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Husband is bipolar, on Abilify and LIthium, need help... (Page 1)

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Hello,

Well, since I'm new here, I guess I should post a bit about myself. I've been married to my husband for almost 2 years now, and he has been diagnosed as bipolar since the middle of September. He had been delusional and hallucinating for a few nights, and I finally took him to the emergency room where they sent him to a mental hospital.

They put him on Abilify, 15 milligrams, and sent him home within a week.

He has been having a manic episode ever since being diagnosed, and it's been, like I said, since the middle of September. How long can this last?
He has such high energy, can't sit still, even when he stands still he bounces on his feet. He says such mean things to me, about how there's nothing wrong with him and I'm the one that's crazy.

Our lives have been hell for the last couple of months - he's moving out about once a week, or more often, and we both have threatened divorce so many times. He will go out whenever he wants, and never answer my phone calls, and often goes to a strip club with his friends, even though he's promised me that he won't.

He also spends hours talking on the phone with his mother, and whenever he's not out and about, he's hanging out with her. The reason for this newfound affection for his mother, I believe, is because she doesn't believe that anything is wrong with him. She just wants to "encourage his creativity" (his spending, his wanting to take college classes, his need to always be doing something).

I can't believe I'm jealous of my mother in law! I wish that he could talk to me like he does to her, but I can't listen to him because he's such a different person - everything he says just makes me cry.

We went to another doctor, who's also prescribed lithium, and I know that it will take a while before it kicks in (he's been on it 6 days), but does anyone know how to help us both cope in the meantime. And what if it doesn't help?

I guess that I'm not doing so well myself - I've been depressed for a large part of my life, and have been suicidal since this has all happened. We both really need help.

When will he come back to himself? Is there any hope for us?



Sorry for such a long, rambling post, but I've just decided that I need to reach out for help today.

Coal
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replied November 27th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
Was your husband taking antidepressants before he got the initial manic episode?
Is he taking his meds exactly as prescribed, even when he feels well?

With Abilify, manic symptoms improved for many patients within several days, but, of course, different people respond to medicines differently.
A mood stabilizer and an antipsychotic are often used as the first medications for acute manic episodes.
Abilify and Lithium are both mood stabilizers.
It may take months for symptoms to go away and for your husband to be able to function normally.
His doctor will try to find the combination of meds that works best for him.

Are you taking some meds?

Please, keep your faith!
There is a hope for you and your marriage.
Bipolar disorder can be effectively treated with a combination of medications and counseling and the person usually leads productive life.

Best wishes!
Marija
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replied November 27th, 2007
Thank you for your reply. In answer to your questions, no, my husband has never been on antidepressants. He grew up with his "new age" mother who doesn't believe in medication and believes that he is "coming into his psychic awareness."

As to whether or not he is taking his medications everyday, as prescribed, I think so. It's hard to say, though, because of him moving in and out of the house every week. For now, he's been back for 2 days, and yes, he has been taking his medication. We have also both started taking fish oil since last night.

When we talked to the doctor that prescribed the lithium, he said that the abilify was mostly to handle the paranoia and delusions. Why would he be put on 2 mood stabilizers?

As for myself, I will be going to the doctor tomorrow to see if I can get on any medication. I wish that we could go to counselling together, but the way I see it, until he gets out of his manic phase, counselling will only hurt me more, because of the hurtful things he says about me - I've been there a few times, and refuse to go again.

I'm not ready to give up, though, not by a long shot. I have my bad days, trying to deal with everything, and yesterday was one of them. Last night we had a really great night together, though, and I still have hope.

Thank you so much for your reply!

Coal
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replied December 3rd, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
Lithium is the treatment of choice for bipolar disorder and it's most effective in those individuals who tend to be more manic in their bipolar presentation. Effects of lithium may take up to 2 weeks to kick in, but up to 80% of those individuals who are prescribed lithium receive beneficial effects from it.
Sorry for wrong information about Abilify. Actually, is a newer "atypical" antipsychotics that is indicated for the treatment of psychomotor agitation (excessive motor activity associated with a feeling of inner tension) associated with Bipolar Disorder, manic or mixed.

Did you get some medications for yourself?
Were your husband recommended individual or group psychotherapy?
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replied December 3rd, 2007
Again, thank you for your reply. I am on medication myself (wellbutrin) and hopefully that will help me out some.

As for my husband, things have been up and down for the first time. I'm planning on keeping a calender so I can keep track of his ups and downs, but last week (Monday) was when he finally got over his manic episode. He continued to be ok for the whole week, but then had a manic episode JUST Saturday night. On Sunday, he wasn't manic any longer, but sort of sullen and quiet.

I hope that he is not going to have a depressed episode, but he's starting a new job today that he's pretty excited about, and he also woke me up to give me a kiss goodbye this morning - so I'm hopeful.

Anyway, it sounds to me like he's a rapid cycler - I'm planning on asking him to mention it to his doctor and see what he says. Does anyone know how long the rapid cycling has to take place before it's actually diagnosed as rapid-cycling bipolar?

