“Yes, when someone with bipolar disorder discontinues their meds it affects everyone that is involved with them. When my husband was alive he would go through many episodes and would refuse to take his meds thinking he was fine and that he just wanted to be normal, but his actions weren't.
Not only was he constantly in trouble with the law, he was also promiscuous which truly hurt our marriage, he couldn't keep a job and ended up having an affair and then the ultimate was when he committed suicide.
Our son has been affected because he will never get his father back, but our son is bipolar and everyday I have to fight for his life and am doing everything I can humanly possible to prevent him from ending up like his dad.
Many times people who discontinue their meds is because they are tired of being controlled with drugs they don't quite fully understand that with meds that is what builds up in their body to keep them stable much like your immune system, if you are sick, your immune system is out of whack and with meds you are able to stabilize your self. Just like those who suffer from allergies, like me mine are year round and I have to take shots or I could have a severe reaction.
I feel when you are speaking with someone who doesn't want to take their meds the more you speak at them with a judgmental tone you are setting yourself up to be challenged and the person to become defensive. I think when you approach it with factual information and in a conversational tone the person is more likely to listen, when it comes to conviction it is about body language and tone.
If someone I loved were going off their medications, first I would ask them why they are thinking of getting off their meds.
Second I would give this person facts as to why not taking their meds is a poor choice, I would give examples of people who have medical issues and give them visuals as to what can happen to them if they discontinue their meds.
I would then ask them if they love themselves enough to continue to help themselves stay healthy. Then by the way they answered the question would determine where I would go further on giving facts as to why they should stay on to underplay that I am actually convincing them to stay on them.”
-Stacey Lynn Adams
“Because of the devastation that my son's not taking his meds caused (destroying his apartment, his computer, punching holes in the walls, and not being able to work for about a year), and having to pay most of his bills for him, I have had to go into bankruptcy.
However, the stress and the worry over what could happen to him when he is manic, is much more important to me than the loss of the money.
I am sure that you never intended your life to end up a disaster! And the most important thing for you to remember is that IT DOES NOT HAVE TO! You have control over it, whether you believe it or not, but in order to do so you need to put yourself on a routine, see your doctor, and take your meds every day.
Please stay on your meds! It is your first step toward controlling your illness, and without that you will continue to cycle out of control. Your sickness is just like diabetes, because you need to take care of yourself to stay well.”
-Nancy Fitz-Gerald Viens
“My son was on medication when he was diagnosed in 2004. Before long he went off it. He never gave it time to do anything. In February he left home and went to stay at a friend's house. He told his wife he was losing control. His wife had a protection order filed against him.
On Friday he went to his doctor who put him back on medication. Last night he drank all night and slept till 1p.m. today. He called some female who has four kids and told me he wanted to be with her! I'm Phil's mom and now he's back here! Today he said he wants to put himself into the hospital!
He supposedly is going to have his brother go and get his kids on Saturday. I would like to tell him to get out, but do I dare?”
“Deciding to stop your medications means only one thing… heartbreak in the debris of debt, doubt, destruction and devastation! It is a one-way road to Hell!
You deserve to be happy! Forgive yourself and accept your limitations! I hope you will love yourself enough to make the right decision. If not, please find it in your heart to love your family or friends enough to take your meds! You'll eventually want it for you, too! May God bless you through each and every episode.
If you were a diabetic, doing well on insulin, would you decide you didn't need the insulin and expect not to go into a diabetic coma! Because you feel good and things are under control does not mean you are healed or you don't need your meds, it means your meds are working and your brain is chemically balanced.
Don't fall into the booby trap of denial and self-diagnosis! A clean clear swimming pool depends on chemicals and testing to stay clean and clear. Too much chlorine can cause severe damage to swimmers, even though the pool looks clean. Too little results in a green, murky pool of disgusting mess! If you want your life to resemble a beautiful, peaceful pool of water, it takes persistent monitoring and adjustments to the chemical balance. Your balance depends on proper medication monitored and coordinated with you, your doctor and loved ones!”
“My husband decided he was all better and didn't need his med's anymore, I fought with him about it, but it did no good, he just didn't need the med's anymore.
A few months later I started noticing things. He was way to happy all the time. Him and my 16 year old daughter fight all the time, well he started telling her things like I'm going to buy you a car, pay for drivers ed. He made a lot of promises that never happened.
Needless to say he broke are daughters heart, and she loss a lot of respect for him.
All we did was fight. He came home with a new TV, we have 4 TV's now, he bought a new motorcycle, and we had a beautiful one in the garage.
