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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I get my husband help when he has given up?

    My husband diagnosed BPD, has had a real rough time lately. His psych and GP have decided there is nothing more they can do medication wise and that it is up to him to ‘Help Himself’. He has tried to do this with no help from those who are meant to guide him. All they seem to care about is that they will not change his medication again.
    He recently had an ED admission in a hospital away from us after a ‘breakdown’ and the visiting psych there suggested a different medication that to my husband and myself sounded great. She unfortunately could not prescribe it as my husbands psych said no.
    My husband now has basically told all those who are meant to be helping him to ‘get stuffed’ and now, although he is still taking his meds, he has been agitated, manic, thinking everyone is out to get him, he cant sleep (goes up to 48 hours without sleeping) and I believe he has gotten to the stage where he is damaging his reputation.
    Any suggestions on how to get him some help that will work?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about ... View Profile

    It sounds like your husband is becoming more unwell, and it would be important to let his psychiatrist know about what is happening. Make sure you give the Dr as detailed, factual information as possible about what you notice (e.g. exactly what he is saying and doing, and over what time frame) - the details you have already provided are a good start, and will assist his Dr to assess whether further intervention may be required.

    If you have already given this information, and the treating team continues to assess that it's up to your husband to utilize the existing treatment regime, then your husband can elect to change psychiatrists. If he is interested in pursuing the alternative medication suggested by the hospital psych, it may be worth finding out if that psychiatrist is able to take him on. Your husband may also benefit from working with a clincial psychologist on cognitive and behavioural strategies for managing his symptoms.

    It's also really important that you get some help for yourself - this sounds like an incredibly stressful situation where you may be feeling quite powerless and overwhelmed. BPD is a mental illness that is particularly hard on relationships. Carers Australia has a counselling program for family members of someone with an illness or disability, where you can see a counsellor local to where you live for up to six sessions at no cost to you. You might use these sessions to debrief, get emotional support and perhaps also work through some practical strategies for looking after yourself, while supporting your husband to get the help he needs. Their number is 1800 242 636. They can also link you to other respite and support services.

  • Max is a consultant psychologist working in the public and private health sectors. He currently holds several appointments at Monash Health where he provides specialist ... View Profile

    Hi there,

    Borderline personality disorder is a complex condition requiring close montioring and support. It is often difficult for individuals with this disorder to remain high functioing, and, at times, they will often experience depressive episodes, self-harm and anger. Emotional dysregulation is a common ailment, and providing support when a loved one is upset can be difficult.

    My thoughts are that it will be important for him to remain linked in with his psychologist and GP. However, I would underscore that fluctuations in attendance and engagement are normal and expected in people with this condition. During periods of emotional instability, he may become irritable and irrational. I would suggest developing ways to work with him during these periods and identifying triggers that contribute to his distress - perhaps best to identify these when he is in a clearer frame of mind and feels that he is supported.

    Best wishes,

    Max.

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