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Linda D.
Linda D., Psychotherapist, LMSW, CASAC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 706
Experience:  LMSW, CASAC
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OKMH524211 My father is diagnosed with Bipolar disease and

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OKMH524211 Hello there. My father is diagnosed with Bipolar disease and have been suffering from the disease for over 20+ years. Im his eldest son, 24 years old, and have witnessed his first Manic episode at home. His therapists diagnosed his case as manic episodic bipolar with psychosis symptoms. He was very abusive with my mother "physically", and now he is hospitalised for therapy. When I was 14 years old (Close to ten years ago) I witnessed his first Depressive episode where he tried to commit suicide. He's been recovering on and off and would get a manic/depressive episode every year now since 2008. Ive never personally seen a therapist or spoke about this openly (maybe other than with my mom) about the effect this had on me as a teenager. After witnessing this, I suffered from being at a constant state of fear from him (Had a lot of nightmares about it after the incident) and now, after this manic episode that we witnessed I'm starting to get the same feelings back. I would also like to know if there are any chances that I could possibly be carrying this disease. Ive asked my mom if it was possible and her doctor assured her that both her kids (me and my younger sister) are not carrying it. Im also on the verge of getting married soon and (Hopefully have kids one day). Would there be a definite risk of my children carrying this same disease as well? Please advise. Thanks and regards.

Welcome to JA. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in NYS. I am sorry you have waited so long for a response, are you still interested in an answer? Linda D.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I am

Hello, your questions are understandable. It can be very frightening and confusing to have a parent with a mental health disorder. I want you to know you are not alone. If you had a genetic vulnerability to bipolar disorder it would have started to manifest itself during puberty when our chemical and hormonal imbalances are the most significant. You should not worry about becoming bipolar. Your children have a 50% chance of being genetically vulnerable, but it is important to know that individuals with bipolar disorder can live relatively symptom free with early detection, psychotherapy and medication managment. But that possibility is in the future and it is not healthy to spend time living in the future of what could happen. By the time your children were old enough to start to have symptoms we may have a total cure for imbalances in the brain. Much progress is being made daily.

I do think I hear symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which would be an outcome of the traumas you experienced with your dad. When a child does not feel safe with their parent as in your situation it can create the anxiety reaction you are describing. As therapists we would recommend that you see a psychotherapist trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for 3-6 sessions to be able to explore strategies and coping mechanisms in a safe, thrapeuti environment. You are young with so many wonderful opportunities in your future, you deserve to live with freedom from these fears. Therapy will help get you there. I wish you all the best an hope this was helpful to you. Sinerely, Linda D., LMSW, CASAC

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Linda, I really appreciate your in-depth answer.I wouldn't say I'm suffering from PTSD right now. The day that I sent you the message was the day that he was admitted to the hospital (by force). And obviously that was very hard to watch, especially after attempting to physically abuse my mother.Ive never been to a therapist personally, although Id like to think myself as someone thats (always eager to learn) so Its safe to say that I've done enough research about his illness and was able to identify that I did suffer from anxiety or PTSD at the first depressive episode that he had 10 years ago.Now I'm fine, as I started to take a step back and really think things through and think of a plan of action to take with my fathers admission to the hospital for a month, making sure that my mom and younger sister are emotionally safe.I could always visit his therapist if I ever feel like I need to (Think this through?) or clear my head so I might actually take your advice.The only thing that I did experience as a young teenager that really left a negative impact on me even till this day (as a young 24 year old adult) is that I used to get horrible nightmares about my father that used to leave me in some state of "fear" for several months of my teenage years, and as I started meditation, physical exercise, starting my own business and really channelling all that fear into something positive I guess, it slowly faded away.And now after his recent episode, I feel somewhat demotivated and a bit of fear (whenever I remember the past, or what even his face). Any advice you can give me to deal with this holistically? (change of daily habits maybe?)Lastly, my family are asking me to visit him..and I find it very hard to confront him due to the pain that he caused all of us (physically, and emotionally) Its very hard for me to even think of having a normal relationship with him after putting my moms life at risk. Any thoughts on this?Thanks.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Also I forgot to ask, you mentioned that my children have a 50% chance of being genetically vulnerable. Realistically speaking, I do not think that theres going to be a cure for this illness in the next 4-5 years (the time I plan to get kids), so I'd like to know your thoughts on what I could do to keep my children at state or an environment where they are risk-free from this illness once they hit puberty.I understand that this might be quite a bit of a vague question, but if you could give me your thoughts in a small paragraph on parenting to prevent bipolar disease (if thats even possible)Thanks and regards,
I really look forward to your feedback linda

Hello again. A couple of things. You have no obligation to see your father if that does not feel "right" to you. Hopefully he is in good hands and getting the help he needs. Maybe a card, note or drop off some fruit, candy, etc. to be given to him with a note from you. That is enough if you even feel the need to do one of these until he is mentally stable. Secondly, there really isn't any way to completely prevent a person from inheriting a genetic vulnerability to a MH disorder if that is what is in their DNA. However I am going to attach what I refer to as a list of "assets" to increase emotional and physical wellness and resilience in a person. These would be positive for you and your family to develop as many as possible. And lastly. Bipolar disorder is about mood instability as you know. Physical abuse is not a symptom of bipolar. That is a separate issue that your father needs to take responsibility for. I think it is important that you know this. I have worked with many people who have bipolar disorder, none of which were physically abusive. Linda D., LMSW, CASAC

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Linda, thank you for the attachment. I'll have a look at it shortly.With reference to what his doctor diagnosed, he stated that he had a manic episode with severe psychosis (He thought he was someone else)I hope you don't mind if I get into more details with you. Anytime he lacks sleep, or doesn't stay consistent with his medications, he starts to develop these very strange religious theories (He's not a religious person at all). So whenever he goes through any of his manic episodes, he tends to believe that he's some religious figure that has a mission to "save the world". Generally that means he travels for months and spends a very destructive amount of money in paths to "save the world".So we noticed that he's in extreme mania and it would be very dangerous to let him leave the country (especially when he refuses to take his meds for over a week). So we had to take his passport and hide it from him for his own good. Till he gets proper treatment and comes back to his right mind.That led to EXTREME physical abuse to my mother (strangling her and banging her head against the wall etc) Just to get the passport.Now please keep in mind, we've all witnessed allot of his manic and depressive episodes over the years, and he and my mom have been married over 26 years and he has never laid hands on anyone of us up until this time.What are your thoughts?Any explanation maybe?

Hasan, I am happy to help. It is very difficult to assess why your father reacted with such extreme behaviors without my talking to him directly, sorry, but I did want you to know violence is not a symptom of bipolar disorder. I hope our communication has been helpful to you. I do need to bring an end to our communication on this thread. Please take a moment to rate my service to you, I would truly appreciate it. And let me know if I can help further in the future. I wish you, your mom, sister, dad and future wife all the best. Sincerely, ***** ***** LMSW, CASAC

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Customer: replied 4 months ago.
You've been more than helpful Linda, thank you so much and god bless you.

Thank you, ***** *****!