Thank you!

Coal
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replied December 7th, 2007
Well, I don't know if anyone will answer this, but I thought that I would try. I am so heartsick after the last two days that I'm starting to have anxiety attacks - I can't eat and I can't sleep and every time I look at the computer in our house I feel like I'm going to explode (reasoning explained in next paragraph).

Everything was going ok for 2 days, and then on Wednesday morning I was checking my e-mail, and when I typed in www.s (and you know how prior websites you've visited that start with S will pop up) the first one was a singles site. I freaked and checked for every letter, and found out that my husband had not only been on that one but another one and also a website that lists single females IN THE TOWN THAT WE LIVE IN!

I flipped out on him, and he (after getting very angry with me) said that he had gone to those websites when we had been staying apart for a while. But I just don't know if I believe him anymore. The person that I knew before would never do this, but it seems like this is the person that he is now.

I don't even know why - it's not like I'm not trying to satisfy his sexual needs - most often he's not in the mood or too tired to have sex, so why does he look for it elsewhere? And why is he always going to the strip clubs?

I managed to pull it together that night, and put my feelings on hold to be with him while he was manic - we went out to the strip club, and then went home.

He only gets manic when I try to talk to him about what's going on - he'll be pretty calm and quiet, but whenever I try to discuss anything with him, he starts to freak out. He'll accuse me of trying to control him, and he says that he doesn't love me anymore. He gets so angry, and told me that if I would just "stop complaining" he would always be fine.

The thing I can't understand is, there's nothing of the typical symptoms of a manic episode when this happens - he sometimes doesn't have much energy (he sleeps a lot), he's not delusional anymore, he doesn't talk about his grand plans for his life. He's just an jerk, plain and simple.

Can anyone help me - I feel like I'm imagining things, and I feel like maybe he's not being manic when he's llike this. Maybe this is just somebody that he's turned out to be. If this is the case, I would never stay with him. I would have been gone 3 months ago. I just don't know - is this part of his mania or is it the person that he is now?

Coal
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replied December 10th, 2007
Me Too!
I am going through a lot of the same things with my husband. Although it has only been a few weeks, he seems to be in a manic episode and has left home, made anew life for himself in another town,etc. We have 3 small children and he keeps blaming me for his "craziness." I don't know what to do...Since he is 2 1/2 hours away, I don't know what he is doing. His mother absolutely denies there is anything wrong with him, other than the fact that I am the one stressing him out...Whatever. I too, also question if this is who is now. If this is really what he wants for his life. I mean, who in there right mind just abandons their wife and children and starts a new life somewhere else? Will he ever come back? If he does, what do I do then?
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replied December 10th, 2007
Who Has a Success Story?
Does anyone have a success story of living with someone bipolar, or being bipolar and managing a healthy relationship?

How did you make things work? How did you manage to handle the stress and anger and hatred and despair until things started working?

Seems like everybody's story is like mine and Junebug's.

Coal
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replied December 11th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
Hi, Coal!
Sorry for not writing to you for a longer period.
You were asking about rapid-cycling bipolar diagnosis and that diagnosis, usually, occurs when a person with bipolar disorder (manic depression) experiences four or more mood swings or episodes in a twelve-month period.
There are, also, terms like ultra-rapid cycling (applied to those who cycle through episodes within a month or less) and ultradian (refers to distinct episodes within a twenty-four hour period).
Psychotherapy, along with medications for bipolar disorders, can be very effective and it can dramatically improve a person's outlook.
There are different types of psychotherapy like cognitive-behavioral therapy (works on changing the negative mental habits caused by bipolar disorder), family therapy (helps people build supportive relationships and avoid relapse) and interpersonal therapy (helps people develop better communication skills so that their relationships improve)

Is your husband participating in some therapy group?
Is he willing to do that?

All best to you!
Marija
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replied December 11th, 2007
Well, I thank you for explaining about the rapid-cycling bipolar. My mistake, though, was thinking that my husband is a rapid-cycler. I've researched so much about bipolar, but somehow managed to miss reading about how bipolars are so easy to anger and are so hostile to the people that they love the most.

I thought that every night my husband would flip out on me, he was manic. Duh! Of course he's not. I can't believe I actually thought that for a while. He's just so angry, though.

The only help he is getting besides the medication is counselling once a week and also I think that we're going to start having joint/marriage counsellling once a week also, starting tonight. If you read some of my other posts, you'll find out that I'm pretty paranoid that he's been cheating on me. I so hope to address this tonight and get a satisfactory response from my husband.

Thank you,

Coal
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replied December 11th, 2007
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glad he agreed to go to marriage counseling! that is a good sign, i think. good luck and keep us posted coal.
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replied December 11th, 2007
Well, I hope the marriage counselling might work. I thought that maybe in front of a counsellor, he wouldn't be able to lie and would just tell the truth. But the last time I sat in with him on one of his sessions, and I mentioned the singles websites, he said the same thing - that he hadn't been on them since the middle of November.

I feel like there's no one out there who he will tell the truth to.

