in turn). Meth mites for instance. Not saying she specifically has a drug problem but just the parasite type sensation is very prevalent for MH. Not necessarily psychosis but something to worry about all the same
Hi everyone and thanks for the responses. It really helps to speak about it. For the first month of this I didn't tell anyone. I then told my boyfriend, and just recently a good friend who is a nurse. It's difficult to open up to people in real life, because I was initially worried (silly as it sounds) that people might think she did have fleas/scabies etc and that they'd worry I had it too. Even if friends understand it's entirely mental, it's kind of hard to tell many, as people can be judgemental. I suppose I feel it's bad for her, as some of my friends have met her when everything was normal, and I feel like they'd be so shocked and not be able to comprehend what's going on now.
I have thought about talking to the GP. My only concern is that our GP isn't the best (I had to beg for a referral to get my tonsils looked at when they were causing me to choke on my food, for example.) However, it might be useful in terms of having some idea of an action plan.
I went to university in London, and that's where I've been planning to return to. There are lots more options in my field there, but I returned home to get some money behind me... I've stayed longer than I anticipated, probably because of a combination of longterm bf living here and comfort, but now I've never been more desperate to go back. It is a little far away though, so that's a slight worry.
I think the main problem with this is her absolute conviction that she's not mentally unwell. On the rare occasions she talks about other topics, she's quite rational and normal. She has always been an 'I am right person' to the extent of screaming at me when I was a child if I had a political disagreement with her. I think this part of her personality is coming out even more now.
I do think on some level she's afraid to go anywhere because she knows her belief could be disproven. What I really need more than anything is a doctor that can do some Physical tests on her, even exam her samples etc. I think that's the only way she might be swayed, and even then, I'm not hopeful.
Someone mentioned the Internet - she's not on Facebook, but she seems to have gleaned a lot of info from it, and it's how she's self diagnosed. Though it's probably worth noting that physically she doesn't resemble anyone with scabies/round worm etc. She's also in contact with a woman who sells pesticide products on the Internet and has fed her lots of information and is an enabler, as far as I'm concerned.
As for getting a GP to visit. That sounds like a good idea, but I dread to think how she'd react. I am a bit worried about her turning violent, though so far her aggression has been mostly verbal. I even worry about her harming our lovely rabbit, though I pray she would not do that
My best hope at the moment is that this specialist in London (private Dr) might be able to help... but then he's not a mental health expert, he's an expert on parasites. She's already saying some negative things about the appointment though, so I'm not overly hopeful.
I find everything so frustrating, and have tried getting her to see reason myself. My brother is the one that, very sensibly and logically, continues to try and make her see reason, in a gentle way. But I honestly thing it makes things worse, as she gets more depressed and starts ranting and becomes very angry.
I would get your mum to GP or go yourself and ask what help is available. Hoarding, obsession with cleaning, fear of contamination etc could possibly be signs of OCD getting a grip on her, or it could be another psychiatric condition. It must be absolutely awful for you to feel so helpless and be stuck in this situation. My advice is that this is way beyond what you can control or deal with in the family and she needs medical help. It might sound unthinkable to have your mum in hospital etc but these services exist for these situations. There is possibly a mental health crisis team that the GP can put you in touch with and things could go from there. Don't despair - professionals should be able to help a lot with this, which will help your mum and take this unmanageable burden from your shoulders. You might need to insist and really push to get all the help you need for her - this is the best action you can take so go for it. Good luck and come back to the thread if you need more support.
I think you need to be very very certain yourself about whether you think there is any credibility in the idea that she has any parasites or a skin condition and then stick.
If you are certain that she is fine and that this is all unfounded then you need to stop any encouragement with parasite doctors or specialists in infectious diseases, etc. What you are doing by going along with these ideas is collaborating with her delusions, which affirms her beliefs.
If this is a manifestation of a mental health problem then every parasite doctor on earth could exhaust every single diagnostic test going and she will still remain convinced that they are all wrong. If she sees the doctor in London and all the tests are negative then she will tell herself that doctor is simply rubbish and she must find a different one, and then another one and another one and another one.
It sounds as though this problem has already become so significant that it is interfering with her ability to engage with normal life and activities. She needs help, but it is not in the form of any parasite doctors, it’s going to be a mental health team.
You and your family all need to be very united and singing from the same hymn sheet with regards to this, she can’t be hearing one angle from one person and something different from another.
Poor you (all). It sounds absolutely intolerable.
She's obviously had ongoing MH issues all along and for some reason this has recently tipped into full-blown... whatever. Have you spoken to her GP? I think you need to spell it out, no holds barred. She is in urgent need of intervention.
I'd say move out - unless she moves out first ie she is sectioned. As a pp says, you have to fasten your lifejacket first - as it is, two of you are now suffering tatty MH. That's one too many - it's not your crisis.
Hoarding is complex but is generally a marked psychological dis-ease, often linked to significant loss/bereavement. It is also compulsive - and her current symptoms could come within the compulsive remit. Just a thought.
Anyway, she needs urgent assessment. I'd really push for that iiwy - MH is hardly a priority for the NHS so you'll (all) have to put your entire weight into it and not give up.
