Oh, Doctor, doctor, can't you see I'm burning, burning
July 27, 2011 5:44 AM Subscribe
Boyfriend is bipolar but won't take bipolar meds - help?
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (30 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So boyfriend's psychiatrist thinks there may be validity in the idea that my boyfriend is bipolar. He's also an alcoholic and borderline substance abuser who self medicates, and as you can guess by me posting, is in a state. Over the weekend his family did a mini intervention because of his manic state; he has all the classic symptoms of both the mania and the depression, and has only ever been in antidepressants and anti anxiety medication which didn't address the bipolar mood disorder. He, his doctor and his family and I all sat down on Sunday and talked about his problems and what to do. He gets along well with his doctor, but the problem is that the boyfriend is excellent at talking his way out of problems - including bipolar medication, which he does not want to take. It's the next logical step after this dreadful weekend, but he's somehow convince the doctor that he'll exercise, see him every day and all will be fine.
He's someone who sees the negative in a situation, and has devoured all the information on CrazyMeds - and only sees the side effects of Depakote and Abilify, the two ones his doctor has recommended. He just thinks he's going to end up bald and fat, and can't see the benefit of getting his moods stabilized because when you're on a manic high, your family worrying about your temper, aggressiveness and mood swings is just 'bringing him down'. I've tried to explain the idea of risk/benefit ratio (i.e. side effects happen, but you have to look at the the statistical likelihood of getting them and balance that with the benefits). Sadly he thinks we're all trying to control him, and doesn't want to 'negotiate' about the meds, even though this to me is a breaking point in the relationship. At one point he mentioned he'd consider taking them, but that's changed - and whenever I bring it up in a non-threatening, calm supportive tone asking if we could talk about the issues, he yells and says it's not up for discussion. I've explained that yes, the drug ramp up period is frustrating, but if we don't find a drug that works or has bad side effects we'll try other ones, and that we'll get through this - the importance is to just try. But I'm starting to wonder if *I* can get through this.
Both his family and I are frustrated - his doctor can't force him to take the meds because it's his choice, and now that the crisis 'appears' to be over (i.e. weekend anxiety is over, he's seeing his doctor every day) it's back to status quo. This means us picking up the pieces until the next crisis, and I'm exhausted, and don't want to wait for the next mini intervention or for my boyfriend to hit rock bottom because he's not taking responsibility for getting well. I sympathize - nobody loves being on meds, but if it's helping him then it's worth it. He's not psychotic enough to be committed, but he's obviously gone through so many periods of mood instability that he doesn't remember the stable periods in his life. My question is if there's a way to look at the list of side effects and say 'yes, this one has this side effect, and this is how likely they are to happen'. I want to work on putting the best, most compelling case to him in the hopes that he'll be convinced to at least try them. I hope to have the positive case ('look how your live will become stable') but will consider using a negative case if that's what it takes, because I'm at the end of my rope. I also don't like using ultimatums, but increasingly feel like I have reached a point of no return with him and have to figure out if I should break up with him and move out - which of course is hard to contemplate with him in such a stressful state.
Does anyone have any ideas of what will work? There has to be a way to help someone who's self destructing in slow motion in front of me.