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Q:  My son (age 20) has bipolar.  He is under Doctors care.  Has had meds increased.  Has been hospitalized several times.

 My son is too manic to function on his own.  A challenge to live with due to his age.  Not sick enough to be admitted into the hospital.  Question..... what alternatives are there for him?  At wits end and don't know what to do.

Dear D,
     Hopefully, by "Doctor" you mean that your son is under the care of a psychiatrist who is knowledgeable about bipolar disorder......please excuse me for pointing out the obvious.  It also follows that your son is on the right combination of medications for bipolar disorder, i.e., medications for treating depression alone are not good for treating mania.  Assuming all this is in order and you have forgiven my obsessive nature, sometimes the most appropriate place for an individual who is quite unstable is the safest place and at times that can be at home with supervision and a quiet, predictable routine.  I would discuss this with your psychiatrist.  There may also be other options that are appropriate and available to you.  Check to see if there are local hospitals with psychiatric services which provide outpatient day programs in your area your son might attend.  This is one possibility.  As I mentioned, discuss this with your psychiatrist- they should be up to snuff on all the services in your geographic area.  You can also put a phone call into your local community mental health department to see what services they might provide.

David Schafer, M.Ed.
Staff Psychologist

Published May, 2006


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