Desperate for help: Bipolar Daughter

My daughter is almost 20, and has suffered from bipolar "symptoms" for approximately 7 years now. As a child (up until about 6th grade), she was the happiest child you could ever meet. She was confident, outgoing, and had many friends and interests. At some point during middle school, everything changed. She became very distant, had a very difficult time communicating with us (mom & dad), and gradually things got much worse.



She began "cutting" in 8th grade, got involved with pain killers and became addicted for over two years, has been pregnant three times, got accepted to a very good college but only stayed for a month and ended up dropping out. Over the past couple of years, she has been in therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy).

She has also tried a wide variety of medications that never really seem to make much of a difference. She temporarily seemed to be getting better and signed up for classes at a local community college. To make a long story a little shorter, she has since dropped out of school again - mainly due to her most recent pregnancy. After having two abortions, she decided to keep this baby. (of course my husband and I were just devastated). Ironically, while she was pregnant, for about two months, her entire mood changed. She was happy, pleasant, and almost like the person she used to be so long ago. (which makes me question a possible hormone imbalance). About two weeks ago, she lost the baby. You can only imagine how devastating this has been on her.


She no longer has any interest in doing anything. She hangs out with her boyfriend most days and nights, smokes a great deal of pot, does absolutely nothing around the house, asks for money often, and never, ever

talks about the next step in her life. My husband and I strongly disagree on how to handle/discipline her on a daily basis, and are even thinking of having her move out on her own for awhile. We desperately need advice and direction. Currently the only medication she is on is clonopin. She doesn't really want to try any more medications, which means we need to find an alternative.


My thoughts were possibly taking her for hormone testing. Any information you can give me would so greatly be appreciated. Thank you.

Dear llomangino:

Firstly, I am sorry for the trouble you are having with your daughter. I think it is important to know, that a 20 year old with bipolar that has been this severe, may always struggle even if stabilized. We believe the longer someone is unstable, the worse the illness can get.Your child, from what you describe has never had stability since the onset of the illness.

Bipolar is a brain disorder and you need the best medicine and medical care to fix that. That includes medicine and therapy.

Your daughter should have a psychiatrist that has a tremendous amount of experience with bipolar, and who is willing to work with the family. The therapist, the same.

The loss of the child and the abortions have probably complicated her recovery. I would recommend the therapist also have a sensitivity to how difficult these losses must be for her.

If your daughter had cancer, it would be unheard of to do an incomplete trial of chemotherapy and expect a change. Would it not?

Half treatment doesn't work nor does partial medication. I believe with the proper care and medication your daughter and all people with bipolar disorder can get better.

Good luck to you in your search.

Sincerely

Kristen MCCLure

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