I understand he is sick, but man he couldn't see what he was doing to us. Anyway lucky me got to take him to the hospital; meanwhile he was still saying nothing was wrong with him. Well, they decided he had to stay in the hospital; they called a code white (this means guards had to come and jump him right in front of me).
Of course he thinks I had this all planned, while I knew nothing about it. It was the scariest thing I have ever seen in my life. I left the hospital crying my head off only to get a call from him the next day telling me to get out of my house and never come back.
I was scared for my life and my daughters. The doctors kept him there for a week against his will, but I now know it was the best thing they could have done for him. I do wish they did it in a different way, but he is now taking his med's and he is doing great.
My husband wanted to come home from that hospital so bad, he was lying to the doctors, they saw right through him and made him stay there for a full week. I think this will make him keep taking his med's because when he was getting better he didn't like what he saw in the other people coming in.
I made a point of telling him, it was only a week ago that you were just like them, he didn't like it but it had to be said. I told him it was like looking in a mirror. He said but these people are driving me crazy, they never shut up, he was just like them before I talked him into going to see the doctor.
I can only hope that he never stops taking the meds, I'm not sure if my daughter and I could last through another stay. This is the second time for us, and it is the hardest thing we have ever been though.”
“My boyfriend of 9yrs has been going on and off of his meds for about 3yrs now. And each time he does this his disorder gets worse, and more intense. The past 2 times that he has stopped the medication I have had to leave him. He would have so much anger and was unable to control his moods.
We have 2 young children so I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep them in an environment like that. Each time that we would leave he would go back on his meds, get "better" and we would move back. It has extremely hurt our relationship, and honestly I don't know how many more times we can go through this.
I would tell people that were thinking about going off of their medications that if they care anything about their health and well being and even their family they should stay on their meds. And that each time you go off your meds it takes longer to get stabilized.”
“My 19-year-old son has bi polar. Since his father died from an accident at work 6 1/2 years ago he has been on a major down side.
He has been on many different medications. He takes them here and there. His mood swings have been up and down and all around. He is unemployed, no money and waiting to go to court because of poor judgment due to not taking his medication. This isn't my son, I love him dearly but he has caused himself and the rest of our family a lot of hurt and pain.
I don't sleep wondering what he's doing where he is and if he's still going to be alive in the morning. I'm so stressed out. I can't keep up with all of my other responsibilities because of it. He doesn't see what he is doing to himself and to me.
He needs to stay on his medication. He is my "old" Jason when he does. The one I can talk to, the one that laughs and jokes around like his dad. I love him and miss my old son so much. I want him to get straighten out before I pass away because my son will not survive because I'm the only one that gives him the support and who understands his bipolar.
Everyone else just keeps getting mad by what he is doing to himself and the family. They don't understand it's a disease and he needs a lot of help. But he must help himself too.
If you have bipolar disorder, you all deserve to have and live a better life. To do that you must stay on the medication. Good luck to all and may God be with you and support you because I will too!
Please don't go off of your medications. You need to understand what you are doing to yourself. My son says that he doesn't like the way the medication makes him feel. That is because it makes you feel, like all the rest of us feel like everyday. The normal feeling that seems abnormal for you. You will have a better and happier life if you stay on the medication.”
“My 18-year old daughter was diagnosed as bipolar two years ago. At age 16, she began taking her medications as prescribed and over the next few months it appeared that the medications were significantly improving her life, behavior, etc.
However she didn't like the side effects and unbeknownst to me, stopped taking all her meds. The rapid cycling came back with a vengeance and her behavior and actions were out of control. For example, within a week or two after stopping her medication, she received several speeding tickets, and one traffic stop involved the police finding alcohol in her car (a new problem as we had not dealt with alcohol or drugs and my daughter at this point).
She began skipping school and having suicidal ideations. In addition, I was taking care of her Godparents house while they were away on vacation and my daughter stole the key from my purse and threw a party at their house, which ended up with many of their possessions being stolen.
After this incident, my husband and I grounded her and her response was to throw a pot of boiling water on me. While in the Emergency Room getting treatment for my burns, it occurred to me that she wasn't taking her pills, however I had been monitoring her prescription bottles and count the pills and there were always the correct number of pills in the bottle.
I took her in to see her Psychiatrist on an emergency basis and she confessed that she had stopped all medications. Her doctor instructed me on how to give her medication and make sure she swallowed the pills and soon thereafter my loving, smart, beautiful daughter began coming back to me.
She's now very responsible in taking her medications and I can say that she played Water Polo at High School, has a job as a deep water life guard, is training her dog in Search and Rescue and begins college in the Fall at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.
