I Think my Friend is Losing it. What Should I do?

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    Jul 18, 2013 2:29 AM GMT
    My friend has always been a very carefree guy. Honestly he's usually a little too carefree for my tastes at times. He gets stressed out like everyone else but in general, he's very laid back and kind of rolls with the punches in a way that I've always been envious of. He's always had a great body and works out a lot, but over the past few years he's been doing a lot of power lifting and getting huge. Mostly muscle, but definitely some fat too. I was a little concerned he was getting too much fat on him to be honest.

    Well, I started working out at a different gym and he was working out of town for a while, so I didn't see him for a couple of months. Then I saw him and I almost didn't recognize him. He had lost a TON of weight. Not just fat, but muscle too. I couldn't help but ask what was going on. He explained to me that he had discovered he was allergic to gluten. He said once he cut out the gluten he just lost a lot of weight. icon_confused.gif Now I'm sure removing any particular food can cause weight loss but this was a lot of weight. A couple weeks past and I noticed a rash on his arm. I asked him about it and he said that he realized it wasn't gluten but dairy that he's allergic to. I invited him out for a drink a couple of nights later and he told me he'd love to go but he couldn't drink anymore because he breaks out when he drinks alcohol. Every time I see him he's imagined a different food or substance he's allergic to. I'm not saying he's not allergic to something but he's starting to sound delusional.

    He refused to go to the doctor so I offered to pay for him. Two weeks later he still had not made the appointment. I even went as far as calling my doctor and making an appointment for him but he made me cancel it and made up some bullshit excuse why he couldn't go. I've made it crystal clear the doctor bill would be a gift....not a loan. But still he won't go. He just keeps coming up with weird symptoms and a growing list of things he says he's allergic to.

    I realize he's an adult but I feel like I'm watching him slip into some sort of mental illness. What do I do?
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    Jul 18, 2013 4:16 AM GMT
    I've noticed 2 things here...
    first he works out a lot
    second he says he's allergic after some time.

    My guess is...it's due to the vitamin pills he's consuming...I think many of the body builders consume artificial supplements like protein powder, vitamins etc.

    If he takes anything like that, make him stop...sometimes excess may lead to allergies and when they cease to consume them, the allergy will also subside.

    I may be wrong, but I think your friend is under depression. It seems to me like depression, but there may be several other reasons behind his behavior...cannot decide or even guess without knowing much about your friend.
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    Jul 18, 2013 4:19 AM GMT
    Harry7785 saidI've noticed 2 things here...
    first he works out a lot
    second he says he's allergic after some time.

    My guess is...it's due to the vitamin pills he's consuming...I think many of the body builders consume artificial supplements like protein powder, vitamins etc.

    If he takes anything like that, make him stop...sometimes excess may lead to allergies and when they cease to consume them, the allergy will also subside.

    I may be wrong, but I think your friend is under depression. It seems to me like depression, but there may be several other reasons behind his behavior...cannot decide or even guess without knowing much about your friend.


    Well, he switched to a vegan protein powder because he said he was allergic to that too. I switched to the same brand but not because of allergies. Him and his girlfriend were having problems but I don't know if it's enough to make him drop 40 pounds so rapidly.
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    Jul 18, 2013 4:24 AM GMT
    Hmmmm has he picked up any drug habits that is causing some mental side effects? It can also me a form of manorexia or something else. You should probably get your doctor to come make a house call (under disguise as a friend) and get your friend in the same place.

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    Jul 18, 2013 5:08 AM GMT
    He's probably just staying up late watching PBS. Every night, there's at least one health guru explaining what you should be allergic to this week. (I know. I'm an insomniac.)

    If he is allergic to something, it is very unlikely a doctor will be able to help.

    Eliminating gluten could very plausibly explain the weight loss you describe, particularly if he didn't replace it with other carbs.
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    Jul 18, 2013 12:59 PM GMT
    It doesn't sound like he needs to see a medical doctor. It sounds like he needs to see a psychologist.
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    Jul 18, 2013 2:10 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidIt doesn't sound like he needs to see a medical doctor. It sounds like he needs to see a psychologist.


