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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2336
Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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My husband has suffered from bipolar disorder (largely manifesting

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My husband has suffered from bipolar disorder (largely manifesting itself as clinical depression) for many years. He also has sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes, which of course don't make things easier. He's been tried on a wide range of drugs, including Abilify and Lithium, both of which have had beneficial results. That being said, my instinct is that he never stops feeling depressed, and I know first-hand that he spends half of his life coming into or out of a major depression. Does this sound like he needs more aggressive therapy, such as ECT or residential treatment? We're both getting desperate, as he's very unhappy and has trouble taking care of our kids far too often. I don't want him to stay sick!
Thank you for writing in JustAnswer.
I'm sorry to hear about your husband's situation.
Let me ask you a question first.
Is he currently working with a psychologist for psychological counseling?
Please let me know by clicking on “Reply” and I will then craft my response.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Warm Regards,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Dr. Olsen:

Thanks for your kind words. He's been working intermittently with a psychologist of whom he's very fond. However, we have a great deal of difficulty keeping him attending, as he's also a social phobic (avoidant subtype) and has trouble sharing with anyone. It's exasperating indeed!

Hi there,
Thank you for your reply.
I can imagine how sad and anxious this situation must seem to you.
I've worked with patients with Bipolar disorder. I know it's a difficult illness.
Ongoing treatment is critical to symptom management and recovery.
But, it seems medication don't seem to be helping his depression.

As you know, your husband may need to work with psychiatrist (M.D.) and psychotherapist. Treatment for bipolar disorder consists of pharmacotherapy (by psychiatrist), individual psychotherapy (Cognitive-behavior therapy - CBT) or Interpersonal therapy (ITP) by a licensed psychologist or psychotherapist), and group therapy or support group by a psychotherapist. Pharmacotherapy is a critical aspect of treatment. Individual psychotherapy will help him for support, ventilation of feelings, coping skills training, and direct advice. Group therapy is useful for him to address the issues – adherence to medication and therapy, regulation of self-esteem, and management of other psychosocial issues. Support groups are available in a local community clinic or a local hospital. You and family should join a support group to better understand the illness so that they can continue to offer encouragement and support to him.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be used to treat the manic or depressive phase of bipolar disorder if it does not respond to medication. ECT is considered to be the effective treatment for depression that is not relieved with medications.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) uses high-frequency magnetic pulses to target affected areas of the brain. It is often used after ECT.
Patients who are in the middle of manic or depressive episodes may need to stay in a hospital until their mood is stable and their behavior is under control.

To find a group therapy or a support group for him, contact a local hospital or a clinic by asking if they offer a group for people with Bipolar disorder. If you like to find a support group online, check Mental Health America website section ( - Find a group in your area.

In addition, stress reduction and relaxation techniques such as yoga, biofeedback, acupuncture, nutrition (e.g., Omega-3 fatty acid) and massage therapy may be helpful for him to reduce the intensity of depression. He should avoid alcohol use.

I recommend The book "Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder by
Julie A. Fast, John D. Preston PsyD" to you.

I hope your husband gets better with all available help.

Please let me know if you have more questions or I have overlooked any. Warm regards,

P.S. Please remember to click the green ACCEPT button. You do not get charged twice; I will continue to answer your question whenever I am back online; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Olsen" in the front of your new question. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX
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