I don't envy you. I just googled this which may shed some light on how you can approach this. I suggest you get in touch with MIND to get effective support for yourself.
I do feel for you. Take care
You need to get her checked for Lyme's.
You said all this started with a tick bite. This is what happens in kymes
Name change fail, OP.
Sorry about your mum. I used to get this weird stringy mucus on my eyeballs and when I googled it I found myself in a place where people are convinced they're colonised by all kinds of bugs and organisms, which we are I guess, but these were terrified people. It was chilling reading.
Is your mum either menopausal or could she be starting with dementia? I would think she needs full blood screens for hormone levels, B12 & all deficiencies as a first stop then a referral to MH if everything comes back clear. The fact that she has moments of clarity & then goes back to worrying about the bugs makes me wonder if she could be suffering from bipolar or schizophrenia. Whatever it is you need help because unless she gets the help & support she needs this wont go away. If things get unmanageable take her to A & E & ask to see the crisis team.
The GP really is the first port of call, and you can explain your worries about her being potentially violent when you talk to them.
Psychiatrists will usually work to exclude potential physical illness that could be causing the symptoms - I've seen lots of people who were hospitalised for mental health issues who were diagnosed with rare illnesses - and two who were diagnosed with Lyme's disease (I worked in mental health for many years).
My mum went though something similar. Thought there were bugs living in rugs. Shaved all her hair off, suicide attempt, moved out of the family home into a caravan which she could keep clean easier.
This was all caused by being misdiagnosed for years. The doctors said she had IBS when she was actually coeliac. Her body and brain was deprived of the nutrients it needed for years and this was culmination of it.
She got help and correctly diagnosed due to the suicide attempt and that's when she started getting better. She's fine now.
You need to get her to a doctor's and get them to check her both physically and mentally, though easier said than done. She could have deficiencies like PP said.
Would telling her this story help?
^ what I mean is, because my mum's stemmed from a physical problem rather than a mental, would she be more open-minded to the possibility?
Does she link up with other 'sufferers' online? There are whole communities, including on FB, of people with delusional parasitosis, and they all feed off each other in a hideous echo chamber.
She does need mental health help, I am sorry you are dealing with this.
It sounds horrendous for you all.
How old is your mum?
I think you need to speak to your father and brother without your mum being there. You all need to be on the same page.
One of you or maybe you and your father need to go to the GP without your mum and explain everything. Then either the GP can do a home visit or you can try to get her to the GP again - maybe offer to go with her to help her explain. There is obviously something going on psychologically but as others hav said it could be as a result of something physical so blood tests etc might help.
Your dad is her next of kin legally so he can and should see the GP.
Agree doctors need to exclude physical causes (urine infections in the elderly commonly cause these symptoms too, although i appreciate it has been a long time). You absolutely need to speak to her GP.
Hi OP. It sounds like somatic disorder and ocd. She needs a mental health assessment urgently.
One thing I will say though is she isn’t that far off the mark with what she is worried about. I’ve had my own poor health for a few years (I’m a nurse) and I’ve spent the last year or so trying to work out what’s wrong with me. Basically if you look into it most chronic disease is highly likely to begin in the gut. We have more microbiota dna in our bodies than our own. Effectively we are a vessel for our microbes. There is also a strong correlation between gut health and psychiatry. I’ve started training as a natural nutritional therapist and there is a lot of emerging research about mental health and microbiology. Our modern lifestyles in terms of diet, environment and use of antibiotics has changed our gut microbes and our bodies haven’t caught up yet. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the chronic health crisis we have in the western world is caused by not just diet but our diversity of microbes in our guts and skin. Some people have suggested I might have been getting a bit obsessed with trying to understand my health, but actually I understand more now and it all links together, and it’s reassured me I wasn’t going mad!
I know now I have mutated genes which mean I cant metabolism b vitamins well, I have adrenal and thyroid insufficiency, I have gut dysbiosis. I also have higher levels of mercury and aluminum in my body. All normal blood tests had come back normal but at cellular level, things are not functioning well. My symptoms have been mainly mood swings, anxiety, fatigue, low mood. Instinctively I knew I wasn’t depressed, or anxious. It felt all physical if you know what i mean (I’ve also had recurrent utis, two cancer scares, HPV).
Anyway my point is, perhaps she is correct and something with her is out of balance and causing her mental health symptoms. Instead of her going to Germany, suggest she sees a specialist in the Uk who is an expert on gut health and go from there. She needs to treat the underlying cause of her mental health symptoms. Most of our neuro transmitters are made in the gut. Serotonin for example, the neurotransmitter responsible for keeping anxiety in check is mainly made in the gut. Take a look at the book 10% human.
It must be very hard for you, another book I’d recommend is the medical medium. The first couple of chapters are a bit “meh” because he talks about being chosen by god. But actually his remedies and thoughts are mainly backed by science but he reccomends
the first step to treating ill health is a liver cleanse. If you want more info I can send on pm.
GP, urgently. Call them today.
As PP said, she's actually talked of suicidal plans which is more serious than just ideation. She needs help. If she gets violent, then it might be the catalyst to getting something in place.
