Military Friend Needs to Get Help
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Q:  Military Friend Needs to Get Help


have a very very good friend who has bopolar disorder. The problem is he is in the military and if he seeks treatment for his illmess, he will be discharged from a profession he loves and the way of life that he has chosen. He loves our country and can't fathom the idea of being forced to leave the military.  however, his life is chaos. The bipolar is eatinghim alive. He rapid cycles, has severe issues with gradious behavior. A combonation of depression and the racing thoughts ahve caused him to turn to excessive drinking as a way to cope. He has great drive and potential. he is a great person who needs to find a way to get help with out the military taking action. What options does he have if any? Are there self help methods? herbal meds that help? Can you recogmend any clinics that he can go with confinentiality? Thank you
 

Dear Heather -- 
Sounds like without treatment his military career is in trouble anyway.  I do not have direct experience with treating active personnel in the military, so I don't really know how much truth there is to the idea that if he seeks treatment he'd be discharged.  I suppose he could get pulled of active duty or something like that.  I'll bet there's some inquiry you could do to see what exactly, from a valid knowledgeable (not hearsay) source, happens if someone in his position seeks treatment (e.g. call up or visit your local military post and ask in general terms what happens, theoretically, etc. etc.). 

Sounds like he might have bipolar II, the version without such severe mania that it becomes obvious.  Alcohol use alone could be a pretty severe problem for him in his position.  Read up about bipolar II so you can help him understand the bipolar I versus bipolar II distinction, which might help him move toward treatment on his own.  

Dr. Phelps



Published September, 2002

 

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