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Question
Posted by: cowgirl | 2007/05/02

need to know please

I have a few questions regarding depression/bipolar and all things that goes with it.
Anyone who knows, or who would be able to help.

My sister was recently diagnosed with bipolar disease, after she cut herself with a knife. She then went to see a psyciatrist and she was put on medication, where she got better.
I recently saw her, and was shocked to see marks on her legs - marks where she cut herself.
My mom took her to a psyciatric hospital, and she is currently still there under their care.
There are a few things bothering me.
She suddently started cutting and hurting herself more, since she's been in there. Over a long period of time, she only had a few cuts on her legs. Now I see marks on her arms, deep ones on her wrists and her hands look terrible - she burns herself with sigarette lighters and i don't know what else she uses but it's like chunks that are just missing from her skin.
I want to know - why are the marks worse since she's been there?
She also tells me "she doesn't remember that she hurst herself" asif she's not herself when she does it?? Is that true?? Or does she just say that to make us believe that she has no control over it?
Apparently the doctor told her she is very sick, and upped her dosage of medication. She can barely walk straight. She can't drink out of an open cup, she falls all over the place. Is that the best way of going at it? Just popping her full of pills 24/7???
She also told us that she still feels depressed - and now to make matters worse, is that her fiancé left her.
I don't know what to do - it's my sister and i have no control of what is happening with her.
I would just like some clarity of what is happening and why, and if these doctors are doing their job correctly?
Thanks

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Our expert says:
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Bipolar Disorder is NOT characterized by self-cutting, which nis associated with personality problems, and needs psychotherapy and not merely drugs. As to why she has got worse while in hospital, you REALLY need to discuss that with the doctors treating her now --- only they should know. I wonder whether she has met other people who cut and mutilate themselves, in the hospital, as one can see an annoying form of competition develop between people in this sort of situation.
Such self-damage is usually associated with dissociation or "spacing-out" and is not painful at the time, so she may be less aware of it that you would expect. But she CAN control it and her doctors ought to be working ahrd to ensure that she takes contro over it and stops it.

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