And yes, she could be sectioned for this if she is at risk to herself or others but she won't hate you, she'll get better and realise it was necessary. My own family member has had periods of psychosis for years and been sectioned many times. They know it has to be done and the first port of call is the GP.
As for getting a GP to visit. That sounds like a good idea, but I dread to think how she'd react. I am a bit worried about her turning violent, though so far her aggression has been mostly verbal
Don't worry about that, if she physically reacts then it's a visible symptom for the doctor. You really need to get the GP to see her and sooner rather than later. She needs urgent help. The rest of the household can't ignore this anymore.
The only thing a GP can do is send a request to her for some kind of check up - a normal thing - and see whether she will go . You can speak to him and tell him about all of your concerns but obv he cannot discuss her with you .
You say she is seeing a doc re the insects ...have you spoken to him about her condition to alert him ? TBH the way you describe her makes me think any medical person coming into contact with her would see that she needs urgent help.
If you google your local NHS mental health trust they may have a single point of access number/helpline - some do, depends where you are. These can sometimes directly refer in to a crisis or triage service.
If your DM will agree I'd just turn up at A&E with her. They can arrange a full assessment there and admit under section if needed, or sort home treatment. Otherwise it's an emergency GP apt, they can arrange an assessment at home. If your mum refuses this they will need to sort a warrant with police, which would likely take you into next week.
You can and should call 999 if she is actively threatening to harm herself. Be aware police and paramedics have limited powers if your DM is in her home however.
I'd really aim to get her seen today. She does sound like she's experiencing psychotic symptoms and is quite risky.
I hope go has checked for Lyme's by now, as this is very serious, and needs ruling out.
I am assuming there was an emergency appt this morning?
Hi everyone and thanks again,
The GP hasn't tested her for Lyme's or indeed Anything beyond basic bloods. But then again she has basically only visited a few times. I didn't want to go down the emergency GP route as only posted this last night and hadn't had the time to discuss it with my Dad.
He's taking her to A&E tonight though, and I've written a list of symptoms to remind him. I'm praying that someone will be alarmed by her behaviour and maybe admit her.
I'd suggest a test for Lyme's as well.
My dad was diagnosed with it.
They tested him for demantia, all sorts of auto immune conditions etc. and finally - as it seemed so unlikely - for Borreliose. He regained his mental capacity after treatment but the nerve damage to his legs was irrreversible.
I hope she gets seen to and it can be taken seriously.
Good luck OP, I can't imagine how this effects all of you and I hope she can get the help she needs to deal with this x
Coincidentally, I had quite a severe mh crisis today that necessitated an emergency GP appt. I was very heartened at the treatment I received, very different to days gone by (thank goodness) and which of itself was a huge balm in the circumstances. The enormous fear of approaching my GP exacerbated the mh crisis: chicken and egg (I'm thinking of your mum here). I think the training is much better these days - plus the duty Dr told me about her own similar experiences which was such a balm. Not about me here but wanted to encourage you about the GP.
One question: did she get the bullseye tick bite mark?
I have to agree up to a point with pudding about gut health. It's how the French view things (from what I gather) : it all comes from the gut. But ime all that research can fry your brain and make one obsessive - and as that's already her problem.. Plus ime this type of research never ends! But Patrick Holford is relatively palatable on the nutrition/gut subject I guess.
But imo she/you/her medics can look at that at a later date: for now she is in crisis. Up to a point I think we have to accept current medical practise where we live. I assure you I don't say that easily. I hope your mum is able to accept it before too long.
Sorry humbly post!
She could do herself some serious damage taking websites seriously. Some of them actually recommend properly dangerous "treatments" for this kind of thing which will strip your stomach lining, which you then poo or vomit out (sorry to be graphic). Pictures of this are then shared as "proof" that there was really a "worm". It's fucking terrifying tbh but these people really are frightened and believe that nobody is taking them seriously.
I hope you have some luck with the doctors tonight. If she does travel to Germany btw although this is also not great, I do love in Germany and the health system is very good here. I think if it does come to that she's likely to get good care although it would probably be very expensive given that she isn't a citizen or resident with health insurance.
Whether she’s angry at you for starting the process of sectioning or not isn’t relevant right now, her survival is. If she was having a heart attack and desperate for you not to get her to hospital because she was convinced it was a spirit sending her a message you wouldn’t worry about her being upset with you. Her immediate survival is what matters, focus on that, and she’s in a crisis, potential a fatal one. Ring your local secondary care access team (mental health services) for some advice on the next steps to get her in contact with services. You will have to come with a list of symptoms and ask to speak to someone familiar with this disorder and highlight the risk to herself (lest they say they can’t do anything without her consent).
You must act. Your mum isn’t well and nobody else might.
I had a long chat with my brother today. Our concern is that this illness, as some have suggested, could be being caused by something primary - such as MS, Parkinsons, even Cancer. If we got her in a mental health facility, would primary causes be checked for, since she's had no tests so far? It's something we're prepared to do, but I wouldn't want something else to be missed in the midst of this.
