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Question
Posted by: Help | 2011/01/10

Bipolar and drinking

My husband was diagnosed as bipolar 2 weeks ago, after an attempted suicide. He has been given some meds and needs to see the psychologist in January. He was being positive about the diagnosis, as he had always thought he was an alcoholic - so he has been taking his meds every day.

About 4 days ago, he " felt like some wine"  , and finished the bottle. The next day, he said he can see for sure that he is not an alcoholic, otherwise, he would be feeling the need to drink then, and he didn''''t feel that way. Later that day, he drank 6 beers. The next day, he drank 6 large cans of beer, and 2 whiskey''s (that I know of).

Then, Christmas day arrived, and as we were out, I was unable to track exactly what he drank (plus I was busy swimming with our 4 year old), but I know he had some rum and coke. When we got home, he went off to the shabeen and bought a bottle of vodka, which of course, this morning is finished.

When I tried to speak to him about drinking again (after being sober for almost 2 weeks), he told me to leave him alone.
I am a very mild-tempered person, and know that when we start argueing, he always wins the argument.

I just don''t know what to do, as I clearly cannot speak to him about the drinking (which I''ve never been able to do, as he just "  shoots me down" , or twists the reason for the argument in his favour (he is good at that).

He is an amazing man, with so much potential, but doesn''t want to listen to anyone who tries to help him. We have a 4 year old son and I''''m 13 weeks pregnant with our second child. We have so much debt and in order for his business to kick off, we need to create some more debt (another story).

I''m new to this " bipolar"  thing, and I''m feeling helpless, as I don''t know how to handle our situation. While he is enjoying his alcohol or sleep (due to the drinking), I have to occupy our son, and try not to be angry about the situation, as it''s not fair on our son.

Any help or advice will be appreciated.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

It is essential to remember that we all of us, easily, have more than one diagnosis. If he was properly assessed, let's assume he has Bipolar Disorder. That is quite often accompanied by alcoholism or problem drinking.

And nobody drinks as much as you describe without being a problem drinker. Maybe he sees it as a way of proving he's not alcoholic ? Anyway the point most worth emphasizing is that whether or not he is alcoholic, alcohol is a VERY VERY bad drug to combine with any of the meds for Bipolar Disorder, increasing side-effects and significantly reducing the potential benefits.

And make absolutely sure that both his psychiatrist and his psychologist are fully informed of the extent of his drinking.

That he is so touchy when you raise the matter of his drinking, suggests that he knows this is indeed a problem.

Having a bipolar disorder is no excuse for drinking foolishly, and unless he has discovered a source of free booze, it also does not help balance the budget or reduce your debts.

Emphasizing that you feel the need to understand the bipolar disorder better, to better know how to help him, ask to see his psychiatrist and psychologist indeed to discuss that, ( and also to discuss the drinking problem ).

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/01/10

It is essential to remember that we all of us, easily, have more than one diagnosis. If he was properly assessed, let's assume he has Bipolar Disorder. That is quite often accompanied by alcoholism or problem drinking.

And nobody drinks as much as you describe without being a problem drinker. Maybe he sees it as a way of proving he's not alcoholic ? Anyway the point most worth emphasizing is that whether or not he is alcoholic, alcohol is a VERY VERY bad drug to combine with any of the meds for Bipolar Disorder, increasing side-effects and significantly reducing the potential benefits.

And make absolutely sure that both his psychiatrist and his psychologist are fully informed of the extent of his drinking.

That he is so touchy when you raise the matter of his drinking, suggests that he knows this is indeed a problem.

Having a bipolar disorder is no excuse for drinking foolishly, and unless he has discovered a source of free booze, it also does not help balance the budget or reduce your debts.

Emphasizing that you feel the need to understand the bipolar disorder better, to better know how to help him, ask to see his psychiatrist and psychologist indeed to discuss that, ( and also to discuss the drinking problem ).

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