Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Advice needed


I have a male relative about 40 years old who claims he is disabled and can't work. He is married but his wife no longer wants him in the house unless for short visits so he lives with his parents who are both elderly and in poor health. He says he can not relate to people so he can not work. He now claims to have PTSD and in the past has claimed ADD. He says things like "the most important thing is love". He has applied for social security disability but I have my doubts. He stays up half the night probably watching TV or on his computer. Seems he can't be pushed to do anything and spends most of his time doing self diagnosis. I think he is on drugs but not sure how to prove it. Any advice is welcome.

As the saying goes, you get to pick your friends but not your relatives. I don't know enough to advise much, for instance, what you see as a solution, and where his life might be headed.

The pattern you describe is hardly uncommon, including the use of self-diagnosis as a rationalization tool. That he can't be readily influenced means the attention should be not on him but on those he affects.

My first concern would be for his parents, but there's not enough information given on this. I trust you or other relatives are looking out for them.

Sounds like his wife has his number and is handling it OK, but you might suggest she consult with a matrimonial lawyer simply to explain her rights, for instance, if he decides to move back home, and her options, for example if she decides to divorce. And especially her support entitlements (he might inherit his parents' property.)  Maybe you can go with her. Don't waste time detailing what a winner this guy is unless the lawyer indicates that such details would be relevant to her rights and options.

I doubt you have to worry about his scamming government agencies -- that's what their professionals look for.

If you want local professional advice, you might look for a social worker, although not many of them seem to be in private practice.

In any case, thanks for asking us, Deanna, and I hope some of the comments will be somewhat useful.



Thanks for the generous feedback ratings but I wasn't clear. You'll likely not find the roots, and if you did, knowing them would probably not make a difference. And social workers (and lawyers) search not for causes but for responses, which is what I suggest you seek.


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Alan Auerbach


Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

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