I do believe the NHS can do a great job at times, but they're not without faults. Tonight they tried to send her back to the GP at A&E, but as she had a break down, they've agreed a DR can see her. My boyfriend's mother now only has months to live because her GP wouldn't refer for a scan, despite having had breast cancer in the last few years and having symptoms that matched bone cancer. She had to threaten suicide to get them to send her. I've heard the same stories over and over again from work colleagues and friends. Whilst the GP might be the only option, it's sometimes hard to keep the faith when they act like this.
Well fingers crossed the doctor in A&E will see there's something seriously wrong. Is she still there?
Yes, she is. I keep asking my Dad for updates. He's taken the day off work tomorrow so at least the late night isn't too bad. They've been there nearly four hours - hope something comes of it
Sorry I haven't responded to posts individually yet. There's some brilliant suggestions and I feel so much better having shared this with you. I will do so in the next few days, just so much going on at the moment xx
Hope someone listens to you and you get some options.
I work in psychiatry and this does sound like it could easily be psychosis. If that is the case, having her delusions disproven by testing her samples etc will do absolutely nothing to help her or change her mind. I hope she gets the help she needs now she is under the care of A&E. Should you need this in the future there is also your local crisis team which you may be able to self-refer her to depending on your area: www.nhs.uk/service-search/Crisis-support/LocationSearch/329
A brain MRI scan would probably be useful if you are having worries about Parkinson’s etc.
Just to add you could ask the crisis team to assess her while she is in A&E
(MH nurse here)
There could be an organic cause for delusional symptoms. A&E will do screening prior to admitting to a MH ward and will know what to look for. In the unlikely case she was admitted to a MH ward without proper screening the ward should be able to sniff out if it's not a MH problem (usually the presentation is quite different) and arrange either transfer to a medical ward and/or further investigation. Given her age and that she hasn't had a MH problem before A&E should comprehensively screen her though.
I think your priority should be getting your mum seen ASAP. The current situation sounds quite unsafe.
Good luck it's not easy supporting someone who doesn't want help, I wish you and your mum the best
Oops, sorry somehow missed she was already in A&E . All the best OP
Yes indeed Grundoncall like bladder infections for instance, which is not uncommon. Which is why I'd mentioned Lyme's because of op opening with bitten by a tick.
To have written that seems odd, if op didn't see some connection as she said it all started after that. I don't know how common Lyme's disease is though.
Regarding the Lyme's thing. I double checked with Dad and apparently she has had a Lyme's test via GP, although apparently those tests aren't always accurate and Lyme's sometimes requires more complex testing. I'm unsure about this though.
So it turns out that the Dr she saw in A&E, after hearing her description of symptoms, made his mind up straight away that this is a MH problem. He wanted to speak to my Dad in private, but she wouldn't allow it. She told him all of her symptoms, got out her 'samples' and even showed them sanitry towels, which she believes are full of bugs. To the person that asked, my Mum is 60 - went through the menopause around 7 years ago, and had a tough time then mentally, though nothing like this. They waited around 6 hours at A&E. The Dr went to speak to a consultant and they wanted her to have a psychiatric assessment. She refused, although has said she would consider it at a later date. The Dr was fairly blunt and told her that he doesn't believe she'll ever find the answer she is looking for and he doesn't want her spending thousands of pounds in Germany. Blunt, but essentially accurate advice.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?) she told them she was suicidal, so they are going to be following up. They said they'd ring to check how she is in a few days, but I wonder if this is a guise for addressing the situation. They may struggle to do much with her in the home though. She has been better today, but still keeps showing me things that are almost certainly hairs. It's very difficult as I do want some tests to be done - I really want them to rule out things such as MS, Parkinsons and Cancer. She says the Doctor last night told her that they will be doing no more tests, which is upsetting, as they've done zero, but I need to verify this with my Dad, as she has been telling some white lies. It's all upsetting still, but I'm hoping the involvement of A&E and the fact they know she is suicidal might mean that some treatment or care occurs soon.
It's difficult for us to co-ordinate as a family sometimes as we all work different hours. But Dad said to me earlier that all three of us need to try and go somewhere to discuss this, but not necessarily tell her that we're meeting (just pretend we're all out.)
My brother is worried about it being an underlying illness causing this and said that he told her to examine a normal hair (from his or her head) by pulling one out, against what she thinks is round worm to reassure her. She refused. He even said he'd do it (we bought a microscope for this purpose), and she got upset.
She's still going on today about the incompetency of the medical profession, so I don't think anything has changed. But then, it won't, without treatment. She did call me today while I was out to ask where Dad was (out of curiosity) but I wonder if this was some kind of paranoia, or just a coincidence (my Dad was on an appointment).
Not sure what will happen next, but now A&E know that something is seriously wrong, I'm hoping they will intervene. If she's threatened suicide, I'm presuming they have to intervene, though I'm no expert.
I wonder if there were other behaviours or perhaps thought patterns evident during her assessment in A&E that makes it fit together quite classically to the trained eye, as being part of a particular MH condition?
It might well be psychiatry that would be the driving force behind getting the GP to rule out the organic causes. It’s likely that the Psychiatrists are very, very used to seeing patients that have been referred as a face value MH problem but on detailed assessment demonstrate signs of another condition, and therefore probably know exactly what tests to ask for to exclude certain things in a structured fashion. This is especially pertinent in the Older Persons Mental Health area of work because as a lot of people have mentioned, plenty of physical health problems can manifest with psychological symptoms. Your mum is probably too young for OPMH care though.
