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Violent bipolar son living at home /family life/what to be done?
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Violent bipolar son living at home /family life/what to be done?

Our 22 yr old bipolar son lives at home. He goes to school, has no job and depends on us for his health care. He has in the past 5 mos become extremely violent towards oobjects (punching wall, breaking furniture and glass) and most recently twice turned his aggression towards me, Mom. He has spat in my face, called me horrible degrading names twice and one pointed an electric staple gun at me and shot it. My husband says that if we put him on the street he will either be killed, kill or kill himself. My feeling is that we cannot go on like this. We have 3 other children, younger than he is. He sees a psychiatrist and is medicated with depakote and 2 other meds. His psych. says he can't discuss him with us because he is of legal age. Where do we go from here? How do we protect our family from him? Where does he belong - at home - in a hospital - do we call the police?  Please help. Thank you.
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This is truly a tough problem and I can't answer your questions directly in terms of advice because I don't know enough.  You have laid out the options, and they don't sound very good. Yes, if he is violent you will have to call the police and protect yourself and family.  But before that I would push the psychiatrist much more for a meeting with you and your husband, or a meeting with both of you and your son, to discuss the violent behavior.  He doesn't sound like he is getting enough medication.  If that psychiatrist will not meet, then go to another psychiatrist for a consultation.  He can talk to the other psychiatrist and give you advice accordingly.
16 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

I am really sorry to hear about the severity of your son's problem. I am Bi-Polar, and one of the issues I deal with on a daily basis is anger, or better yet rage. I am currently on Effexor, Lamictal, Buspar. My head dcotor and I searched for over a year to find the right combination of medication to help me with my disease.

I am not a Doctor, and I am responding as one with personal experience, and the many years I have dealt with it. Although my fuse has been lengthened, I still have some difficulties with anger. It takes a lot to get me angry, but when I get there, it's scary, because I have very little control of it when I reach the point of rage. Fortunately, I have never hit anyone when I go through this tirade, but I do get very loud. I've not discussed this issue with my shrink, but I am of the opinion that medication would have to be so strong, that being able to function would be very limited.

I am convinced that your safety, and your sanity must become your number one priority. The Doctor can give you information about your son's condition,if your son signs the appropriate paper work. Apparently, he is not ready to do that, and if his medications are working for him, then his decision to do that can be considered selfish on his part. I am totally functional at work and with the family setting. I am concerned that his meds may not be doing the job. That's for him and his Doctor to decide, but that doesn't mean you have to be subjected to his verbal abuse.

Now for the tough part. He is 22 years old, and if his meds are working, he is capable of living on his own. You may just have to let him go into the big bad world on his own. His tirades will become evident to others, and if he has not hit anyone yet, then I would suggest he may be reacting to his feelings when he is around his family. I am 53 years old, and my mother and wife still push my buttons. You may not be able to speak to his Doctor about him, but you certainly can seek outside professional help, and find out how others cope with this perplexing problem.

Something else that seems to work for me, Prayer. Good Luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you very much for your comments and your own personal insight into this because you have "been there", being bipolar yourself.

Since his most recent violent outburst last Sunday, my husband & I have gotten in with a Psychologist therapist for ourselves, my younger sons have appointments with counselors who deal with kids, my bipolar has gone back to his Pyschiatrist for an up in meds, and we have made it a condition to live in our home that he get weekly psychological therapy from a trained person.

Your compassion is much appreciated and I do pray that he will be able to be a functioning bipolar and contribute something to himself and to others.
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Avatar_n_tn
My heart goes out to you and your family.  I know exactly what you are going through because my 16 1/2 years old son was very violent for about 1 - 1 1/2 years and was diagnosed as bipolar.  Not only did he destroy things in the house,  he punched, kicked and hit me time and again.  I really don't know how I lived through the horrible 1 - 1 1/2 years. He was out of school for 1 year and has been warded in the psychiatric hospital once for being violent.  He is now on lithium 600mg for his mood swings and zyprexa 7.5g for the rages.   He is also taking about 9gm of Omega 3,  vitamin Bs, vitamin C. His anger and violence finally decreased only when the dosage was finally increased to the present dosage. His violence has decreased by about 90% and he is back in school since last August.  He still gets angry mainly because he finds he is unable to think clearly at times due to the side effects of the medication.  It took us about one year to find the right combo for the medication.  I am a single parent and I almost committed suicide with him because things were just so bad.  I'm glad that there is much stability now.  
I just want to encourage you that there is hope in your son's condition. Also,  I would like to suggest that your safety and the safety of your family should be top priority.  

