2013 Shows

Tonya says she hears voices and has private conversations in her head with celebrities, including President Obama, Rob Kardashian, Clint Eastwood -- and even Dr. Phil. Her mother, Diana, and niece, Ciera, are concerned that she may be mentally ill, but Tonya says she’s not crazy and that a lot of people hear voices. She says one of the voices, “Grandma,” is oftentimes unkind, has threatened her family and makes her laugh out loud to look crazy in front of others. Could something in Tonya’s past be the cause? And, can Dr. Phil help her quiet the noise? Then, Laura says her 20-year-old son, Hunter, is either a con man, a pathological liar or is mentally ill. She says his elaborate lies include pretending to be the CEO of a multimillion dollar company, a professional wrestler -- and even a cancer victim. Hunter admits that the last 10 years of his life have been a lie but says he just can't stop. What's at the root of his deceptions? Psychiatrist Dr. Charles Sophy shares his insight. Plus, learn the early warning signs of mental illness in children and young adults.

Find out what happened on the show.
Replied By: debbie040567 on Feb 21, 2015, 8:20PM
Just watched this episode.  At the end when Dr Phil went over signs of mental illness I found that I have been experiencing more then one symptom.  The symptoms started being noticable to myself when I was 43 years old which was 7 years ago. 

I eventually lost that job in 2013.  I was able to get another job 10 months later making 1/2 the amount and getting treated like dirt and bullied.  My symptoms became worst.  I went to my doctor and she diagnosed me with PTSD stemming from sexual abuse when I was 20 years old.  I have been through much trauma raising my child (who is now an adult) on my own.

The working environment was so bad that I had to walk out.  I applied for social security disability at the end of October 2014.  I live on my own and have not been able to pay my mortgage.  I"m trying to hold off foreclosure until at least I get a decision on my SSD Case. 

I live in a somewhat secluded area.  Owning my own home in the area I do has been a life long dream.  I live in a beautiful nature filled quiet area that helps me find some peace.  The possibility of losing my home has been unbareable but the thought of going back to work and getting abused again is even worse.  I'd rather be homeless.

Can I assume that PTSD is a mental illnesss that would make me suffer one of those mentioned symptoms.  I want to see a therapist and already have one picked out but since I have no income I can afford to go, but will if my SSD gets approved.
Replied By: sapphire23 on Apr 7, 2013, 2:50PM
Dr Phil I watched your show with Tonya and Hunter and I was never more disappointed in you.  I feel very sorry for Tonya and your chavalier diagonise that she not have schizophrenia. Her family must have been very disappointed as well.  She had classic symtoms and I should know my brother has been mentally ill with schizophrienia for over 40 years and it was uninformed over educated ego maniacs  like you who keep him from getting diagnosed earlier.  The advise you gave her could have come from the back of a ceral box for how much it will help her and now she can run around and say she is not mentally ill because Dr. Phil said so.  She is obviously very mentally ill and needs help you were nothing if not cruel to Hunter and a bully it was shameful what you did.  You are no friend to the mentally ill.  I would love to see how your advise to Tonya is  working or how great her family feels about what you did.  I would love of Hunters mom to have an oppurtunity to talk about what you did without you being there to attack her.  I felt as if she felt ambushed.  I was embarrassed for them and digusted with you . Does this discription below sound like Tonya I believe it does and it is the definition from the A.D.A.M Medical Encyclopedia of Pub Med. Schizophrenia symptoms usually develop slowly over months or years. Sometimes you may have many symptoms, and at other times you may only have a few symptoms.

People with any type of schizophrenia may have trouble keeping friends and working. They may also have problems with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

At first, you may have the following symptoms:

  • Irritable or tense feeling
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
As the illness continues, you may have problems with thinking, emotions, and behavior, including:

  • Bizarre behaviors
  • Hearing or seeing things that are not there (hallucinations)
  • Isolation
  • Lack of emotion (flat affect)
  • Problems paying attention
  • Strongly held beliefs that are not real (delusions)
  • Thoughts that "jump" between different topics (“loose associations”)
Symptoms depend on the type of schizophrenia you have.