Do you know if it’s the crisis team that are likely to be following up? I think you need to be pushy and strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. Often crisis teams are so busy that they can only keep someone on their list for 48-72 hours after the crisis presentation in A&E, and if the service isn’t accessed by the patient in that time then they discharge back to GP.
I hope it doesn’t come to this, but it can happen sometimes that things have to get sufficiently bad with psychotic symptoms or suicidal ideation that the person no longer had the capacity to refuse an assessment.
I do hope this gets sorted for you, could you set up a WhatsApp group between you, your dad and siblings so that you can at least keep up some continuous contact between you even if you’re unable to meet up face to face?
Yes, I did mention the tick bite for a reason. It looked somewhat like a bite, and apparently a walk-in GP said it looked like one, but he didn't make a note of this, so I can't be 100% sure.
I mentioned it because I am worried about the fact that organic causes haven't been ruled out. I don't think it's fleas, or scabies, or round worm, but there could be something that's causing these delusions. Or it could be entirely mental, but I'd like to know.
My Dad asked her about suicide plans. She said she has a plan that is painless. She keeps saying to everyone 'you'll all be alright, better off without me etc.' I don't think she realises that the thought of coming home and finding her dead at any point is fairly distressing.
I think Dad is willing to take action now. The issue is, countering her thoughts or disagreeing with her makes her more depressed, suicidal, and results in no one getting sleep. Very difficult as I think he couldn't pre-empt this too much. He was supportive of her in A&E, not because he believes it, but because I think he feels guilty about all the times he's told her he thinks it's mental, and how much she hates him for it.
I think our best hope is possibly convincing her to go for the assessment. I told her, as someone said on here, that she might get some tests prior to being referred to MH, and she seemed dubious, though somewhat hopeful about that. I really hope they will though. Even though chances are this is entirely mental, I'd hate to thing that something serious is being missed.
I think the doctor had probably seen similar cases before, and he was noticing things like the fact that she'd brought all her cleaning stuff with her. She thinks the house is infested, yet says she feels worse outside the house. She thinks my brother is the worse infested, but this is because he's losing hair hair, towel drys his hair, and has a beard, so he loses the most hair in the bathroom. She thinks I'm the least infested, but I have blonde hair, so mine wouldn't resemble what she believes to be round worm.
Thing is, we are sometimes in the house at the same time, but she never leaves the house so it's difficult to talk. My brother walks till 9 some days, but I could talk to him last night as she was away. But I think some ongoing communications, WhatsApp or FB msg might be a good idea.
My DM went through a similar thing some years ago. She would have scratches on her face and arms from where she felt she had something crawling under her skin. My DM was put on anti-depressants.
She got it into her head that there were fibres from her carpets all over the walls. She had her whole place re-carpetted and the following week she sold her new carpets and her floors were covered in newspaper. When that didn't take away the feeling she decided it must be something else - leather then lanolin then mercury fillings.
She didn't express any thoughts of suicide as your DM has, but months later we were called as an ambulance was outside her home. She survived but had cut her wrists and stabbed herself in the neck. This was a terrible shock and, despite her behaviour, we did not expect this.
Not connected to this but I have been on a MH First Aid course and we were told to never disregard it if someone threatens suicide. We were asked to find out if they had made any plans to do so and always take them seriously.
Your post struck me because of the similarities with my DM but also because she has told you she has a plan to commit/complete suicide.
You need to see her GP urgently and get a emergency referral to the Community MH Team or to a Home Treatment team. She may need to be sectioned as she could well be a danger to herself, especially as she is self-harming by not eating.
It's a very difficult situation to deal with but you need to do whatever needs to be done to get her some treatment and you will find that in getting help for her, you will also be helping your own MH.
My DM also used to raise her hand to stop us speaking and say "Don't say it" too. It was as if, deep inside, she knew that we found her behaviour irrational, but was so convinced that she was right. Sadly, it took a couple of years to get over the MH issue.
for you OP. You may have a difficult road ahead for a while but you can all get through this. Get her some help and then hang on in there.
As a mental health practitioner the difficulty is that we cant do anything without consent. Theres a possiblity that your mum might work with them for the suicidal thoughts aspect but if she will be able to decline any treatment unless she is detained under section
Certainly our community teams would need her to be accepting of mental health treatment, and wouldnt be able to work with her unless she agreed that she needed their support
This is so sad to read. I really do hope your mother finds the help she needs.
Maybe the only way to convince her to have the MH assessment or any further tests is to approach the task from a different angle. Perhaps have a day or two where you agree something is amiss and that she needs to get to the bottom of it - and that at least the tests will rule out what she doesn't think it is so that the doctors can then focus on the bugs etc after. That if you let them rule those things out, at least they'll then start to take you seriously. Eg process of elimination.
Make a detailed letter of what you are experiencing with your Mum and hand it in at the GP surgery. You Mum's GP will have a hell of a job ignoring written evidence and would be a fool to do so.
