How can I convince someone to see a doctor for a closed head injury?
March 19, 2013 5:39 PM   Subscribe

A friend of a colleague had an accident a while back, and lately has been going off the rails in terms of behavior. It is a real departure. How can I talk to them about seeing a doc without being a threatening controlling jerk?

Not terribly close, but more than acquaintance. I don't know he has anyone else who will reach out to him. Conduct includes missing court dates (family court), once resulting in a jail stay, changes in behavior, erratic memory, generalized oppositional defiant disorder behavior, lots of denial. I am not a doc, and it could obviously be drugs (though I don't think so), but I really think it is effects of head trauma.

Is there a non-threatening way to bring it up, or suggest that maybe he needs some help?

Self-absorbtion disclaimer: I want to not wake up in a year and feel like I wish I had done more, which I recognize means this is more about me. But I would like to help him if I can.

Thank you for your suggestions. -FTC
posted by mr_felix_t_cat to Human Relations (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Hey, you know I love you right? You haven't been yourself lately. Did you ever see a doc about that one time...I think you should."
posted by OmieWise at 5:42 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Given your description, I would try to say something like "I have noticed you are having some problems you didn't used to have. If it were someone else, I might think drugs. But I don't think you are the type. I would hate to see you suffer unnecessarily. Did you ever get that head injury looked at? You know, when you did blah."
posted by Michele in California at 5:49 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Anonymous email.
posted by murfed13 at 6:22 PM on March 19, 2013

Sometimes to do the right thing, you have to risk being perceived as a jerk. You know you're not and you'll have to risk that being enough for the chance to tell him something that may help him or save his life.

"Man, you've seriously changed recently. You have a shorter fuse and your memory is shot. You seriously need to see a doctor about this today. I care about you and I want to see you be okay."
posted by inturnaround at 6:38 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Not terribly close... could obviously be drugs (though I don't think so).

If you're not terribly close, why do you think you have enough perspective to know it isn't drug related? I'm not sure you should do much more than talk to the mutual colleague and get her opinion.
posted by chairface at 7:55 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Y'know, there are some things that you would not have said/done before your accident. Speaking as someone who knows you reasonably well, you're not quite back to normal and I think it's worth finding out more if you don't have follow-ups. I'm happy to help set something up if that helps - I know healthcare can be a hassle you Just Don't Need when other stuff is going on - but I want to know you're taking care."
posted by anonymisc at 7:55 PM on March 19, 2013

Maybe consider including this phrase: "not your fault"
posted by amtho at 3:19 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Can you get ahold of his family? From your description, it doesn't seem like he will be willing to listen and act rationally on his own behalf. Talk to him first, of course.
posted by Lieber Frau at 4:43 AM on March 20, 2013

I think someone who is a close friend needs to say something like "True friends care about each other and don't hold back. That's what friends are for. So I need to tell you something. Your behavior has changed radically and I'm very concerned about it. Could you please consider going to the doctor to see if your head injury has possibly caused some damage that you may not be aware of?"
posted by Dansaman at 5:52 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

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