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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
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.
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