Don't be afraid of her being sectioned. Just write that the letter must be in confidence and the GP can call, 'just to see how she is' and take it from there. My DMum was sectioned and it was the beginning of her getting well. Forget the stigma. This might be life or death.
"Make a detailed letter of what you are experiencing with your Mum and hand it in at the GP surgery"
I think this is a brilliant idea.
I am a carer for someone with a MH condition. I have found it really helps to take notes that detail over time what has been going on, so that professionals do not have to make instant decisions based only on what they see in front of them. Patterns shown over time can be super helpful for them to get the whole picture. The professionals can then take over with more confidence.
pudding21 the first step to treating ill health is a liver cleanse
No, it isn’t. There is absolutely no medical evidence to support this. And you say you’re a nurse? You’re going down the same route as the OP’s relative. Be careful.
I've had psychosis and it really does sound very similar. Amongst many other things, I treated the family for headlice. I was utterly convinced we had them even though looking back, nobody saw any live ones or nits.
One of the things with psychosis is that there is no insight whatsoever that you are ill. When anybody suggested to me that I was ill I just thought it was a conspiracy because I "knew too much". The home treatment team spent a long time trying to convince me to take the meds which I believed were to make me "forget" all the things i knew. I was utterly, utterly convinced that all the thoughts i was having were true and nothing anybody said could convince me otherwise.
Another couple of things about my experience. What i was saying out loud was only a fraction of what was actually going on in my head. And the whole thing was terrifying. As a result, very little frightens me now because nothing has come close to frightening me like psychosis did.
I hope your mum gets well soon, regardless of whether it's mental or physical. It's not a quick fix though. Psychosis is usually followed by a very deep depression.
I had psychosis after a severe bowel condition, I thought there were people following me and watching me though the TVs in the hospital and that the antiobiotics were poison...even tried to run away from the hospital...what happened with me is the hospital said in the discharge letter in bold- please refer urgently to psychiatry and then they were there in the living room when i got home. I don;t know who they were, I thought it was who had been following me I was so confused.
So what I am saying is they can assess your mother at home. and yes ti would be good if they could rule out other things as it may be related. they told me after it was due to extreme physical and mental stress...psychotic depression...and it seems to have been made worse by the antibiotics and infection etc. Sort of a delirium? Very scary as I was refusing treatment and horrible for my husband. and interesting reading the other stuff about the gut.
My mum who also has had psychosis in the past used to have this thing about dust which sounds a bit like your mum. When I was ill it was due to the suit and she started dusting everywhere.
Also the thing you mention where she is convinced it is true- that is very true of delusions- it is beliefs help so strongly and they get angry when you try to talk about it. So that is all part of it
Sorry as Mawbroon just said- yes that is how it was for me also. Very difficult.
Have you checked for bedbugs? It's probably not, given everything you've described, but it would be worth ruling them out.
Check the seams and buttons on the underside of the mattress and all the nooks and crannies on the bedframe. This image is a good guide for what to look for, especially the faecal spotting.
If you find anything, please read this before you do anything as it's easy to make the problem worse.
hopeclearwater by liver cleanse I mean eradicating all chemicals from your home, enviroment and food as much as possible, stop eating and drinking anything processed, help the liver detox (we bomabrd our livers every day and to keep them working at an optimum level is important). So many medications we are dished out adversely affect our livers ability to cope with the complex detoxifying processes it has to go through.
In addition optimising nutrition, healing leaky guts/gut dysbiosis (our balance of microbes is as important at keeping us healthy), and managing levels of stress are the key components (along with good supporting our livers) to treating chronic health conditions. The link between gut health and psychiatry is growing, but did you know we actually consist of more microbial dna than our own? This is based in science and there are loads of studies based upon these factors and ill health.
Of course we have to factor in things like epigenetics, life events, previously health conditions etc, but they key to keeping ourselves healthy is promoting digestive health. If you don't believe me read How Not To Die and 10% Human. I am a nurse, have been for 20 years, I have seen chronic diseases in my family and in countless cases. I worked in acute care, oncology, ICU. I have seen a lot in my career. I am not dellusional, I just had my eyes open. I am currently studying for a degree in Natural Nutiriton. The first things you learn are about the digestive system and its importance for health, along with insulin resistance etc.
OP there is a real diagnosis called dellusional parasitosis, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3678185/ and for example there are links made between new onset sever OCD and recent Strep infection. Like others have suggested a journal of symptoms will help. But whilst she needs help, there is no harmin making sure her nutrition is as good as it can be (and having a good broad spectrum probiotic).
If she has had recent infections/ antibitotics or new meds, that should be looked at too.
Wtf are you on about pudding21? Eradicate chemicals? Do you know what a chemical is? Hope to god you don’t work in healthcare spouting such nonsense about ‘liver cleanses’.
Environmental chemicals! Like what’s in the detox sprays. That kind of thing. Ffs.
I won’t derail the thread any longer but have a look at the effects out environment has on the liver.
Everything is a chemical though and the liver is the body's detoxifying organ. I can understand that it's function may be impaired by infection, but detox products and plans are not necessary and don't work from everything I've seen and read.
A nurse who believes a liver cleanse is necessary because of ‘chemicals’. Can’t make this shit up.