I could go on and on about how proud I am of her that she realizes the importance of taking her medication and doesn't want to go through that terrible cycling again. What a difference taking necessary medication makes.
If someone was thinking of going off of their medications I would tell them to please don't do it. I would remind them of the times that they were being responsible, having fun, acting appropriately, not hurting anybody but especially not hurting themselves and if you want your life to continue in a positive way then please, take your medication and discuss any side effects with your psychiatrist so adjustments can be made quickly instead of suffering.
I would also talk with their psychiatrist and my loved one first. Figure out what the main reason is for them wanting to stop taking their meds. Side effects? Cost? Do they think they're cured?”
“My daughter-in-law stopped taking her meds for a period of almost a year-she had three small children--as time went on-she reached the point where she could not take care of the children at all--when the state stepped in to take them --my husband and I took them and raised them--she kept getting worse and worse --all the while telling the family she was taking them-our son could no longer live with her so he filed for divorce.
Along with the children we also took over her care, as her parents did not believe she had a mental problem and thought she was just really wild and would have nothing to do with her.
It ended up she was admitted to the hospital ward and remained there for several months. She finally admitted she had stopped her meds--even holding them in her cheek
until whoever was watching her turned their back if no one was around she never even pretended to take them.
They had to prescribe her so many different meds to find one that would work for her and the Dr's said that once a person goes off the meds they were on --often that same medicine that had worked well for them before would not work once they went back on it.
Of her three children, our youngest-a boy developed bipolar. He is pretty good at taking his meds--however he also does drugs and is now in the justice system and giving us all sorts of problems and his Dr. isn't doing all that much to help him
I would recommend that no one stop taking their meds and if there is someone that feels they may not need them--they need to discuss it with their doctor and if he also feels they could try to go off it --the doctor should regulate and monitor the withdrawal off it--no one should stop on their own.
Never, ever, ever consider stopping your meds -- If you think for any reason they aren't working - your doctor can prescribe one that will work.”
-Gladys O. Kovitch
“My name is Robyn and my partner David has been diagnosed Bi-Polar. I have had a number of episodes to deal with but the one that affected me the most, was the one I least expected to ever happen.
David had been very slack in taking his medication and whenever I gently reminded him, I would cop a barrage of abuse about controlling him and being too controlling. After forgetting to take a number of tablets over a number of days, his mood began to get worse.
Eventually he was exploding at the smallest thing. I was pregnant with our first child and maybe it was this combined with the lack of medication that sent him over the top. After a small incident that escalated for no reason on my part, he told me he wanted to call us off (again!!), that I was too controlling, wanting him always to change, etc.
When I reminded him I was pregnant and asked where was I going to go, he ran into the kitchen and grabbed a large knife and threatened to stab me. Initially I didn't believe he would ever hurt me as even though his words can be very hurtful and upsetting during an episode, I never believed he would ever physically hurt me.
As I tried to calm him down, he grabbed me by the throat and held the knife to my throat and said "I hate you, I hate you, I hate what you're doing to me, I want you dead, I'm going to stab you."
Absolute fear and panic went through me and my knees turned to jelly. As I began to collapse he realized briefly what he had done and said "oh my god, what have I done, I'm so sorry. You don't deserve this, I'm going to kill myself".
I managed to flee briefly into a bedroom and call the police, who arrived shortly thereafter and took David to the hospital. The police wanted to take out an Intervention Order to protect me, but I convinced them this was not what I wanted.
When he was finally released into my care later that day (because the "experts" thought it was just a domestic, even thought the police could see it was not just a domestic and due solely to his illness and lack of medication) he refused to get into the car and walked off.
He didn't return home until the next day, during which time, with the stress I had experienced and was still under I ended up suffering a miscarriage.
David is now more vigilant with his medication and has to live with what he perceives to be his fault that we lost our baby. I don't wish to think about whose fault it was, because that doesn't help anybody, but I do wish he had been more vigilant with his medication before the incident, rather than after!!
If you are thinking about going off of your medications, think of what could possibly be the long-term effects of that choice. It may be something than can never be reversed. You don't know what you are capable of during an episode - no one does!”
-Robyn Louise Livingston
”When the loved one I am caring for does not take her meds, she gets very mean and angry with anyone for anything, including me.
It is extremely dangerous to suddenly stop taking medication and to adjust the dose at all without your doctor's guidance. It can get your killed!
If you stop taking your meds, you will probably end up in the hospital, in jail, or dead. At the very least you will probably lose friends and make enemies, possibly doing things you will sincerely regret for the rest of your life.”