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Q:  Good Morning David-  I have a question concerning my brother.  My brother is 33 years old and has a big problem with his anger.  Some days the dog can make him mad and it's ok, other days the dog will make him mad and he starts flipping tables and breaking tv's and yelling at everyone in the house.  Keep in mind he has NEVER harmed any member of his family.  He seems to take it all out on the household furniture and windows.  My brother has never been checked for bipolar or any other type of mental dysfunction, he has no medical insurance and he supports his wife and 3 kids weekly from his paycheck so there is no extra money to really spend on doctors.  In his family they only go to the doctor if something is broke or life threating.  Over the weekend my brother has confessed to me that he knows something is wrong in his head and he is scared that he will never find out what it is or get any type of help for it because he can't afford it. My brother needs help and I dont know how to give it to him right now. I would pay for his
treatments if I could but I can't. I'm at wits end.

Does his behavior sound like bipolar?  A lot of people had suggested we check into it.  At this point I am asking for any type of advice that you may be able to offer me in this situation. Thank you.

Dear J,

Check the following sources for free services or payment on a sliding scale:
           1)  Employee Assistance Program through your brother's employer,
           2)  Local medical society, local psychiatric society,
           3)  Local mental health association
           4)  County mental health association
           5)  Local hospitals or medical centers with psychiatric services
           6)  Department of Psychiatry in nearby Medical School

It's safe to say your brother has impulse control and anger management problems at times.  These are symptoms of a number of disorders too numerous and confusing to mention here.  The important thing is to be relentless in getting the correct diagnosis.  If he has a reliable family doctor/general practitioner, that may be a good place for your brother to start by communicating openly about all of his behaviors and symptoms.  The family doctor may also be sensitive to your brother's financial situation and together using the above list, he may help you research the next move.  Good luck.  It may require some patience but there ARE free and sliding scale resources out there and available.

David Schafer, M.Ed.
Staff Psychologist

Published May, 2006

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