My prayers are with you and your family.  Stability is possible, you just need to find the right medicine combo and the right dosage.
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Avatar_n_tn
Correction,  the zyprexa my son is taking is 7.5mg NOT 7.5g
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi. I read your story about your son with interest and compassion. My parents lived with my brother (a schizophrenic) for over 15 years before they took any action. He did get violent at times and I think that is why they did not do anything...my brother kept them hostage in a way because he would threaten my parents if they ever called the police or put him in the hospital. I think we were all paralyzed for so many years (hard for outsiders to understand). Finally, after some recent violent episodes with family and others, I called a Mobile Crisis Unit to come to my parents home and make an assessment. My brother was brought to the pysch ward, then placed in a pychiatric hospital and then placed in a community living center.  He is now on zyprexa and doing very well.  He is a completely different person (the brother I grew up with).  I never thought this day would come (after 15 years). So, for whatever it's worth - you are not alone. I have the highest respect for parents who are living with adult children with mental illness. I wish you and your family all the best.
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Avatar_n_tn
So sorry to hear what you are going through. Just wanted you to know that if your Son will not go willingly, or things get out of hand, you can get help for him legally. In Florida you can go to your county Clerk of Court office (usually where you file a restraining order) and ask to "Baker Act" your son. You need solid incidents, actions, dates and examples of why you feel your son needs immediate help. The Judge will review your petition amd make a determination of whether he needs admitting. I believe they can keep him up to 3 days while they determine if he is a threat to you, society or himself. If that's the case he can be admitted for as long as it takes for the doctors to "fix" his meds. Believe me, I know how hard it is to do that to your child, but if you feel like you are in ANY danger - it's the best way. I'd rather see my child there then behind bars and someone hurt. He'll thank you later. Mine did. You are in my prayers.  KK  
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Avatar_n_tn
Your psychiatrist's job is to help and if this one leaves you in the dark than find a better one..
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Avatar_n_tn
My mother was diagnosed with bipolar & physcoeffective (sp??) in January 2004 after a physical confrontation at my grandmothers house.  We noticed a change in her behavior beginning in late summer 2003 but she would not listen to anyone (denial).  She agreed to be hospitalized because she was pretty much out of control because we had to call the police.  Initially we thought she was on drugs but the tests were negative.  She was in the hospital for 10 days and released with the intent that she go to "Class" everyday.  The hospital van picked her up and dropped her off and gave her lunch.  She learned about the illness and how to help herself when things got bad.  She completed that with "honors" and now goes to her therapist once a month.  She takes her meds daily and is now "back to her old self".  I am writing this so that everyone knows that with the right meds and therapy there is a light at the end of the tunnel and people do go on to lead "normal" lives.  It was very hard to call the police and it was even harder taking to her in the hospital because initally she fought it but when she came home she thought that is was a good thing she got help.  I beat myself up in the beginning (am actually tearing up now) because of how she had to hospitalized but I know it was for the best because "I got my mother back".  So my advise is to do what you feel is best and in the end everything will hopefully turn up great for you all too.  God Bless and the best of luck to everyone.
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Avatar_n_tn
I can certainly understand the mom's concern. Somedays are good and some days are really bad. My son has been trying to get the right combination and still we are struggling with it. He is 26 stays at home. He has started doing volunteer work and works part time.This is good that he is busy.
I never know when he is going to erupt and with what real or imagined provocation.
His anger gets scary sometimes. I know he does not want to be that way.
Some days I don't respond very well either. I get so frustrated having to deal with it. Today was a bad day. I am glad I found this forum.
Somedays it is emotionally, financially, socially amd spiritually draining. Somehow God strengthens us to carry on.
I pray not so much for a fix as much as strength for the moment or the day for both of us.
Mom hang there. You will be a part of my prayer. God will never give us more than we can bear eventhough somedays it feels like a freight train ran over us.
Take care.


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Avatar_n_tn
I do not have the energy right now to explain my son's situation. Maybe later.... Yesterday we went to the dentist and discovered that the "plaque" had eaten through all his front teeth.... the dentist knew he had been on and off meds 15 years or so and said that this was caused by some meds.
SO YOU ALL MAKE SURE REGULAR CHECKUPS ARE KEPT.....
i'll write another time
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Avatar_n_tn
This is all new to me as my husband was just diagnosed a month ago.  We have three children between us, the youngest one is "ours" and the other older two are "mine".  He became manic the first week of May and we were all worried about him.  His father and sister saw how he was acting.  He was a threat to himself and others but it was not easy to get help for him.  We managed to get him committed twice by calling the police and having them take him in.  But in the hospital, off his addictions (alcohol and marijuana) he was able to convince his psychiatrist that he was fine although he only agreed to take lithium and nothing else, and refused to commit to getting addiction help. At the last meeting with his psychiatrist, I could see the anger and iriitation surfacing but she still let him out although he was supposed to have been committed for a month.  (he was let out three weeks early)  I had to get a court order that says that he is not allowed to set foot on our property, because he verbally abuses all of us and his anger is evident and very fightening to me and the children.  I wish that it didn't have to come to this.  I wish that he would have been kept in until he was well.  As it is now, I'm still afraid that he will sneak into this house.  I sleep with the cell phone clipped to my nightie and one ear open for sounds of him trying to get in.  He has made threatening phone calls. Of course, he says that this house is his too, and it is.  But he doesn't see that he is a threat to us that no person, neither child or adult, should have to live with. He is angry at us because we had him committed.  His father is dying with heart failure and just sits in the room, tears streaming down his face because his son will not even answer his calls.  I am so discouraged with the way the health system works here.  He could come and murder us tonight.  But as a mentally ill person, the health system is making sure that his rights are being upheld. The fact that we either have to live in fear or run and try to find another place to live (not easy with three kids and I've done that twice already since the onset of this) doesn't seem to hold any weight against his rights.  We have to wait for him to attempt to harm us before they will take him in again.

