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My niece has been seeing faces and hearing voices telling her to hurt herself. She sees a figure that to her resembles the grim reaper. She has thoughts of suicide and feels as if demon is trying to posses her. Might this be a case of schizophrenia?

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Hi Esolis421, Yes, those are

Hi Esolis421,

Yes, those are definitely potential symptoms of schizophrenia, although they could be indicative of other disorders as well (depending on other symtpoms). I would definitely encourage her to get an evaluation with a mental health professional as soon as possible, especially considering her thoughts of self harm and suicide. This is not something that should be ignored or delayed. If she is a minor, then talk to her parents about getting her in for an evaluation asap.

The other thing that should be ruled out is whether or not these symptoms are caused by a substance or medical condition. Some drugs can cause people to become psychotic, so a drug screen should be done as well (even if she denies using drugs or if everyone is certain that she's not - some people hide their drug use very well). A medical condition is the least likely cause, but could be a possibility.

If drugs and medical issues are ruled out, then it sounds like she has a serious psychiatric condition. Depending on the severity of her symptoms, she may need to be hospitalized initially. If not, then a combination of medication and psychotherapy would be a likely course of treatment.

I hope she is able to get help very soon.

Dr. Lane

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