    +1

    and with friends that are concerned that he got too fat and then got too skinny, sounds like you all are feeding into his issues.

    Send him to a shrink, you're not equipped to deal with all the things that could be going on with him.
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    Jul 18, 2013 2:59 PM GMT
    Just a guess, but it sounds like your friend is in denial about something he thinks he might have and is avoiding the issue entirely with his made up reasons for this or that. He needs to get tested.
  • metta

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    Jul 18, 2013 3:03 PM GMT
    It sounds like you have done what you can already. Even though you may want to, you can't force people to get help.
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    Jul 18, 2013 3:08 PM GMT
    I understand what you're going through. One of my old best friends is turning slowly into a mythomaniac hysterical girl and there's nothing I can do about it. It makes me sad when I think about it.
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    Jul 18, 2013 3:18 PM GMT
    Hi there --

    Sorry to hear about your friend. Regardless of the issue, he's obviously got some things going on.

    Looking at it from a medical perspective... food allergies are addressed from a pretty standardized checklist. #1 Simplify the diet down to "boring" and add one thing at a time until you identify the culprit.

    From what you have indicated, it truly sounds like he's picked up a drug habit (most likely meth). Would explain the weight, the rashes, the excuses, the MIA behavior and avoidance. I would like think differently, but my gut instincts tell me he's having substance abuse issues. Now, how he found himself there, or trying to understand what lies beneath the surface that allowed him to get to such a place is anyone's guess.

    I didn't see you comments about gaining fat as a criticism. It sounded more like you were noticing drastic changes (in either direction) and got worried. Good for you.

    If you know anyone else he's close to in his world... try to get some of their perspectives before you schedule an intervention or something on his butt. Want to be sure first...


    Good luck buddy
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4434

    Jul 18, 2013 3:23 PM GMT
    metta8 saidIt sounds like you have done what you can already. Even though you may want to, you can't force people to get help.

    This. Tell him you think he should see an allergist to determine what the allergies are. I'm with you, though. I don't think that's it. He may be doing some weird steroids or did do them then stopped. Read the regimen for the "cutting" phase bodybuilders go through before a contest. It's insane, I know a bunch of these guys at my gym and they're all fine but the things they do to their body's source of food and liquid could easily trigger a malfunction if they were predisposed anyway. Sounds like he likely was on steroids and then quit. He knows something he's not telling you. Just tell him you're concerned and he can come to you if he needs help.
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    Jul 19, 2013 2:46 AM GMT
    jayNca saidHi there --

    Sorry to hear about your friend. Regardless of the issue, he's obviously got some things going on.

    Looking at it from a medical perspective... food allergies are addressed from a pretty standardized checklist. #1 Simplify the diet down to "boring" and add one thing at a time until you identify the culprit.

    From what you have indicated, it truly sounds like he's picked up a drug habit (most likely meth). Would explain the weight, the rashes, the excuses, the MIA behavior and avoidance. I would like think differently, but my gut instincts tell me he's having substance abuse issues. Now, how he found himself there, or trying to understand what lies beneath the surface that allowed him to get to such a place is anyone's guess.

    I didn't see you comments about gaining fat as a criticism. It sounded more like you were noticing drastic changes (in either direction) and got worried. Good for you.

    If you know anyone else he's close to in his world... try to get some of their perspectives before you schedule an intervention or something on his butt. Want to be sure first...


    Good luck buddy


    I saw his rashes up close in the daylight yesterday. They seem to be in a circular pattern. Other than ringworm, is there anything else that makes rings like that? I'm really worried now, but he just dismisses me when I try to get him to the doctor. He's acting really bizarre.
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    Jul 19, 2013 2:53 AM GMT
    If he doesn't go to a doctor, why not bring a doctor to him?
    have you considered this?
    Do they charge you high??
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    Jul 19, 2013 3:17 AM GMT
    Need Blood work and doctor. It can be anything from AIDS to malnutrition.
  • pure_motion

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    Jul 19, 2013 3:24 AM GMT
    Your friend sounds a lot like my sister. She was a fairly normal, active girl. She became vegetarian, which is not a bad thing. Then she cut out all gluten, claiming she had coeliac disease. I asked her the routine questions, when were you tested? etc. She said she'd been tested in high school and had never done anything about it. Talking to my parents, this never happened. They never took her to a doctor about it, she never had the blood tests or colonoscopy you'd need to confirm a diagnosis.