I feel for anyone having to live with this.  I am so afraid for myself and especially for my children.
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Avatar_n_tn
This is all new to me as my husband was just diagnosed a month ago.  We have three children between us, the youngest one is "ours" and the other older two are "mine".  He became manic the first week of May and we were all worried about him.  His father and sister saw how he was acting.  He was a threat to himself and others but it was not easy to get help for him.  We managed to get him committed twice by calling the police and having them take him in.  But in the hospital, off his addictions (alcohol and marijuana) he was able to convince his psychiatrist that he was fine although he only agreed to take lithium and nothing else, and refused to commit to getting addiction help. At the last meeting with his psychiatrist, I could see the anger and iriitation surfacing but she still let him out although he was supposed to have been committed for a month.  (he was let out three weeks early)  I had to get a court order that says that he is not allowed to set foot on our property, because he verbally abuses all of us and his anger is evident and very fightening to me and the children.  I wish that it didn't have to come to this.  I wish that he would have been kept in until he was well.  As it is now, I'm still afraid that he will sneak into this house.  I sleep with the cell phone clipped to my nightie and one ear open for sounds of him trying to get in.  He has made threatening phone calls. Of course, he says that this house is his too, and it is.  But he doesn't see that he is a threat to us that no person, neither child or adult, should have to live with. He is angry at us because we had him committed.  His father is dying with heart failure and just sits in the room, tears streaming down his face because his son will not even answer his calls.  I am so discouraged with the way the health system works here.  He could come and murder us tonight.  But as a mentally ill person, the health system is making sure that his rights are being upheld. The fact that we either have to live in fear or run and try to find another place to live (not easy with three kids and I've done that twice already since the onset of this) doesn't seem to hold any weight against his rights.  We have to wait for him to attempt to harm us before they will take him in again.

I feel for anyone having to live with this.  I am so afraid for myself and especially for my children.
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Avatar_n_tn
This is all new to me as my husband was just diagnosed a month ago.  We have three children between us, the youngest one is "ours" and the other older two are "mine".  He became manic the first week of May and we were all worried about him.  His father and sister saw how he was acting.  He was a threat to himself and others but it was not easy to get help for him.  We managed to get him committed twice by calling the police and having them take him in.  But in the hospital, off his addictions (alcohol and marijuana) he was able to convince his psychiatrist that he was fine although he only agreed to take lithium and nothing else, and refused to commit to getting addiction help. At the last meeting with his psychiatrist, I could see the anger and iriitation surfacing but she still let him out although he was supposed to have been committed for a month.  (he was let out three weeks early)  I had to get a court order that says that he is not allowed to set foot on our property, because he verbally abuses all of us and his anger is evident and very fightening to me and the children.  I wish that it didn't have to come to this.  I wish that he would have been kept in until he was well.  As it is now, I'm still afraid that he will sneak into this house.  I sleep with the cell phone clipped to my nightie and one ear open for sounds of him trying to get in.  He has made threatening phone calls. Of course, he says that this house is his too, and it is. I feel for anyone having to live with this.  I am so afraid for myself and especially for my children.
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Avatar_n_tn
This is all new to me as my husband was just diagnosed a month ago.  We have three children between us, the youngest one is "ours" and the other older two are "mine".  He became manic the first week of May and we were all worried about him.  His father and sister saw how he was acting.  He was a threat to himself and others but it was not easy to get help for him.  We managed to get him committed twice by calling the police and having them take him in.  But in the hospital, off his addictions (alcohol and marijuana) he was able to convince his psychiatrist that he was fine although he only agreed to take lithium and nothing else, and refused to commit to getting addiction help. At the last meeting with his psychiatrist, I could see the anger and iriitation surfacing but she still let him out although he was supposed to have been committed for a month.  (he was let out three weeks early)
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Avatar_n_tn
This is all new to me as my husband was just diagnosed a month ago.  We have three children between us, the youngest one is "ours" and the other older two are "mine".  He became manic the first week of May and we were all worried about him.  His father and sister saw how he was acting.  He was a threat to himself and others but it was not easy to get help for him.  We managed to get him committed twice by calling the police and having them take him in.  But in the hospital, off his addictions (alcohol and marijuana) he was able to convince his psychiatrist that he was fine although he only agreed to take lithium and nothing else, and refused to commit to getting addiction help. )
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