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bipolar and substance use

Our 21 year old son was diagnoised as BPII 2 years ago.  He is under a doctor's care but unfortunately is not seeing consistent improvement.  We think this is because he continues to use pot and alcohol.  He is on Lamictal, Adderoll and an antianxiety medication.   How do we as parents address this issue?  He seems to desire health but denies the problem of using alcohol or pot on what he says is 'once in a while'.  
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Avatar universal
I am an older male, in my 30s.  

While your son may be on a host of meds from the doctor, one thing that a young man will find hard to give up is the bonding and good feelings alcohol and pot can provide.  Drinking underage is a bonding experience.  The pot subculture is definitely something to bond to.

We may all know that drugs and alcohol are bad, mmm'kay?  ;)  But let's face it, they make you feel darned good.  

If I thought the people who loved me best in the world, and the people I know who really care about me, were so concerned about me that they 'went behind my back' and tried to 'help me out', I'd lose trust in them.  This may be hard to explain or even understand, but a young man probably won't appreciate anything but totally upfront honesty in this matter.  This is only my opinion.

I'm a parent too.  I feel for you, and good luck.
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Avatar universal
Hi im 22 yr old male, diagnosed with bi-polar. It was around this time last year when i finally realised i was seriously unwell and went to see my doctor. Il not go into the full story right now but basically things were deteriorating very quickliy and i was extremley suicidal. Finally being stabalized now, i have spoke to my parents about what it was like for them around the times when i was very low like this. My mum has said that she found it very difficult as i didnt want her to come to my appointments or be there when i was getting visits out to my house from professionals etc, so i know a bit about how your feeling in relation to not knowing what the best way to approach things as parents. It took me a while to realise this but before i first went to see my doctor about getting help i was using alcohol as a way of escaping what was going on. I didnt really know what was going on i just thought everyone was like this but i was just putting my head down and trying to get the days in as quickly as possibile until the next time i could go and get drunk. It was the only time i felt free and had a clear head. Im not sure if this has helped you but if theres any other questions you would like to ask me please do, however i would advise that you dont tell your sons doctor without talking with him first and explaining why you want to,as it could result in a loss of trust i know i would have felt like this had my parents disscussed thngs with my doctors without my knowledge.
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447130 tn?1225470866
He has to be off drugs and alcohol. He probably uses because his meds aren't doing what they need to so he could be self medicating. Either way people with Bipolar Disorder cannot be on drugs other than what our docs give us. It's such a fine balance finding the right meds, adding another substance to it can really throw a person in a tailspin. I would tell his doctor he's using pot and alcohol-it willgive him some clues as to what chemicals your son might be trying to stimulate or dull, and some kind of treatment plan to get him off and keep him off. It just makes Bipolar worse in my opinion. But it's not uncommom for bipolars to also have substance abuse problems. hopefully getting his meds right, will make it easier for him to accept treatment and quit using. But I would send his doc a letter and let him know since your son probably won't tell him and as a parent you need to do whatever it takes to get him off drugs.
Best of luck to you!!
Keep reading this board because you'll get a lot of other good advice on this subject!!
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