Sorry OP, please get help for your poor mum.
Is it possible that she has dementia? My nan threatened suicide and was diagnosed following intervention from the mental health team. She is regularly convinced that she has head lice and becomes very distressed. Recently she rang in tears because she thought she had the plague. All very real to her but her mind is playing tricks on her due to the dementia. Heartbreaking to witness.
I wasn’t saying liver cleanse will solve her mums problems. I’m purely trying to demonstrate that many chronic and some acute onset of diseases start in the digestive system. I’m not just inventing this you know. And if you read my posts I suggested urgent mental health referral amongst other things. I only read last night a scientific paper about the onset of ocd and strep infections. Digestive health has links to many many diseases. In science. Back up by evidence.
Have a google of gut and psychiatry syndrome. It’s an emerging science which will change how we manage chronic diseases in the future. Our soil health, use of plastics and synthetic chemicals, what we out in our mouths, use of antibiotics everywhere are all leading to a health crisis.
I was simplifying for the purpose of an online forum, but if you are interested in the science, this can start you off.
Oh bless you @Bramble1992bear @Bramblebear92, what a thing to be dealing with. While I find myself agreeing with the suggestion of psychosis, I am pondering the notion of dementia as well. My mum has early stage Alzheimer's and while she displays the characteristic symptoms of forgetfulness and confusion, what I hadn't expected were her fixations on specific things - she's convinced there's something wrong with her tv as there's never anything on (whereas it's fine, she just doesn't like what's on and struggles to navigate the freeview menus) and can get very hung up on her creaky kitchen floor, the cats eating habits...
Granted none of this is as extreme as what your dear mum seems to be exhibiting, but it struck me as slightly similar.
At any rate, i feel for you. There's nothing so painful and frustrating as watching your own mum struggle
I have wondered. She can be forgetful at times. Like a while ago she said she thought by cousin, who's younger than me, was 30, but that might have just been a normal confusion. She was dropping things and spilling stuff down herself the other day, too, which worried me a bit.
Out of curiosity, how do we get the likes of dementia, Parkinsons, MS ruled out? Would it be an MRI brain scan? I'm unsure.
I felt bad for my Dad today. My mum thanked him for supporting her when they went to see the A&E doctor. She's been talking about how he hasnt supported her over the last few months - I think it's because he gets frustrated and with some of the things she says, it can be difficult to maintain patience. But he broke down when he was driving me in the car today, as he said he knows he needs to take action now, but feels like he's stabbing her in the back at the same time. I've literally only seen my Dad cry a few times in my life, so found it really tough.
I know someone mentioned him cutting down his hours? Trouble is he works in finance (he's nota millionaire or anything lol) but his currebt job gave him a substantial pay rise and working the hours he does is just expected. They're pretty cutthroat and have sacked people lately due to underperformance. It's a crap situation.
Anyway, he's pretty certain that the Dr was so concerned that they will be ringing soon. He sees his options as follows, but he wants to speak to my brother to make sure he agrees first
1) He tells her he thinks she needs to see MH team - though he has already tested the waters with this, and got nowhere
2) We contact local crisis team and try and arrange a home visit, but perhaps make her think it's due to A&E visit.
3) Contact GP with a letter...it's a good idea, but our GP is borderline negligent, so I'm not too hopeful. Might be wort a try though.
4) Try and persuade her to go for the MH assessment. This may be a challenge though.
That whole post wasn't aimed at you BTW... don't expect you to come up with all the answers! Just the beginning
I guess the GOP would have a letter from A and E perhaps. Hope you cam get her seen soon.
From the article mentioned by a PP
"Delusional parasitosis is an infrequent psychotic illness characterized by an unshaken belief of having been infested by a parasite when one is not. It is also called Ekbom syndrome after the Swedish neurologist Karl Axel Ekbom who did seminal work on this entity.
Delusional parasitosis can be primary, secondary, or organic. Primary delusional parasitosis consists primarily of a single delusional belief of having been infested by parasite and comes under monosymptomatic hypochondriacal psychosis. Secondary delusional parasitosis can occur in the context of other mental disorder like schizophrenia, depression, and dementia. Organic delusional parasitosis occurs secondary to organic illness like hypothyroidism, vitamin B12 deficiency, diabetes, cerebrovascular disease, cocaine intoxication, HIV, allergies, and menopausal state.[4–6]"
Wonder if she has any of the latter things on the list. B12 can be corrected with injections for example. Maybe an approach with MH and also testing for these would work.(from GP)
Also there may be another GP you can see- or put it in writing to the GP and emphasise how bad things are so they get you seen urgently.
I think you need to be prepared to lie a lot more than you are OP. If you can get your Mum assesses tell her it is for the parasites as it is really. Be creative to get to the point you need to be.
My Mum used to hear voices and of course I couldn't. She used to get cross with me because I couldn't hear them so I said, "Well Mum you know my hearing has always been poor". I have perfect hearing but that settled her right down. Tell her whatever you have to. Blood samples are to test for the paracites. Scans the same etc etc.