    She then cut out all dairy, again claiming she was allergic (although she really doesn't understand the difference between allergy and intolerance). Then she became vegan. Then became a raw vegan. She only eats organic. Never drinks. And she takes up whatever fad diet she hears about, alkalising, juice fasts, colon cleanses etc. She once only had juice for two months. She went a bit nuts.

    Any time anyone would bring it up, and trust me, at family dinners and birthdays where she makes a big scene at the restaurant that she can't anything it gets brought up, she becomes evasive, defensive and hostile. Even after going through with her why any particular fad diet she was doing was not meritorious she would completely ignore it. She has lapses every now and again and goes to the other extreme, eating junk food but this has only happened twice, and she becomes extremely depressed when she does.

    Being pretty close to her I have theories about what happened. Her dietary changes started after a complicated break up with her boyfriend. She has become increasingly isolated from her friends, to the point now she has one friend, who she is not especially close to. Her business isn't doing well. I kind of think that as she has lost some control over other aspects of her life she sees her diet as something completely within her control. It gives her comfort.

    Maybe like other people have suggested, both your friend and my sister could benefit from a psychologist rather than a doctor (not that my sister would ever see a doctor when there's a natural solution to every single condition). Anyway hope this helps you.
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    Jul 19, 2013 3:54 AM GMT
    pure_motion saidYour friend sounds a lot like my sister. She was a fairly normal, active girl. She became vegetarian, which is not a bad thing. Then she cut out all gluten, claiming she had coeliac disease. I asked her the routine questions, when were you tested? etc. She said she'd been tested in high school and had never done anything about it. Talking to my parents, this never happened. They never took her to a doctor about it, she never had the blood tests or colonoscopy you'd need to confirm a diagnosis.

    She then cut out all dairy, again claiming she was allergic (although she really doesn't understand the difference between allergy and intolerance). Then she became vegan. Then became a raw vegan. She only eats organic. Never drinks. And she takes up whatever fad diet she hears about, alkalising, juice fasts, colon cleanses etc. She once only had juice for two months. She went a bit nuts.

    Any time anyone would bring it up, and trust me, at family dinners and birthdays where she makes a big scene at the restaurant that she can't anything it gets brought up, she becomes evasive, defensive and hostile. Even after going through with her why any particular fad diet she was doing was not meritorious she would completely ignore it. She has lapses every now and again and goes to the other extreme, eating junk food but this has only happened twice, and she becomes extremely depressed when she does.

    Being pretty close to her I have theories about what happened. Her dietary changes started after a complicated break up with her boyfriend. She has become increasingly isolated from her friends, to the point now she has one friend, who she is not especially close to. Her business isn't doing well. I kind of think that as she has lost some control over other aspects of her life she sees her diet as something completely within her control. It gives her comfort.

    Maybe like other people have suggested, both your friend and my sister could benefit from a psychologist rather than a doctor (not that my sister would ever see a doctor when there's a natural solution to every single condition). Anyway hope this helps you.



    I agree. I think it's more mental than anything else. But if I can't get him to a MD, I certainly can't bring up the subject of his mental health. I don't want to alienate him and even told him as much. But fuck....I just don't get why he won't go to the doctor. Maybe he's afraid of the news. Who knows?
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    Jul 19, 2013 3:55 AM GMT
    Scruffypup saidI saw his rashes up close in the daylight yesterday. They seem to be in a circular pattern. Other than ringworm, is there anything else that makes rings like that? I'm really worried now, but he just dismisses me when I try to get him to the doctor. He's acting really bizarre.


    Lyme Disease is characterized by a bullseye-shaped rash (usually only in one spot, though, where the tick bit) and can produce symptoms that mimic food allergies.

