Q:  Giving Advice to Help a Friend in Need

Dear Dr Phelps,

A while back you gave me advise on Topamax, the doctor that wanted me on it, told me I used the internet too much and take side effects too serious, she was too rude to me, so I found a new doctor, he too said no way on the topamax, now I have a lady that I'm trying to help that has a boy who is bipolar, he is on topamax and his grades are falling and hes what you called Stupimax...I don't to give her the advice because I'm not a doctor and have told her this, but I did tell her that have been told to not take it by three doctors, one was you but she does not know that, can I tell her to write you? I've done lots of research on it but I'm not one to say take him off of it, I have made this clear to her. She is hurting and needs help for her son, let me know if she can write you about it, I almost said write Dr. Phelps, he knows, but I did not.

Thanks a bunch,


Hi Amy -- 
You've already recognized that giving advice is tricky business, and that simply talking about what has been your experience and what you believe to be true, acknowledging that others might see it differently, is one way to respond without being silent entirely.   Good luck walking the fine line. 

Dr. Phelps

Published May, 2001