Advice Needed - Does this sound like Schizophrenia?


Hi all and a pre-emptive thank you for any light you might be able to shed on my question.

My sister in law had been experiencing what I think might be delusions of some sort…I’ll try to keep this as short as possible.

Two years ago, she accused her sons Principle of trying to sexually assault her and made similar allegations towards a neighbour…she also said her phones lines were tapped and so forth…end result is that the entire family (her, her husband and 3 boys) moved to a different state…

Now she has accused my partner (her husbands brother) of calling child-services to remove her sons from her care…not only do my partner and I live in a different state, we have very limited contact with them so we wouldn’t even know if there was child neglect involved, let alone call child-services…

She has also mentioned that my partner and his dad (her husbands father) are trying to set her husband up with various women …and claims my partners ex-wife rang ‘demanding’ $150,000. None of this is true, my partners ex wife is a very successful business woman who would never demand money from anyone, let alone her ex sister-in-law who she hasn’t had contact with for many years.

Anyway, the lies and absurdities keep mounting (I’ve only mentioned a few) and the strangest thing is…her husband believes them! Sort of…he doesn’t question her mental state whereas everyone else has strong concerns. She threatens to take his kids away from him so I’m not sure whether or not that has something to do with it.

We got a phone call today (from her husband) and the list of accusations were not only untrue, but so, so absurd.

I’m not sure whether this woman is a compulsive liar or whether there’s something more serious at play. She has alienated her brother from many friends/family members as she has accused every single person in his life of outlandish behaviour.

Any advice would be welcome. At this stage, it doesn’t sound like she she will be getting any professional help because the only person who has the power to encourage such a thing is her husband and I’m questioning how clearly he is seeing things himself.


My sister is experiencing the exact same thing. The sexual accusations, phone tapping etc. She hasn’t been diagnosed but she truly believes these things and from speaking to many health care people it really does seem to be paranoid Sz.
It’s a horrible situation to be dragged into and I wish you well with it. I’m sure someone who understands far more than I do will advise you soon. I am also looking for help.


In my opinion your sister definitely needs the care of mental health professionals. Her symptoms sound to me like schizophrenia, but I’m not a doctor. Get her in to see a doctor, and see if she thinks your sister needs medication. If your sister refuses you might think about having her committed. Most commitments in state facilities these days are short - usually not much more than a week. The criteria for forcible commitment is if a person “is a danger to herself or others”. The way that is interpreted varies from place to place, but you could argue that your sister does harm people with her false accusations. The main goal of getting your sister committed would be to get her stabilized on medication.


Thank you both.

She’s actually my sister in law (my husbands brothers wife) which makes getting her help very difficult; especially since they live in a different state…and the problem is her husband seems to have been drawn into the same delusional world; when my partner tried to suggest mental health issues, he jumped to his wife’s defence and became insulted over the suggestion. In Australia, it’s hard to get people ‘committed’ as such (unless they are violent) so the onus is really on the person or his/her partner to seek help.

I immediately suspected either schizophrenia or psychosis however, due to its ongoing nature (not just an episode here and there) it sounds like the former. There are three small kids involved and she’s the primary carer so I hope her husband sees some sense soon.


Welcome to the forum @Louisa84

If her husband is not on board with getting her help or seeing that there is a problem then it seems like you may be fighting an uphill battle in trying to get her treatment. While paranoid it doesn’t sound like she is a physical danger to herself or her children. Perhaps understanding why her husband is reluctant to get help could be a means to finding a solution. If he is ashamed to think it could be a mental illness or is afraid of losing the kids than finding him support may make it easier for him to see the bigger picture.

There are other types of disorders that can cause this type of paranoid thinking. One of them is:

Maybe this link could help direct you to further assistance:


The delusions have to be bizarre to be sz or be accompanied by hallucinations. It could be a lot of things like Barbie pointed out, but it definitely sounds like she is mentally ill. Unfortunately there really is not much you can do. If she’s not hurting anyone I would just leave it be. An adult has the right to not get help even if other people see that they are mentally ill. Good luck to you and your family. :sunny:


Is there anyone else that can be of help to them? Someone her husband will listen to? Though you are far away, you might be able to make some phone calls. The children are a big concern.
I hope you can get in touch with someone that will help–maybe someone in your area can advise you.


My partner tried to gently approach his brother about the issue, but he didn’t want to hear it. He became quite defensive. He seems to believe everything; from the alleged phone tapping, alleged sexual assaults (which didn’t actually happen but ‘they’ (the men) wanted it to happen)…he even thinks many women want him so he must protect himself from them? Not to be cruel, but he is not a particularly good looking man…so it’s hard to believe. I think any gesture of kindness or friendliness from a woman is misconstrued.

I’m from a social work background and have had an ex who suffered from psychosis; I’ve been privy to the signs and symptoms of most mental illnesses…but this has me stumped. Couples psychosis? Seems unlikely.


I was curious so I Google’d couple psychosis.


Hi Louisa,

Just wanted to check in to see how things are going with your sister in law. I think it is very likely she has schizophrenia from your description - and its important for her to get treatment as soon as possible, the longer it takes, the worse the prognosis.

You are lucky in that Australia has a very good programs for treating early psychosis / schizophrenia. Here are some relevant links. i would recommend you call the Orygen center to find out the best and closest center to your sister in law - at some point your brother in law will see the light of day.