    Most people who suffer from food allergies and/or Lyme Disease, however, find their physicians, friends, and family members dismiss their health concerns and assume they are mentally ill.
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    Jul 19, 2013 4:01 AM GMT
    shortbutsweet said
    Scruffypup saidI saw his rashes up close in the daylight yesterday. They seem to be in a circular pattern. Other than ringworm, is there anything else that makes rings like that? I'm really worried now, but he just dismisses me when I try to get him to the doctor. He's acting really bizarre.


    Lyme Disease is characterized by a bullseye-shaped rash (usually only in one spot, though, where the tick bit) and can produce symptoms that mimic food allergies.

    Most people who suffer from food allergies and/or Lyme Disease, however, find their physicians, friends, and family members dismiss their health concerns and assume they are mentally ill.


    There is more than one ring. I saw several on him yesterday.
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    Jul 19, 2013 4:30 AM GMT
    It would be an unusual presentation, but I suppose it's possible he was bitten by more than one tick. Has he been in a deer-tick-infested area in the last few weeks? Hunting in the woods? Wading through the Cypress swamp?

    (Note that I am not a medical doctor.)
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    Jul 19, 2013 4:47 AM GMT
    shortbutsweet saidIt would be an unusual presentation, but I suppose it's possible he was bitten by more than one tick. Has he been in a deer-tick-infested area in the last few weeks? Hunting in the woods? Wading through the Cypress swamp?

    (Note that I am not a medical doctor.)


    No, he hasn't.
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    Jul 19, 2013 4:48 AM GMT
    shortbutsweet saidIt would be an unusual presentation, but I suppose it's possible he was bitten by more than one tick. Has he been in a deer-tick-infested area in the last few weeks? Hunting in the woods? Wading through the Cypress swamp?

    (Note that I am not a medical doctor.)

    May be, but even a doctor cannot confirm without examining him first.
    I'm afraid our oral advice/suggestions/opinions may bring more questions than answers.
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    Jul 19, 2013 5:11 AM GMT
    Harry7785 said
    shortbutsweet saidIt would be an unusual presentation, but I suppose it's possible he was bitten by more than one tick. Has he been in a deer-tick-infested area in the last few weeks? Hunting in the woods? Wading through the Cypress swamp?

    (Note that I am not a medical doctor.)

    May be, but even a doctor cannot confirm without examining him first.
    I'm afraid our oral advice/suggestions/opinions may bring more questions than answers.


    Scruffypup seems to want to be a good friend. By posting this thread, he is soliciting our advice. So far, most people have assumed his friend is mentally ill. I am just offering an alternative explanation. If he wants to keep this friend, it may benefit Scruffypup to consider the possibility that his friend may have a medical problem, not a psychological one. He is more likely to persuade his friend to see a physician if his friend feels he is being taken seriously and not just being set up to get sedated with psychoactive drugs, don't you think?
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    Jul 19, 2013 5:42 AM GMT
    shortbutsweet said
    Harry7785 said
    shortbutsweet said

    Scruffypup seems to want to be a good friend. By posting this thread, he is soliciting our advice. So far, most people have assumed his friend is mentally ill. I am just offering an alternative explanation. If he wants to keep this friend, it may benefit Scruffypup to consider the possibility that his friend may have a medical problem, not a psychological one. He is more likely to persuade his friend to see a physician if his friend feels he is being taken seriously and not just being set up to get sedated with psychoactive drugs, don't you think?


    I'm with you on this one...
    whatever his friends is suffering from, all our suggestions are pointing to one direction only, 'contact a doctor!'
  • mindblank

    Posts: 275

    Jul 19, 2013 3:17 PM GMT
    Might his rashes be Dermatitis Herpetiformis? This is a malnutrition-related skin rash, which is very common in those with coeliac.

    However I'm not sure if it fits in with the circular pattern you describe.

    You're right he needs to go to the doctor and if there is any issue get it diagnosed and not this bullshit self-diagnosis guesswork. From exeperience you could look at a lot of medical issues and rightly wonder if you have that problem, but the doctor will have actual reliable tests that will do a far better job.

    Maybe he's just typical straight old school ashamed of going to the doctor. Not something I understand either.