Paranoid schizophrenia symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Anger or arguing
  • False beliefs that others are trying to harm you or your loved ones
Replied By: soyshinesmom on Apr 6, 2013, 8:45PM - In reply to jennef
Dr. Phil was disappointing. I love his tough love approach, but in this case, Dr. Phil was assuming that this man was normal for sitting down in his basement playing "pretend school" for hours at a time or for wearing a mask and fantasizing by himself, creating stories and characters. Ugh, I wrote in a comment which I hope gets published that this kid seems to fit the diagnosis that my daughter has which is that of Autism. Many austistics don't get correctly diagnosed because they are high functioning, verbal, and just don't "look different". Proper diagnosis can change everything especially help the young man to learn to control his mind but also to permit his mind to "destress" sometimes in the special ways that Austisics get to. Perhaps only someone who has lived with a High Functioning Austism or works with them professionally can recognize the symptoms but this kid has plenty of them. Fantasy world, special interests, age inappropriate interests, friendlessness, joblessness. I hope that his mother reads these boards.
Replied By: soyshinesmom on Apr 6, 2013, 8:12PM
I think Dr. Phil blew it this time. I have a 23 year daughter who was very similiar to Hunter. I had her tested with numerous docs, even paying $5000 to a reknowned doctor who told me that she might be schizoid. Most just said she was immature. She appeared completely normal, super smart, funny and yet failing in every sector of her life. Like Hunter, she had no friends, no job, a strong fantasy life, unique interests and behaviors. She lied to me regarding her schoolwork, even told me she was attending a cna (certified nurse's assistant) for months. I KNEW something was wrong with her but  punishment, incentives, tutoring, counseling,etc, never helped. I am definately not a push over mom. I was very motivated to get this kid on track but nothing was helping. When she was 17 years old, I had a friend push me into taking up testing again on my daughter. I had given up. Something pointed me toward taking her to the University of Utah Austism Clinic which is highly respected research facility. They did a two full days of tests on her. I was starting to suspect that they would tell me that she had Asperger's which is a milder  diagnosis on the Autism spectrum. Wrong. They said my  daughter was Autistic, high functioning, but clearly Autistic. I had never considered this because I thought Autistics were typically non verbal, had no sense of humor, etc. I've learned loads. Since that time, my daughter and I have progressed leaps and bounds. I have learned about her stengths and limitations. Now that she was officially diagnosed with Autism, she was entitled to receive some state help. She worked with a (state funded) Job Coach who works with disabled people. The job coach applied for jobs and attended interviews with my daughter. After getting a job as a cashier at a private college, the job coach trained at the job alongside my daughter for three weeks and then checked in with the employer for three more weeks to make sure that my daughter was progressing. My daughter has no been at that job for two years and she is very happy there. I think Dr. Phil was not seeing a potential high functioning Autistic person in Hunter. The fantasy life, the joblessness, the friendlessness, even the lying are all red flags. Dr. Phil you missed this one. Too bad, Hunter and his mom really looked like they wanted answers.
Replied By: msvanhamp on Apr 6, 2013, 8:03AM - In reply to dhm713
In response to people who have said they saw anger in Hunters eyes and that they fear him, well you are not seeing what I saw.If you look at the clip you will see he isn't looking at Dr Phil who is beside him, he is looking at his mother. I saw a son looking at his mother saying with his eyes "I can't believe I 'm being publicly humiliated on national television by Dr Phil." You are right about him being angry, hell I would have been angry too! It's bad enough to get "ripped a new one" but to have it done on national television come on! As for Dr Phil promising him help by giving him a life coach, well Dr Phil have you really?
Replied By: kellbell5 on Apr 5, 2013, 1:01PM
The Doctor Phil Show used to interest me and I was always excited to tune in because I wanted to learn something. I appreciated the opportunity to "listen in" as people shared their mistakes and vulnerabilities. I was especially eager as I waited for Dr. Phil to teach me something new about the complexity of human behavior and help me understand what motivates people, both good and bad.

I felt hopeful for his guests because I knew he was their last shot. I knew coming on the show was a last ditch effort for many of them. I was comforted by watching this powerful man reach out compassionately to guests who were experiencing their weakest moments. When life overwhelmed me, I felt better knowing Dr. Phil was out there somewhere, just in case I ever really needed him.

I've learned so much from him over the years. I appreciate his no-nonsense ability to get to the heart of the matter, but one phrase he repeats has meant the most to me. He often talked about how parents and spouses should be "a soft place to land" for their children and partners. I guess that's how I felt about Dr. Phil.  

When I was struggling with shame, or mistakes I had made, or when I felt totally unworthy and unredeemable, I used to think if I confessed my failings to Dr. Phil, he would knock me off my pedestal of denial, making sure he cushioned the landing. I would leave his stage humbled, but with enough dignity left to feel inspired by him.

After watching his approach with Hunter, my heart sank. I knew if it was me sitting in Hunter's chair, I would be suicidal. In my opinion, the interaction was cruel. It must have been so difficult for this mother and son to reach out about such a shameful problem. Oh, how I cringed with embarrassment for both host and guests. I mean no disrespect to Dr. Phil or Dr. Sophy, but I feel strongly that they got this one wrong. Hunter should get a diagnostic second opinon.

