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MS and paranoia

Hello, I’m new to this forum, and I was wondering whether anyone might be able to help me. I was wondering whether anyone has any experience of caring for someone with MS and paranoia. I’ve heard that although paranoia is sometimes associated with MS it’s not a really common symptom. My mother has advanced progressive MS, and over the past year or so has started to tell us that a specific individual is out to get her, and is torturing her by doing really subtle things around the house (and I mean REALLY subtle) that noone else but mum would notice. We know that it is physically impossible that the person in question could access the house, but my mum is adamant, and maintains that a family member must be complicit in allowing this person into the house. She is genuinely distressed by the idea, and no-one can convince her that it isn’t true. Does anyone have any experience of this sort of behaviour, or any idea of what we should do? Do we go along with her delusions, or try to convince her out of them? She’s really upset, and we don’t know what we can do to support her. Thanks for your help!

It sounds like serious cognitive dissonance. Has your mother ever been assessed by a neuro-psychologist? Perhaps you could get her a referral to one? If she has an MS nurse, that could be one way of getting a referral, or if there’s a community neurological service, alternatively, contact her neurologists secretary and ask.

It must be very distressing for her, and both upsetting and difficult to deal with for you too. Although I have no experience of this, my feeling would be a sort of combination of both going along with the delusion and trying to convince her that it’s not real might help.

If for example there’s the delusion that someone has come in and taken her pen (glasses, ornament, etc), try to work with her on how such a person could have got in. If she then says that X is helping the intruder, try to convince her by giving that person an ‘alibi’. They couldn’t have let in the intruder because they were with Y and Z all evening and X definitely didn’t leave the room. Then ask whether it’s possible that she’s imagined it.

You’ve probably already tried this, and of course I’m no expert, I’m just going by what we have had to do as a family with my mother in law who has dementia and similar delusions.

I hope you find a solution that will make life easier and more comfortable for you all.

Sue

Thanks for your message - she has seen a counsellor, but not a neuro-psychologist. She saw the counsellor because my dad was concerned that she might be depressed, although the counsellor was of the opinion that her state of mind was OK. A neuro-psychologist would be certainly be worth looking into though. The only problem is in trying to persuade her that she needs to see someone! As far as she’s concerned her behaviour is completely normal. It’s upsetting to hear her, because she was always such a rational person. I’ll look into getting her a referral.

I know a friend of mine’s farther in law has problems, they put in a camera in a few rooms to keep an eye on him. This was because we are going to have cameras put in ourselves. If this is possible that it may help you. Kay