How to help son who won't seek help

Q: Dear Dr Phelps, My adult son has been diagnosed as BP, but that's as far as he will go. He will not see a councillor, finds it hard to hold down a job and has attempted suicide a couple of times. He is 33 years old and lives alone. The main thing that worries us, is his rejection of his family. The one thing that remains stable in his life.His friends come and go. But he has this "thing" about his family. He has 2 brothers, one older and one younger, both married and handling life well. Is it that? Maybe he would dearly like to be like them and can't.He drinks too much and I'm at my wits end to know how to help him. Is this all part of the illness, or have we done something to cause all this? What can parents of adult children do? Thank you for listening to me. I have been trying to speak to other parents with the same problems but can't seem to find them.I'm in Australia. I forgot to mention, he is on medication. Also he cuts himself with a razorblade all the time.

Dear Jan --
I've asked the Bipolar World folks (Colleen says she's going to take this one on personally) to put together an essay on this for the many, many people who face circumstances such as yours.  Look for that.  In the meantime, read three answers I've offered others who faced a like problem: in the archive, see 

Getting help for people who don't want help

Family Problems from Bipolar Spouse and

Bipolar Husband Stops Lithium

On the subject of self harm, see the great information site on that behavior: 

http://www.palace.net/~llama/psych/injury.html

Dr. Phelps



Published January, 2001