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My wife always fears that something bad will happen, what should I do?

Q: My wife is 48 years old. We have a 19-year-old daughter, our only surviving child. My wife's first delivery was a stillbirth. Since then she has a fear in her mind. She thinks that something bad will happen to her or to the family. She has become cautious for trivial things. She brands some people as bad and if she meets them in the market place or at home, she asks everybody in the family, who came in contact with the person to wash their clothes without touching anything. Even bed covers, curtains etc. If we resist, she starts arguing over past issues, gets exhausted and finally cries a lot. Even when such a person calls on the telephones, she wants us to go through the washing drill again. The phone is also given the treatment of vibhuti from a temple. She is timid and any blank call alarms her. She tries to trace it back, then fears whether the caller will harm her. She dreads pets like cats and dogs. She claims that nobody supported her in her crisis. Therefore, she has become mentally weak and makes nonsensical correlations. I don't know how to deal with this. Anything that me and my daughter do, she first screens it with her superstitions and then only agrees, or else argues. She is highly irritable and anxious and always on the brink of losing control. Please suggest some treatment for her.

A:These might be slight signs of paranoia however since the symptoms are not acute it is difficult to diagnose. It could have been triggered of by the difficult pregnancy or any other environmental conditions. You need to explain to your wife that her behaviour is causing distress to you and your daughter. It may also be potentially harmful to her own physical and mental health. Explain to her and seek the help of a clinical psychologist. She may not require medication and explain to her that a psychologist is not a doctor and is not in someone who can or will prescribe medicines but will only help in identifying the problem while treating it with therapy. Therapy has no side effects and will be beneficial to the entire family.

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