My girlfriend is bipolar, and displays the symptoms of cycling. I am not sure if it is more than four times a year, but I believe that may be the case. She also drinks one bottle of wine or up to half a liter of Bacardi when drinking at home. Socially she will drink from lunch time to midnight and two o-clock in the morning although at a fairly steady pace that increases in intensity when severely depressed. Her diet is spartan and I believe her energy levels are low. She believes that level of drink is normal for her age, I do remember I did drink heavily in my early forties. She takes no medication for as a student at the age of forty plus, with the tuition fees, cannot afford to obtain them on a regular basis. She is highly intelligent. Her mania I believe does occur complementary to her depresion. When drinking socially sometimes she will pass out, usually in the depressed state. When having a lot to much to drink she suffers complete loss of memory and errors of judgment, that make her situation worse. What advice can you offer me in order to help her, other than the obvious. Will her present lifestyle worsen her condition. Her several previous relationships foundered, however we both have that special feeling that few people will ever have, we are soul mates and share that rare gift people seek all their lives. I know that I must work hard to protect the gift we share together. I look forward to your advice.
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I had to pass this one by Dr. Dombeck to get a proper response. He confirmed what I had originally thought. Here is what he had to say. “Your girlfriend would appear to be quite ill. Drinking at the described level (daily) she is very probably alcoholic as well as having to deal with her bipolar condition. This type of situation is called “dual diagnosis”. Her continued drinking will almost certainly make her bipolar illness worse. It is also very unwise for her to not be medicated. It is much more important in the scheme of things for her to have medication to remain stable than for her to pay tuition costs. The things to do are to get her into a detoxification treatment for alcoholism as soon as is possible, and then get her to attend AA sessions a few times per week. When she comes home, get all the alcohol out of the house. It will also be critical for her to see her Psychiatrist and get back on her medicines. If your community has any “dual diagnosis” AA meetings these would be the best ones to attend. AA people are funny about medicines sometimes. They don’t always make proper distinctions between medically necessary medicines and drugs/alcohol.” We hope this advice will help you.