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Doctor Blake
Doctor Blake, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 146
Experience:  Ph.D., Ed.S., NCSP Clinical Psychologist; 15+ years of experience; dual licensure
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My mother suffered severely from bipolar disorder and having

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My mother suffered severely from bipolar disorder and having spent the past four years in and out of hospital receiving electric treatment she has recently committed suicide. She is the third generation in her family to have done this and I would like to know if there is anything I and my sisters can do to avoid ending up suffering from this disorder. At the moment non of us is a bipolar sufferer but we are worried that we may become one. What advice can you offer? The genetic link is proven what should we do?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Doctor Blake replied 6 years ago.

Good morning.


Your concerns are valid - and please allow me to extend my condolences regarding the loss of your mother.


I believe your best bet, at this point, is to make certain that you have frank and open discussions with your GP about your family's psychiatric history. S/he should be well aware of the signs and symptoms of Bipolar Disorder - and at least have some knowledge of mental health issues in general. When you go for your yearly *physical* check-up, I would urge you to insist upon a *mental health* check-up as well. If you feel working with a Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMHP) is also appropriate, then ask your GP for an appropriate referral.


Truly - your best defense is to be proactive and preventative.


With regard to further reading, I might also suggest:

(Grett's) "My Mother's Bipolar, so what am I?"

(Meehl & Meehl's) "Friends & Family Bipolar Survival Guide"

(Natheil's) "Daughters of Madness: Growing up and older with a Mentally Ill Mother"


Also, given that the suicide rate is higher among children of those who commit suicide:

(Fox & Roldan) "Voices of Strength: Sons and Daughters of Suicide Speak Out"

(Smolin & Guinan) "Healing after the Suicide of a Loved One."


I hope you found this helpful. I wish you and your entire family the best of luck.

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