My boyfriend was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in February 2011 when he had an episode of mania which lasted for about 10 days. He has been on Resperidone and Depakote since then. His doctor has advised him not to consume marijuana but he has consumed marijuana thrice since then. I love him and I am worried because he is convinced that marijuana is a natural herb and could cure him. I disagree. Even if it were, it is illegal in my country and there are no doctors here to prescribe marijuana for treatment of bipolar disorder. My boyfriend has been consuming marijuana for more than a decade before the above said episode happened, he has done at least 3 acid trips and at least 1 MDMA trip. On the evening just before his episode of mania began, just before he started hallucinating of being Lord Shiva, he suspects someone gave him something. We do note know for sure. It was either Dhatura seed ( known to cause hallucination ) or some acid. After 10 days of hallucinating he was sedated and brought back home and was hospitalized for 3 weeks. He's been on Depakote and Resperidone. I am worried because he keeps running away from the city and wants to leave everything and settle down in a small city with me. He is a talented guy..he has got many job offers but wouldn't take anything....He feels depressed often especially when in the city. I love him a lot and I wish I could help him but need some understanding of this situation. He wants to marry me but I don't know what that means and how his illness could affect us today and in the future...There are times when he is convinced he does not have bipolar disorder. Please help me. He is a lovely person and I don't want to lose him.
Right now besides remaining on treatment he needs rehabilitation and follow up as regards the drug issue. Any of these drugs can worsen the symptoms of bipolar and make a person less responsive to medication. Lack of understanding of what bipolar is and the need for treatment can be a problem at times and this concern is worth following up with as well. It would be worthwhile to encourage him to discuss this issue with his psychiatrist in a supportive manner because it will help wih his recovery process. Also a dual recovery group for a person with a substance abuse issue and a psychiatric disability would be helpful for him.
I am truly sorry for what both of you are going through. Bipolar disorder can really turn a person inside out. Your boyfriend has already taken the first step towards stabilizing ... he is on medication. It's crucial that he takes it daily. As for marijuana, there is nothing 'natural' about it. It should have no place in his life, but it isn't uncommon for a person in his position to 'self medicate' in order to try and FEEL 'normal.' He needs to give his medication a chance. Many times meds have to be changed entirely because what work well for one person, doesn't work for another. He needs to be patient, which is easier said than done, I know.
It is also quite common for a person suffering from a disorder completely doubt that there is anything wrong with them. That kind of thinking simply gives them an excuse to stop taking their meds, etc. I completely agree with Iladvocate's post ... your boyfriend needs to continue his counseling and group counseling would help him 'see' himself in the other members of the group. He needs to accept his bipolar condition and then comes to terms with how he needs to live from now on. Taking any other drugs than those prescribed for him is going to affect him in a very negative way. Alcohol as well.
He is going to have to learn about being bipolar and how to cope with it as well. It isn't going to be easy ... because it sounds as though he is 'fighting' the whole idea right now. Of course everyone wants to be 'normal' .... whatever that may be :-) But the sooner he comes to terms with his bipolar the better his life will become. I have a daughter with schizoid affective disorder and she refuses to admit the diagnosis to herself. She takes her medication but it isn't a cure. She still see's and hears things that aren't there. She is my daughter, so of course I accept her as she is ...
You love your boyfriend and wish to stand by him through all this .. that will take you getting educated about his illness. If you cannot find any support groups for yourself, then you should pick up a good book about bipolar or read everything you can online. As for your boyfriend wanting to move to a small ciity ... I don't think you should do anything that is going to take you away from what you are familiar with: whether that is your job or your friends and family, which can be your support system right now! Your boyfriend is having a: 'the grass is always greener' moment about moving. He believes it's going to make things better ... and that is most definitely not so! I know that in narcotic's anonymous meetings, the members are always advised not to change anything in their life's for one year. Don't change jobs, don't start or end a relationship.The reason being: that until they become stable emotionally, the choices they make are not dependable.
I believe the same can be said about your boyfriend. I believe it's important to make a 'stand' right where you are, wait a full year and see how things sort themselves out. I wouldn't suggest getting married in that year either. As much as you love him, you just don't know what is going to happen or how things might change. Accepting his disorder, going to counseling, taking his meds, staying off all other drugs, getting a job ... these are all very important for the future of his health and the health of your relationship. You can educate yourself, understand and be supportive. But the bottom line is this - HE must do what needs to be done. No one can MAKE him get better. That is a road he must walk alone. The truth is that no amount of love can cure what he has. I wish that it could.
If you ever want to message me, please feel free to do so! I would like to know how you (both) are doing! I hope you will wait that year I spoke about ... just wait and see how everything turns out after next July! You take care of yourself sweetheart ... you'll be in my prayers! Bye for now ...
There is a book called "Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder" By Julie Fast you may want to check out. There is also a book called "The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide" by David J. Miklowitz PhD. It is a very comprehensive guide that goes into the most current medications, and some of the lifestyle things people with bipolar can do to help themselves. Both are second editions so make sure you get the most recent copy, especially of the Bipolar Survival Guide as it has the most up to date medical information. Just came out last year.
I know some people who swear by marijuana as a help to their bipolar disorder. That being said, the people that I know who said this were pretty low functioning in my books. None of them had jobs for instance. It is also known to trigger episodes of psychosis in susceptible people. Self medicating with pot or pills or booze is quite common.
As is believing there is nothing really wrong with you. Especially if you've been taking meds and are starting to feel 'normal' it is really easy to convince yourself that there isn't really anything wrong, that you can do it without medications. Taking medications life long is a hard pill to swallow - literally. lol. The other thing too is if the hallucinations and 'mania' were the result of some bad drugs, he may not have bipolar. He needs to have some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder when he is not taking illegal drugs. He needs to be honest with his psychiatrist about his drug use. Trust me they will not be surprised, it is rather common place.
As for marrying. Bipolar disorder can only be managed not cured. Chances are strong he will have another episode even if he takes his meds faithfully. Chances are strong if he takes his meds the episode won't be as long or as severe but it is important to go in accepting that you may have to watch another episode and accept that for what it is.
No one has a guarantee of health. No one. Once you are married the 'for better or worse' 'sickness and health' clause comes into effect and you better be willing to live that one out. For all you know you could trip on the side walk, hit your head and become brain injured. You would expect him to be beside you as a support if you are married. Not to be fatalistic but everyone has their 'thing' eventually in their lifetime. Be it cancer, diabetes, heart disease, car accident. He just knows what his 'thing' is.
I would however be a bit hesitant if he doesn't 'believe' his diagnosis and you know in your heart it is the case. It is a rough ride dealing with an out of control bipolar person not willing to take their meds. It takes a lot of love and acceptance and it can be very hard to watch a train wreck. You will end up being a caretaker much of the time. You gotta know if you are willing to be that person. Not saying he isn't worth it - he may be - just go in with your eyes wide open accepting him as he is, not as you wish he would become.
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