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Treatment Is Too Much Trouble

Question:

Hello, I have been diagnosed with a Bi-polar disorder ,this was back in 1991, they put me on a medication (elavil) which I used for sometime, But they impaired my ability to work. If I took them regularly I slept all the time! so I stopped. Well lately I am having problems with severe mood swings, and I need to Get Help, but last time I had to spend a week in evaluation, and now I can’t afford to lose the time to do all of that again. Is there a way I might Get the Help I need without spending a week away from my family?

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  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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Answer:

I don’t know if you can get back on your pharmacotherapy without a week in the hospital. Only your doctor will know that. I hope that you will speak with him or her and find out. I also hope that you will have this conversation and do what you need to do to get back on your medicines as soon as possible. Unmedicated bipolar disorder is not a pretty sight.

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p>Think about what it is that you can’t afford with regard to a week in the hospital. While a week in the hospital might take you away from your family for a while, the outcome of that stay would be a healthier and more stable you. You might trade a week now for months of stability later. If on the other hand, you avoid the hospitalization (if in fact the hospitalization is needed) you will be much more likely to become very unstable later on – making it much more difficult for you to care for your family or to work. Me – I’d recommend the week in the hospital now as the better bet for keeping your family whole and your ability to work intact.

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p>The other thing here is that you are playing with fire if you go on your meds and then go off of them. If you find that medicines are impairing you then tell your doctor that you need different ones. Don’t just go off of them. You can’t hide from Bipolar disorder and you can’t wish it away. Please be responsible to yourself and your family and stay with your medication program.

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