Hello, Desperate1, and welcome to the Bipolar Forum. Believe me, I have much sympathy for you having heard many stories in other families about
the seriousness of bipolar illness in those who have severe cases of the condition.
Does your husband have a brother who is a real leader in his family whom your husband respects and responds to in a positive way? If so, is the brother close enough to visit at times when your children are at home with the husband present when in a difficult mood?
In my view, it seems to me that you need physical and spiritual support in dealing with your situation. When he is spiraling out of control, particularly, you need assistance when in his presence. Perhaps a talk with his family might bring some helpful advice and additional service to your side.
As minor as it may seem, psychiatrists will often advise bipolar patients not to indulge in alcohol or in anything containing caffeine because they make the illness worse. It sometimes takes months to clear up the sensitivity to both drugs before positive feelings have a chance to break through. If he uses either products, try to persuade him to stop it.
Secondly, the newer mood stabilzers such as Lamictal and Abilify seem to do a very good job of keeping the moods stable. Is he taking either?
(I would imagine so since he has recently been hospitalized for an episode of violent emotional outburst.) Check your husband's medications and research them to learn if any of them have the potential for causing strong negative side effects. Some of them are toxic to the system. See that he is well-hydrated with good water.
(The purpose of this is to reduce the acidic overload of having to take
several different meds each day.)
Diet plays a significant role in bipolar illness, as well. His diet should
include a fresh salad daily, more green vegetables and more easily digested meats such as lamb, more fish than beef, pork, or organ meats. Keep his diet more on the alkaline side than acid-reacting side. See a website called Alkaliine-reacting foods to get a list of both acid and alkaline-reacting types of foods.
I understand that bipolar illness now is known to be an inflammation of the brain and that aspirin will help to relieve some of the symptoms. It
does not supersede, however, taking of prescribed medications but might be used as a supplemental addition to his schedule of meds (this from my psychiatrist).
I would also ask you to read a website called ruthwhalen.com caffeine to understand the more serious consequences of long-term caffeine use and the dangers it poses for bipolar people.
Someone in your husband's family being there with you when your children are in the presence of your husband during a critical period of emotional upheaval may help them become more relaxed and less frightened of a possible breakdown in your husband's emotions, especially a man who is respected by your husband.
It is vital that a bipolar patient have four things in his life:
1. his medications
2. his rest (on schedule)
3. Omission of alcohol from his diet
4. and omission of caffeine
The rest would be up to his psychiatrists to maintain his stability with
medications, counselling, and substantial help for you in the home
that is available quickly when you need it. Otherwise, you may have no other choice than to have him committed (if that's possible) at the earliest sign of a breakdown.
In some bipolar folks, the patients are aware a day or two ahead that they may be shifting into an opposite mood; they just have warnings.
Have you been trained to administer a hypodermic if called for if he
becomes violent? You might wish to investigate that and prepare for
it if it is ever called for, or at least have something there at home that the police might administer when they arrive if you need to call them.
I think there is always hope that the medications will do the job if the
stress in his life can be reduced and his diet and rest and willingness to take proper medications are all in alignment. I'd keep a chart to make sure that he checks off each day which ones he has taken; that way you may keep a closer eye on the effective administration of the drugs.
There is often a giftedness that is inherited with bipolar illness. If you know his, try to help direct his interests toward fulfilling some of the
demands of his talent. That can be very, very rewarding and uplifting for him. If he paints, see that he has materials to do that. If he writes, supply him with a computer and materials. You know his ability, try to help him develop it. I have read about many bipolar patients who have settled into a quiet and comfortable life exercising their talents in an enjoyable and often profitable way. (See the book "Sunshine from Darkness" about visual artists and their work. It often enhances their
stability in the business world, as well.)
Keep your hope that he will improve.
My compassion and prayers are with you,
Post Edited (It's Genetic) : 9/14/2011 11:14:14 PM (GMT-6)