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DrFee
DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience:  I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
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Good Morning, My daughter is 22 years old and recently moved

Resolved Question:

Good Morning,
My daughter is 22 years old and recently moved back to town following college graduation. She has always been an extraordinarily creative person, and also has experienced significant mood swings during her lifetime. She is currently taking Zoloft for depression, but we are beginning to suspect bi-polar disorder. We went to the psychiatrist who suggested Lamictal, but she was not ready to try that. Our dr. then prescribed Abilify to try because she felt that my daughter's looping anxiety thoughts were a form of mania. My daughter continues to take the Zoloft, but is extremely reluctant to try the Abilify. She is very depressed, and missing work sporadically. She was also found to be deficient in Vitamin D, so we have added this to her medication regimen, which she is willing to do. I am at a loss now as to how to help her best...she is a wonderful and intelligent and loving young woman, and I am feeling pretty helpless. Advice?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  DrFee replied 1 year ago.

DrFee :

Hello! Please remember that my response is for information only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.

DrFee :

Do you want to speak with a Psychiatrist about your daughter's medication, or would you like to speak with me (psychologist) about the emotional issues surrounding what's going on with your daughter?

Customer:

I understand. I think both. We have an excellent psychiatrist but are not scheduled to see her until November 20, and she is difficult to get a hold of.

DrFee :

I'm glad that you have an excellent Psychiatrist, but it does sound like your daughter is not yet on a regimen of medication that you feel confident about --nor are you completely sure of the diagnosis. Have you considered taking her to a Psychologist for an evaluation?

Customer:

Last year, we each completed a bi-polar questionaire...she was in college, and had had a bad break-up with a long term boyfriend. She started cutting in an effort to get some relief. At that time, our dr. thought she might be on the bi-polar spectrum because she was staying up all night, had significant anxiety, and would be functional one day, and then the next day she would be in tears. She is followed right now by a competent LCSW.

DrFee :

That all sounds good, and I'm glad that she has a therapist. One thing to keep in mind that adjusting to the development of a disorder like this is major --it takes some time for everyone to emotionally adjust as well as for the person with the disorder to figure out how to practically manage it. It can go more smoothly if your daughter accepts the diagnosis and is compliant with the treatment --if not, then things are far more difficult. Support groups for loved ones (parents, significant others, etc) can be very helpful as you try to negotiate how to be "helpful" to your daughter as well as what/when to set appropriate boundaries.

DrFee :

I think it's important for you to have people to talk to who understand what you're going through ---

DrFee :

One thing about bipolar is that support groups are abundant --unlike for some other disorders.

Customer:

Right now, I feel like I do need some type of support group. I am feeling fairly isolated, although I have excellent support with my husband, who went through his childhood years with a mother who struggled with mental health issues. We have an active NAMI chapter here in Butte County. I think I am still struggling with her potential diagnosis and question myself all the time. Her Dr. asked her just to start with half of the Abilify tablet and report to her if it helped. I am concerned that she is on 200 mg of Zoloft and I have read that this might be counter-productive if she is diagnosed with BPD.

DrFee :

Yes, you've highlighted an issue that I think is so critical for people with Bipolar --to have a competent Psychiatrist who is watchful --because of that issue (the Zoloft). I would recommend that you bring the issue of the Psychiatrist being difficult to reach to her --and ask in a non accusing, open manner, "I have had some difficulty reaching you by phone. Can you tell me how we can best communicate if my daughter starts to become unstable (more depressed, more manic)?" Or something like that --

DrFee :

I'm glad that your husband understands and is supportive. You could also consider a few sessions with a therapist one on one --just to work through your questioning of yourself, etc. --Which I think is normal, by the way.

DrFee :

With the Psychiatrist --it's good to think through all your questions beforehand, maybe even write them down .

Customer:

Thank you.....I am working in an ED classroom of middle schoolers, and am having some difficulty separating my worries and stress.....I need to go now...can we talk later?

DrFee :

Yes, we can. I will be online most of the day. Just come back and type something. If I'm away, I will respond when I return.

Customer:

Thank you so much...have group now!

DrFee :

OK! Talk to you later!

DrFee :

You're welcome!

Customer:

I am back. Sorry for the disruption. So this is what I think.....my daughter is having definite mood instability. I am going to check in with doctor today regarding the Zoloft. We have added Vit D, because there is a relationship between Vit D deficiency and depression. I understand that this may be a long process getting diagnosis and effective treatment. I need support and help understanding what is going on. I am afraid she is getting discouraged and is having suicidal ideation which her therapist and we are aware of. She states that she feels things would be easier if she were gone, but that she would never act on those feelings. I do not want to miss something. We have an excellent in-patient psychiatric unit through our local hospital. I guess my challenge is helping her understand that she should, at the minimum, try the half dose of the Abilify.

DrFee :

That's OK. You may or may not be the one who can convince her to try the Abilify --given the mother/daughter relationship. That does not mean you shouldn't try, but just keep in mind that she may not listen to you, which of course will increase your sense of helplessness and frustration. Hopefully her Psychiatrist and therapist can convince her to try it --especially if you can't.

Customer:

You are right. Her therapist has assured her that she has other patients that take Abilify and that it has been helpful. What do you think about the Vitamin D issue?

DrFee :

As long as a pharmacist/doctor does not see an issue with adding it to her medication, then I take a "if it works, great!" attitude. A nutritionist might also give good information about vitamins/minerals, etc. I've seen such mixed results with people taking that approach --you can't count on something like that helping, but as long as there's not a reason not to do it, then it's fine.

DrFee :

mixed results meaning that some people claim stuff like that really helps, others notice no difference.

DrFee :

looks like you might not be here? Just respond again when you return!

Customer:

Back...but going off to PE! will talk later!

DrFee :

OK

Customer:

Thank you. This conversation has been helpful. I probably should sign-off....

DrFee :

You are welcome. Are you ready to end, or would you like to ask another question later this afternoon?

Customer:

Let's leave that open...I will let you know a little later.

DrFee :

OK, that's fine.

Customer:

School is out now, and I wanted to thank you for taking the time to talk. Mental illness is a challenging issue, especially when confronted with it in your family. Last night when I talked to my daughter, she was crying and barely conversant. She said she was in a dark place. This afternoon she is cheerful, wants to take the dogs on a walk, etc, etc. This is how it is for us right now. I am grateful for the good days. Hope you have a good weekend!

DrFee :

You are quite welcome. It is indeed a challenging issue, but there's a lot of hope. With good support, treatment, etc, you can all adjust and your daughter can lead a fulfilling life. Hang in there!

DrFee :

If you are satisfied with our conversation, I ask for your positive rating. If you'd like to ask an additional before rating, please feel free to do so.

DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience: I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
DrFee and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
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  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
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