Have Mental Health Questions? Ask a Psychiatrist Online
The way in which you can participate in your wife's treatment is to get her to sign a Release of Confidential Information form (ROI). COnfidentiality is a Federal Law and the Dr. is only doing he is required to do - you should be able to leave messages for him, but he cannot even acknowledge that he knows your wife unless she has signed a release for you - so you can the Dr. can talk.
Couples counseling *would* be a good idea - if for nothing else than you have another person monitoring her behaviors and manic states on a weekly basis - the Psychiatrist will not do that - eventually he will see see her MAYBE once every three months...
Bipolar disoder is extrememly hard to stabilize sometimes and the patient can NEVER go off the medication. It is a lifelong illness and requires medication monitoring always - the other thing that will happen, is every once and awhile, she may become unstable on the meds that were previously working and her meds will need to be adjusted.
Most people who are bipolar do try to get off meds - have manic episodes, get rehospitalized, get stable again and do it again in a year or so. It is important that you do whatever you can to make sure she remains monitored.
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I completely understand your frustration. And I know exactly what you mean by the Psychiatrists don't take any input -- you are right, they don't. The only thing they are looking for, like you said is an abatement of symptoms. Nothing else matters - and not in a mean way - but in a clinical way. Mania is mania and all the doctor needs to see is that symptoms are subsiding. The patient's rants and raves are nothing but symptoms and the doctor is simply trying to find a medication combination that works for the patient. It's not pretty, but these are the facts. All cases of bipolar are extreme - and so the 'details' of what the person is doing is really not new to the Psychiatrist. Those details are also not helpful - what is actually more helpful to the doctor is when she is getting better... then he knows he's on the right track.
For someone to be hospitalized they have to admit to being a danget to themself or others - in other words, they need to verbalize to a person who is able to Baker Act them (a pscyhologist, psychiatrist or police officer) that they are going to kill themself or they are going to kill another person. The only other way people are involuntarily held is if they are clearly incapable of caring for themself - typically during a psychotic episode where they are clearly disorganized and floridly psychotic.
Make sure she is taking her meds without being intrusive, keep her on a med schedule and know that this will get better. And don't be afraid to set limits if she will remotely listen...
Finally, keep in touch. If nothing else, I can listen to you and offer daily support. Just keep these emails - write back every day (you are only charged once) but we can still talk.
Are the parents of your grandson aware of how bad this situation is? I'm surprised they would leave him with her in her state...
Can you have the child put in daycare, or make *any* other arrangements for him? Clearly your wife is a danget to him... and it would only be temporary - as her meds will kick in.
Her love and her capabilities are two different things though. This is a safety issue - and a few people checking in a few times a day is really taking a chance.