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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5810
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have a friend, who I believe would benefit from seeing a

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I have a friend, who I believe would benefit from seeing a therapist, however she does not want to go. I understand that it's her choice and not mine but she is depressed right now and not doing anything about it. She admits that she is depressed and can talk about what is upsetting her, but she has no ambition to change.
I don't want to try to self diagnose, but bipolar comes to mind when she's upset. She really changes from having a great time to crying in a corner in a matter of minutes. She regularly does this when she's drinking. Then she exaggerates the situation, blames every around her, thinks no one cares about her and my biggest concern is that she drives drunk. Then the next day everything is fine again though. She apologizes for what she does and says, thanks me for being a good friend (which she accuses me of the opposite when upset), and we have fun again.
I need to help her, but it's becoming a stress on my life because I can only do so much. I suggested therapy to her last night and she says that it won't help. She used to want to be a therapist so she thinks she knows what one will tell her. But she also thinks the therapist won't care. It's just a job.
I don't know what to do anymore!

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like you are a very good friend to this person, but she is unwilling to get help for herself. You are right, there is no way to force her. However, there are some things you can do to try to help her.

One, it sounds like she may abuse alcohol and this is probably the source of her mood swings. Often, alcohol use can cause a severe change in personality. A person in a great mood will suddenly start to cry, or someone who is usually easy going will become angry and destructive. When your friend uses alcohol, try not to engage her in conversation. See that she is safe and comfortable then let her know you will see her again when she is sober.

You can also suggest that she try to become sober by attending AA or seeing a therapist. However, given that she has refused so far, she may not be willing. But suggesting therapy can at least put the idea in her mind.

Since alcohol is a depressant, it will be difficult to tell if she does have a problem with depression at least until she can either be seen by a therapist or stop using long enough for the alcohol to be out of her system.

You may want to contact Al Non for some ideas on how to help your friend. The link is at

Continue to be there for your friend and talk with her about therapy. You can help her find a therapist by either having her talk to her doctor about a referral or if she attends church, her pastor can help. Or on line at If you can help her find a therapist, she may be more willing to go. Seeing a name and calling for an appointment may make it more real to her. Also, offer to go with her for support.

Don't forget to care for yourself while caring for your friend. It is easy to become burned out when your relationship involves such intense moments. Take some time to pamper yourself. Maintain your other friendships and relationships. If you find yourself becoming upset and angry dealing with your friend, take a break from your contact. You need to be sure you care for yourself so you can be there for your friend.

I hope this helped you,

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