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biopolar disorder

Question: I have a 22 year old son who was recently diagnosed with bipolar. He has tried several psychologists but has not liked any of them. He is a good person, likeable – I don’t understand what goes on. He is now on Lexapro and living with me. He says he is looking for a job and I believe him, yet most of the time is spent in his room “recording” music. He truly believes he is going to create something to change his life. I do not know what to think.

My other problem is I need to talk to someone about his moods, etc – yet he would not sign a release for me last time when he was in trouble so I couldn’t talk to the psychiatrist. This is so frustrating. What is a family member to do?

Answer: Bipolar Disorder is a very treatable mental illness nowadays. The recommended course of treatment is typically a combination of medication and psychotherapy. It’s unfortunate your son has not been able to find a psychologist he likes yet. But sometimes it can take a while to find the right match. Not all psychologists are the same. They have varying therapeutic orientations, as well as different personalities. Hopefully your son has not given up in his search. One of the best ways to help someone with Bipolar Disorder is by encouraging proper treatment.

Family support is crucial in the recovery process. Research has shown that support from family members increases the success rate of treatment, decreases the likelihood of relapse, and helps the bipolar sufferer lead a more satisfying life. Family members are in the best position to notice changes in behavior, identify warning signs of relapse, assess the effectiveness of medications, and create a healthy living environment.

Practical ways you can help your son are by educating yourself about Bipolar Disorder, encouraging treatment, identifying triggers, recognizing warning signs of relapse, and providing ongoing emotional support. It’s important to be caring, patient, and understanding. Sometimes the best thing to do is just listen and empathize with your son. The more you allow your son to share his thoughts and feelings without judgment, the more he will trust you, and the more willing he will probably be in signing a release of information form so that you can talk to his psychiatrist. Mental health professionals rely on collateral information from family members in order to make accurate diagnoses and formulate effective treatment plans.

Response by Dr. Ray S. Kim

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biopolar disorder, 9.5 out of 10 based on 18 ratings

This post was submitted by Laura.