I've been therapy for a long time. My doctors have been the most powerful source of stability, truth and empathy in my life. I credit the help I've received for saving my life. I respect the people who do this difficult and complex work. They are human beings just like the rest of us and deserve understanding when they are not at their best. I've seen a recent trend of impatience and disrespect from Dr. Phil. I will pray for him to receive the caring guidance and redirection he has given to so many over the years. This is a man who has done great things for people, I hope he returns to that level of greatness. I'll be waiting.    
Replied By: bethbarthell on Apr 4, 2013, 5:21PM
I'm glad dr.phil didn't go far with the the fantasy world. The fantasy is the escape. I have had that issue myself. Having the problem with seizures hardly leaving the house because of fear that I would have one if I walked out the door, feeling controlled by my husband, after getting some control over my seizures and feeling free enough to walk out the door, then him having to be around me every where I go or know every step I take, listen to every conversation. As a matter of fact he just walked over to read what I'm typing now. I use to make up a life that was 100% better than it is now: free from everyone. It was to escape reality and be able to clear the mind so that I could do what I really needed to do. Concentrate on what I needed and wanted. I am studying psychology at this time. It truly depends on the person, the situation, and the company. Hunters proble was plain and simple HE IS A LIAR and it is probably true that it is difficult for him to stop. Help hi don't criticize him.
Replied By: sanjuangal on Apr 4, 2013, 12:59PM
I am not really sure what Dr. Phil's end game is any more.  I have been watching the show since the second season. At that time he FLAT OUT would NOT have anyone on the show that was under Dr.'s care or mentally ill.  i wrote several times over the years looking for some help.  I did not know there was mental illness in my family as I am adopted, until my son was diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic then the pieces of my angst and struggles began to fall into place.  My first suicide attempt was over 40 years ago, then alcohol and drugs and committments to mental hospitals (which I actually found to be a respite) and the never ending cycle of drugs..........I was given every and any drug on the market at the time without a clear diagnosis.  35 years ago I got sober, but the depression never went away.  I managed it with prozac and exercise.  I BEGGED the dr's to map my brain.......I just wanted some relief.  I posted once that I was suicidal and Dr. Phil's team emailed me to contact the Suicide prevention hot line.........WHY?  So some one can tell me my life is worth living.  To me that's like a alcoholic taking advise from someone who never had a drinking problem. Now here I am at 68, more depressed, more suicidal and still all I want is to fix the wiring in my brain.  Very sad......anxiety - something I never had before has taken over my life and it is so debilitating.  I work full time, am a college grad, a mother, grandmother and smart as a whip but not worh the time of day.  All I ever see are the younger folks getting help and while they have their whole lives ahead of them, I never dreamt that this is how I would be spending the "golden years" of my life........gripped in anxiety and fear.  Something stops me from ending my life evey time......guess it is a unconscious will to live but boy I wish I had the courage to take that step.  As for the guests on the show, sadly I believe that lady has some schizoaffective disorder.  I have empthy for her I guess because of my son, but it sure is late onset.  That said, I have a enormous resent towards Dr. Phill and his staff as they pick and choose who "deserves' to be on the show and the rest of us just get to watch and wish "if only that were me".
Replied By: jennef on Apr 4, 2013, 8:25AM
My jaw dropped when I heard Dr. Phil treat Hunter & his mother so dreadfully

On national- & international- TV, no less ! This was cruel, humiliating & abusive .

The young man needs,wants & deserves help. I found him very articulate, very intelligent  - & evidently possessed of a great imagination !!  With help & direction ,these gifts can be harnessed to lead him to a rewarding career & a better  life.

I just hope that he & his mother have not been too wounded by what happened to them on this show.

I know I would have been deeply hurt & would never forget the shame.

Replied By: energyrae on Apr 4, 2013, 7:23AM
I was so shocked at how rude, aggressive and uncompassionate Dr. Phil was with Hunter and his mom! His first comments were very unprofessional: Calling her "woman!", asking "what are you smoking?". This is not a case of someone defending a bad behaviour or not admitting they have a problem. This young man freely admitted that he has serious problems with lying and that he doesn't know how to get better. Telling somehow to simply "stop it" does not help. I consider it the same as telling a drug addict to simply stop doing heroin. They know they have to stop! They need help. I'm not suggesting that they should be babied, but Dr. Phil was overly critical, uncompassionate and mocking. You could see that Dr. Phil quickly realized that he had snapped at Hunter and he tried to make up for it... but it was too late.

Hunter, if you read this, I want you to know that I think Dr. Phil was mean to you and I hope you find some good professional help.

Dr Phil: I hope you publicly apologize to Hunter and that in the future you will be more mindful of your demeanor towards psychologically vulnerable people.
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