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Q:  My boyfriend is bipolar but I think he is more, he is taking medication for squizofrenia, and I don't understand why? he hear voices the last time he scare me,  he said the voice tell him to do things, I don't know what to do, we living together now and I have 2 kids, I have to worry about it?please I need advice. He is talking a lot of medication, and his doctor change the medicine all the time, the last time his lithium level was very hight. He change his mood all the time , sometimes he love me to much other times he hate me, my life and my stress is going up and down the same. His mother control and manipulate him a lot, right now he told me his mom said everything happen to him is my fault.

Dear G,
      First, it's not unusual for someone with bipolar disorder to be taking anti- sychotic medication, also used for schizophrenia.  This type of medication has multiple uses such as to decrease overall agitation, increase sleep, etc. in addition to managing psychotic symptoms.  The problem is, your boyfriend needs to report to his psychiatrist that he is hearing voices as soon as possible because obviously one of his medications is not working or he needs to have his meds re-evaluated altogether.

     You have every right to be concerned especially with 2 small children.  You also have the choice to attempt to talk to your boyfriend's psychiatrist in order to explain what you are seeing and to try to find out his or her professional opinion as to what sort of risk you might be placing your family in at this time.  You're in a very difficult situation to advise right now.  Generally speaking, the best predictor of your boyfriend's behavior is how he has behaved in the past.  Is he strictly compliant with taking his medications, reporting his symptoms, keeping his appointments, taking responsibility for his actions, accepting input from others about his behavior and using it to enhance his treatment, etc.?  If this is not how he has acted in the past, he is not likely to do this suddenly in the future although he can gradually learn these skills if he wants to.  One thing you MUST know.  Untreated or poorly treated bipolar disorder ALWAYS causes problems- his hearing voices, the variability in his mood, loving you then hating you, and stating that everything is your fault suggest great instability with his disorder that requires immediate medical attention.  This does not necessarily mean he is going to hurt you or your children but it does not rule it out either- this is why you must try to talk to his psychiatrist for his professional opinion.

     As far as your boyfriend goes, you cannot force him to change but you CAN get clear and set boundaries about what you will and will not tolerate regarding his behavior and untreated bipolar disorder, then you have to stick to what you say.

Recommended Reading:  Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder, Julie A. Fast,

David Schafer, M.Ed.
Staff Psychologist

Published May, 2006

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