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Worried about sister w/BiPolar 1 need your advice

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Old 12-02-2006, 12:04 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2006
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alien1070 HB User
Worried about sister w/BiPolar 1 need your advice

Hi - I need some advice. My sister was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 over 10 years ago after a severe maniac episode. She doesn't leave her bedroom except to hit the kitchen or restroom. She doesn't socialize & has anxieties about going out. Not to mention severe OCD that often prevents her from leaving her room. She's almost 35 years old & feels like her life is being wasted. She's been changing her meds a lot over the last few months as she doesn't want one that makes her "spacey" or without feeling. Went off wellbutrin. She sleeps all the time - most of which is during the day.

She's even mentioned maybe she should just go off the meds as what if she was mis-diagnosed and isn't bipolar? We talked through it but, someone I'm not sure she's convinced although she promised not to stop her meds. So with that statement should we be concerned? She's currently trying Zoloft but is this the right med for her? Shouldn't she be on an anti-psychotic as well?

We love her & just want her to be happy. My fear is she's headed towards a maniac episode. I hope not! Let me know what you think. Advice?


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Old 12-02-2006, 12:49 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2004
Location: New York
Posts: 5,807
goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
Re: Worried about sister w/BiPolar 1 need your advice

Dear Sis ~

Welcome You are very wise and your sister is so lucky to have a sister who cares enough to seek out the help that she needs. With that being said, I feel I must forewarn you that Zoloft could very well throw your sister into a mania without an antipsychotic or mood stabilizer in place for that is exactly what happened to my daughter when they were treating her for depression with Zoloft. It was followed shortly after with a suicide attempt. PLEASE encourage your sister to discuss this with her pdoc. Often when a person is not being treated with the right meds OR is in a manic state they will deny the need for meds. This may be just what is happening with your sister. I have a feeling that they haven't found the right med combo because if they had your sister would not stay in her room all day and experience alot of the issues that she is facing. It sounds to me as if she is depressed when she acts this way.

Everyone responds to meds differently but I heard that Lithium is first choice for Bipolar I. My daughter is on Lamictal and Seroquel and that combo seems to be working out quite well for her. It is like a throw of the dice and often takes a few years to find the right med combo. My experience is that all the meds start out making you feel spacey but if you ride it out for a few months they usually go away. My daughter actually was fainting when she first started the Seroquel and the doctor told us to give her something salty and lots of fluids and it would improve within a matter of days. Well it did and I am glad that we didn't give up on it because it seems to be making things better for her.

Your sister needs to be told by you that things will get better....she needs to know that things will not be hopeless and for you to guide her towards doing things that will support that. Even if you offer to go to a crocheting class or something that she really enjoys until the meds start doing their thing....acknowledge that to her things look rather crappy now but that you would like to help her find the right meds and that she WILL feel better once she does find the right ones.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to come here and there are plenty of us who will walk you through. Nice to meet you and hope to see more of you on this board. It's a great place to be and where I have found a wealth of support while getting my daughter through the rough times.

(((HUGS))) ~ Goody

Old 12-10-2006, 09:33 PM   #3
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blauermonday HB User
Re: Worried about sister w/BiPolar 1 need your advice

Dear AlienSis: I am very concerned that your sister is not taking a mood stabilizer, too, because when the switch to mania comes, it can come so fast and can be so severe. She has had her diagnosis for a very long time, but has she been able to talk to many other people who suffer from the illness? I am astounded at how much it has helped me to read about other peoples’ experiences on these boards, especially in coming to terms with the correctness of the diagnosis. Perhaps you could print out some of the most relevant strings for her to read… At 33, I am near to your sister’s age, and have spent the last few months in a pretty deep depression, sleeping way too much. My doctor just added Abilify to my mix because I am starting to have hints that a switch is coming. I haven’t been diagnosed as long as your sister, but I can remember at least 3 times when I have seriously questioned if it is a correct diagnosis. I think I did so because it is such a frustrating illness to have, knowing you will need to be making constant adjustments the rest of your life, and it would be so much easier to not really be bipolar. If a person spends the majority of her time at one pole, she may have forgotten being at the other pole, for sometimes the passage of time dulls memory, and sometimes the medicines we try muddle our thinking or cause us to forget things. At times, I feel so cheated, from not being able to have a “normal” life, at least the kind that so many take for granted. And I would really love to find friends like your sister, like me. Part of the illness, the isolating tendency, makes it difficult to get to those support groups, but having relationships with others is a big part of a meaningful life, even more so for females, I think. And it is much harder to feel so despairing during the holidays. It is like you have a microscope scrutinizing your feelings and comparing them against how happy and wonderful everything is supposed to be or is portrayed in the media. I hope you get the support and encouragement YOU need from some of the terrific veterans here, as well as ideas to help your sister. And I hope that deep down inside, she wants help.

Old 12-11-2006, 07:53 AM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 70
Spanophile HB User
Re: Worried about sister w/BiPolar 1 need your advice

I would caution against the Zoloft too without a mood stabilizer. I was misdiagnosed as just unipolar and when I was on Zoloft I was much more depressed. For the first two weeks I was high as a kite, laugh for no reason (I enjoyed it after being depressed for so long). What goes up must come down though and when I did my depression was worse than ever. I went to work, went straight home and didn't even answer the phone. I'm sorry to hear that your sister is so depressed - it's horrible to be that way - I know I'm dealing with it now too. She needs to talk to her pdoc and explain that she's depressed all the time. Therapy would help too!

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