Psychiatry & Psychology--General/My Best Friend

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My best friend and I always used to pretend to be people from movies when we were little and we stopped for a while, but now we're both 19 and in college. There's this one character she's been stuck on for two years now. She won't respond to her name, only his. She does her hair like his, dresses like him, speaks like him...just everything she does is how he would do it. On her papers, instead of her name, she puts his name and now won't even respond to her name. I kept calling her and she said twice "That is not my name." and the third time, she got angry and hit me before saying "Stop calling me that!" In her phone, all of her contacts now are listed as people from the movie the character's in. Her parents now have his parents' names and her friends are other characters in her phone, she even has me in as the character's cousin that he always hangs out with. She used to be a little overweight and the character she "is" is very skinny so she lost a lot of weight to be like him. Her eyes are naturally green and the character's are blue so she started wearing blue contacts (she usually wears glasses and has a serious fear of putting things near or onto her eyes). She kind of hunches over when she walks and sits, but since the character sits and stands properly, she's started doing it. If I'm referring to her in a conversation with someone else and she's around, she gets mad when I say "she" and "her" because she thinks she's this male character...

Why is she like this? Is she playing with me or is something wrong with her?

Answer
She is psychotic.  She needs active ongoing psychiatric care. She does not appear significantly dangerous, but this is bizarre and should not be encouraged.  You should not respond to her in character, only to her real self. If she is physically abusive, I would break off the relationship -- or press charges to emphasize to her the seriousness of the situation. You cannot reason with someone who is psychotic like this (ie, resorts to hitting you).  

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Daniel S. Harrop, M.D.

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Dr. Daniel S. Harrop received his B.A. and his M.D., both from Brown, and his M.B.A. from the Edinburgh Business School, Scotland. Board-certified in adult and geriatric psychiatry, he is a past president of the R.I. Psychiatric Society and a member of the Committee on Medical Quality of the American Psychiatric Association and the Committee on Continuing Medical Education of the R.I Medical Society. He serves as a consultant to four of the top five major medical management companies, including OptumHealth/United Healthcare, Magellan Behavioral Health Services, ValueOptions and APS Healthcare, and maintains a private practice in Providence, R.I. He also serves as chief psychiatric consultant on the Medical Advisory Board at the R.I. Workers Compensation Court. He was formerly on the faculty at the medical schools at both Brown University and Harvard University.

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