Psych Evaluations Provide Clear Answers For Bizarre Behavior

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Are you greatly concerned for a family member who is acting in a bizarre fashion--not sleeping, saying things that don't make sense, and even becoming aggressive? Your family is probably quite confused and upset by this behavior. While you might be holding onto hope that this is just a phase that will soon pass, the wisest thing to do is to seek a psych evaluation for your family member.

What is happening to my loved one?

Marked insomnia, nonsensical speech, false beliefs, and sudden aggression can have a variety of causes. While a full discussion is beyond the scope of this article, common causes include drug-induced psychosis, schizophrenia, and the manic phase of bipolar disorder.

1. Drug-induced psychosis. If your loved one has been using

  • cocaine

  • crystal methamphetamine

  • marijuana (or its synthetic cousin, "spice")

  • hallucinogens

  • designer drugs such as bath salts or "flakka"

it is possible that his/her altered consciousness has a chemical cause. These drugs can cause medical problems, so proper diagnosis is imperative.

2. Schizophrenia. Sometimes a person developing this mental disorder, which affects about one percent of the population, may act odd or eccentric for many months prior to it reaching a crisis point. At other times, schizophrenia appears in a sudden break with reality, during which patients hear voices that are not there and believe strange things that are not possible.

3. Mania. Mania is one extreme of bipolar disorder (the other being depression). It is marked by days of insomnia and excessive amounts of energy. The manic person may have elaborate plans for something irrational, or may demonstrate great impulsiveness. He/she may become easily agitated or irritable.

What is a psych evaluation?

A psych evaluation, which you can access for your loved one at a local health clinic, is comprised of a physical examination and a personal interview. This assessment will most likely be done by a psychiatrist, although other medical professionals are trained in this kind of assessment.The provider will determine the most likely cause of the strange behavior and make a recommendation based on the diagnosis. For instance, if your loved one has been using drugs, a drug rehab program may be the best choice.

What if the doctor forces my loved one into the hospital?

Many people are afraid of taking loved ones to psychiatric professionals for fear they will be subjected to hospitalization against their will. While it is possible your loved one may need the safety of a hospital during the most acute time of crisis, there are laws that govern these types of decisions. Specifically, to be hospitalized involuntarily, most states require evidence that the patient is

  • a danger to self

  • a danger to others

  • gravely disabled (unable to care for most basic life needs)

Once hospitalized, a patient can only be held for 72 hours unless compelling evidence suggests a longer stay is necessary; in many states this requires a court hearing.

Your family member's struggles are difficult on all of you. Don't be hesitant to schedule a psych evaluation to clarify the reason for this upsetting behavior and obtain the proper treatment. To learn more contact a business like Rainbow Pediatrics.