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Mother Is Refusing Psychiatric Treatment

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my mother,above described, appears to have the symptoms of a disease in the spectrum of bipolar diseases. 6 months ago she had a major mental breakdown/shut down after a short period of erratic behaviour and since then she has been extremely difficult to deal with.
Since her very serious illness in 1990, which was likely encephalitis, she has gone through a 6 month period, every 2 years, in which her behaviour and actions were very different, including overactive mind, depression, mania(?), paranoia, anger towards her husband and generally was incapable of dealing with life during these periods.
She never accepted any responsibility for the problems this behavior caused at home and refused ever to accept there was anything wrong with her. She would pull out of the phase afer 6 months and life would continue as normal.

There hadnt been a phase of behaviour such as this since 2002. Then, on holidays in Florida over Christmas break she was hospitalised due to the breakdown she suffered. When we visited her the next morning she was paranoid, fatalistic and thought she was victim of her families plot to force her into hospital and steal all her money. She was on a regular ward initially(her blood pressure following the initial episode was extremely high). The psychiatrist who saw her diagnosed her as having bipolar disorder. We her family had filled him in on her history. He admited her to his ward and discharged her after two days, in which time her had medicated her. Her behavoiur had returned to normal but she discontinued the medication as soon as she was discharged.

Despite the diagnosis, when we returned to Ireland she refused to accept there was anything wrong with her. Her behaviour is now similar to the phases that occure through the 90's:depressed, angry, neurotic, paranoid, frustrated and occasionally very hyper and erratic. Her 'thinking isnt straight'. She is totally opposed to psychiatric drugs, which she had a bad experience with following her illness in 1990, as she maintains they will leave her in a 'zombie-like state'.

How can i possibly convince my mother that she may have bipolarism?
How can i be sure this is what she has since she refuses to see a psychiatrist?
What is the best way to convince her that medication would improve her quality of life and not leave her zombie-like?

Her behaviour is a big strain on our family especially my father, towards whom she directs much of her anger. I feel very sorry for my mother but need to know how best to deal with an ill person who refuses to accept she is the ill one.


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replied June 16th, 2006
Bipolar Disorder Answer A1096
Bipolar disorder is a psychotic disorder (psychosis). It is a severe psychiatric disease. People with psychoses are not aware of their mental condition. They live in their own world of delusive ideas and hallucinations in which they strongly believe. They don’t consider themselves as ill persons and that’s why they don’t ask for medical help. Their closer family members are those who are usually alert to the condition first and bring them to doctor. There is nothing you can do but to bring her to a mental institution where she will receive proper medical treatment. It seems that is the best decision at this time for both her and the rest of the family.
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