I am sorry this sounds awful. I have OCD - if she has hoarding she has OCD which basically means she has a mind which can become obsessively compulsive and it sounds like she is getting stuck. If she has the feeling of being bitten - it could be her nerves - I mean her nerve endings firing which feels like you have been bitten (I have had this). I would also be getting her tested for vitamin deficiency - I recommend Alan Stewart in London. He also used to be a GP but now specialises in identifying vit and mineral deficiencies in people. If I was you I would not be disagreeing with your mum about parasites - it does not seem to work. In theory we all have parasites! I would be concentrating on telling her lets work together to boast her immune system to fight things off.
Just FTR, Patrick Holford is a quack who is very good at cloaking himself in vaguely plausible science that he has actually completely misunderstood and/or overinterpreted. He has a whole (moderately hilarious) chapter to himself in Bad Science and is the subject of the now sadly defunct blog Holfordwatch: holfordwatch.wordpress.com/
"Liver cleanses" because of "chemicals" is also 100% quackery.
OP, I honestly think your number one priority has to be to move out. You can alert your mum's GP and the MH teams locally, but if she doesn't want to comply with treatment there is likely to be a limited amount they can do unless and until she makes a serious and credible threat against herself or someone else. You've got to get out; even if/when she is well again it doesn't sound like the best living environment.
Just to reassure you OP, they will look for all possible organic causes first, that's part of their remit. When I refer to our psych department the first thing they do is explore possible organic reasons for the psychiatric symptoms before anything else. Either something organic is found and they work with that, or if no organic cause is found, they explore possible psychiatric diagnoses. They will not just jump in and decide it is purely psychiatric. We often have referrals sent back because someone's infection markers are up for example so they want that dealt with first before they get involved.
Sorry to dump up this thread, but just wanted to update people.
She saw the Dr. in London with my Dad. The Dr. again, according to my Dad, was pretty good. She showed him the samples etc. and he told her that they were just hairs, that it was likely delusional parasitosis, but he referred her back to our GP for more tests (a colonoscopy and investigations into her prolapse, that she thinks is worse due to these parasites.)
A&E rang back but she wasn't up when they called. I keep urging my Dad to contact them, but he seems to have completly washed his hands of things up until lately. He did confront her tonight and tell her that he believes it's formication, but she just breaks down and cries. Is still insisting on going to Germany and now wants me to go with her. I understand my Dad has a stressful job, but I feel like he needs to do something. My brother is worse than useless as he's never in the house to see how bad it is and when I did talk to him about it recently he just said he's not too concerned as he thinks she can be 'talked into rationality.' Fat chance.
She's sent a stool sample off recently to be tested by a lab but hasn't had the results yet. It looks like I'm going to have to try and handle this crap on my own, but I feel quite resentful about the fact that no one else in the family is willing to take charge
@Bramblebear92 you can't do this on your own, and if your Mum was suffering with any other condition no one would expect you to. Make an appointment for yourself with your GP to discuss this whole situation. You need to understand what different pathways to go down to help your Mum and you need to understand what help might be out there for you too. Are there any support groups for this kind of condition.
Don't let this all be piled onto you, your Dad is your Mum's next of kin he should be taking this on too. Thinking of you.
Make a GP appointment without her present to discuss the possibility of dementia.
I'm leaving this link here. https://www.b12deficiency.info/signs-and-symptoms/
I think it's more than possible that your mum has Pernicious Anaemia. I had the bug crawling sensations & would often see tiny flies. Itching too. My daughter has it too £0& she imagined that she had worn pms, headline tge lot. She was housebound at the time & definitely didn't have anything, but she wouldn't have it. Many people get varying degrees of MH issues because of it, even to the point of being sectioned. The link above explains it all, but please make her GP test her B12 levels & better still start her on an urgent course of B12 injections as per nice guidelines if deficiency is suspected. Get a copy of her results too as the tests aren't straight forward. All explained in the link.
Something else to consider is a urinary tract/kidney infection. My DM was seeing lions climbing up the walls & hissing like something from the exorcist when she had a kidney infections in her 70s
I just tried to post about vitamin deficiency too but my post vanished. Definitely look into that.
& speak to your local advocacy service, or social services to get some help. Good luck 💐
What a nightmare.
Please don't feel that by going down the mental health route a physical cause will be overlooked; and family have no input into the sectioning process in England and Wales.
This is not an issue for A&E .
You need her GP to coordinate
Sorry, had to nip out.
I would talk frankly with her GP about the situation ( if Dad in agreement ideally) . She needs medical intervention and in this area would probably need an in patient( medical ) stay to investigate and stabilise before psychiatric input. Ideally she needs to agree but in worst case scenario she could be admitted short term for her own safety by section . As I mentioned before this would be completely outwith the family's input so no need to feel any responsibility. At the end of the day it does not sound as if she can make the right decisions for her own safety at the moment and so it is only right to intervene.
In some areas , where psychiatry services are more joined to medical it is possible that they would coordinate and that would be via the crisis intervention team again usually accessed through your GP although at night and weekends they might be available in A&E.
Loads of good advice on this thread already but one thing to add is that my grandma behaved similarly (although her behaviour was more intermittent) and it's because she was having small strokes / bleeds in the brain. Just another thing to investigate. You poor thing OP, so much to be dealing with.
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