Coal
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replied December 11th, 2007
I feel the same way...my husband lies to me every time I talk to him....are they ever held accountable for their actions? he keeps telling me that I am holding a grudge whenever I bring up something he has done...even if it was only a few days ago. Am I just supposed to forget about it? I wish he would do counseling. He said that it wouldn't do any good and we would just end up tearing each other apart....I don't think that would happen, but am willing to give it a try....I don't know...
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replied December 11th, 2007
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junebug77,

YES, my husband holds me accountable for my actions... and i have made a few inappropriate decisions, too. just because we have bipolar doesn't mean we can run around cheating, lying, etc.! even IF it is our illness that made us act badly. i have made some huge mistakes in my life... and it took those mistakes to learn that you can lose someone you love very much. i pray that he doesn't have to learn this the hard way. that goes for you too, coal. i feel for you gals.
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replied December 14th, 2007
Hi Coal - I'm a Newbi
I stumbled upon this site cause I have been on Abilify for over a month now and wanted imput, but saw your messages. I was diagnosed as bi-polar almost a year and a half ago - married 4 years. My marriage has been struggling most of that time but thanks to my husband and marriage counsling he and my couns we able to point me to my shrink. We were on the brink of divorce just this summer. The abilify has somehow be a wonder drug. I am on lithium, lamictal as well and topomax for binging. You're husband will find the perfect "cocktail" if you will. I can't say it won't be a struggle... bi-polar is a tricky thing - especially when you live your entire life without help. I have faith... just hold on!
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replied December 15th, 2007
Thank you for your message, Jennmez. In talking to our counsellor today, it seems like my husband is extremely exhausted all of the time, and we're thinking it's due to the amount of lithium that he's taking. We're seeing our "medication monitor" (a really good specialist Smile) on the 19th, and I'm thinking we're probably in for something new again. We'll have to see what kind of medication he'll recommend now, but hopefully it'll be a good one.

I wonder, can any sort of medication help with my husband's bursts of anger? Are these the types of things that medication can help reduce, or is it just about my husband learning to control his anger? Can he help himself, or can the medication help him?

Thank you!

Coal
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replied December 16th, 2007
Burst of Anger
Iritability is a definate symptom that he is dealing with and medication will help. My iritabiliy was out of control and the lamictal seemed to work for me. When the symptoms came back recently the added abilify gave me the added "control" i needed. I would lash out at people and before I was medicated I would also take the anger out on myself - self abuse. The medication combo that your husband will find will work he just has to be upfront with his symptoms. I found the tiredness would also pass over time. I was willing to put up with it if I saw there was improvement with my symptoms. Is he getting the lithium levels regularly? Perhaps that is why he is exhausted?
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replied December 16th, 2007
Whew - I'm so glad you said that. Seems like talking to his counsellor and/or me doesn't seem to help with his anger problems. I'm hoping that his next appointment to see our specialist will be able to suggest something.

As for getting the lithium levels regularly, I'm not sure what you mean - are you saying that not taking his medication exactly as he should every day could be making him exhausted, or is taking the medication exactly as he should making him tired? Not sure which you mean. I do hope that it will pass over time.

The hardest thing about this, is my husband is a bit leery of talking to the doctor about his symptoms, because he thinks that he will just get placed on more medication. He says that all he wants to do is get off of the medication - it really makes me sad, because I don't have the heart, and I don't want to start a fight, by telling him that these meds are probably going to be for life.

Coal
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replied December 16th, 2007
Lithium levels are when the doc sends a patient to a lab to get a blood test to ensure the lithium as at a proper level. -

Well, if you husband wants to get off the meds that is a tough spot to be in. All he needs to do is talk about his symptoms and his fear of being on more meds - but that is the biggest fear itself i guess. My husband can't stand meds and at one point wanted me to go off until our couns said it was a very bad idea (i had no intention of stopping) I can't speak for your husband, but I have come to terms that I will most likely be on my meds for life - if I want to feel good and not have swings of iritability every week, day or whenever it strikes.

As far as anger/iritibility - unless your husband really knows it's happening its hard to point it out (you probably know what i am talking about). I tend to get very irrational and out of control. It's almost like you have to walk away... i wish i could bottle mine and throw it away.
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replied December 17th, 2007
Right, I should have know what you were talking about with the lithium levels. Yes, he is getting checked. He's only been on for a while now, so has had only one blood test so far, but then his doctor called and said that his levels were ok, so he should start taking one more pill a day! He wasn't too pleased about that.

I really wish that I could find a doctor dealing with bipolar but that is into natural healing - is anyone here with bipolar handling it this way?

And I'm afraid that he really needs to go to a doctor if he wants to get started with natural healing - he is on probation, and his PO says that he absolutely must stick with his counselling and medication, otherwise he'll go to jail. So he's sort've in a tight spot, which is sort've a blessing for me. Otherwise, I'm not sure I could convince him to take his meds/go to counselling.

Hopefully things will start looking better towards the end of his probation (he's got about 1 year to go).

Thank you!

Coal
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