Adult Child with Bipolar Living at Home with Parents

Updated on January 04, 2011
N.D. asks from Melville, NY
8 answers

My 28 yr old daughter has come back to live with us due to job loss. She has anxiety, depression/bipolar disorder. She hastes living with us because we think there should be parmeters in when our car is brought home durung the week and wk-ends etc.
She says we treat her like a baby...this is such a stressful situation for my husband and myself as she is the wedge between us.
She now has a good job that she likes so I am hoping she will move out soon but worry so that she will never be either fiscally or physically responsible enough to take care of herself....I just also finished family to family at NAMI and although it helped some, I don;t know how to manager her, what the fine line is and if giving her parameters is the right thing to do???She can be so sweet and loving and basically has a good heart but no boyfriend and her friends seem to have desserted her...maybe they think she is crazy? In my opinion I also thiks she drinks too much while taking meds..HELP!
She has been diagnosed by an MD who specializes in Mental Disorders. She has anxiety depression and is borderline bipolar

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So What Happened?

Ww (my husband, son and I) are going to have an intervention of sorts. Although she admits to anxiety and depression, she says she is not bipolar...manic depression is bipolar so call it what you willl. We have to get her to admit that she has bipolar disorder and thet she can live a productive life if she manages her challenges by taking med, getting enough sleep, no drinking etc...She will probably tell us we are crazy and be hut and angry but the buck has to sop somewhere and I have to keep trying until I get through to her....

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answers from Norfolk on

If she's on medication, isn't there a doctor that has diagnosed her as bi-polar? Is she working with a therapist? Perhaps you can contact social services and find out if a halfway house living arrangement might work out for her.

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answers from New York on

There doesn't seem to be a question here, so just some thoughts and advice...
1. If she's an adult there is very little you can do to control her action.
2. If she's on medications, make sure she takes then every day without exception. Many times bipolar adults will take themselves off their meds when they feel "normal". The cycle starts again and they have to be re-medicated.
3. Contact the local Office of Mental Health and see what adult services are available to her. Depending on her income level and severity of her condition she may qualify to live in a supervised group home.
4. It's your home and she needs to live by your rules. If she can't, then she needs to leave. Mental illness is very difficult on families and care-givers b/c you want to help w/o enabling. That is where the fine line exists.
5. Have a plan for who will assist her after you are both gone. I know that sounds strange, but if she will inherit money or property, leave it in trust for her, but under the management of someone else.

I'm sure her friends have deserted her- she probably took advantage of them just like she is doing now to you. The difference is that you are her parents and love her unconditionally... they don't.

Remember that your relationship with your spouse needs to come first. Your daughter has an illness that will result in her floating in-and-out of your life depending on where she is in her cycle and what she needs at any given time. You two need to be consistent with her and supportive of one another.

Good luck.

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answers from Goldsboro on

My MIL is bipolar. She really can't live by herself long-term. She is not good with money and has been bailed out numerous times by my FIL.
She also has tons of other health issues and needs someone to "look over" her to make sure she eats and takes her meds.
That being said, she held down a good job for many years and I don't have any qualms about her keeping our son. She may say and do many odd things, but I have no doubt that she would do everything in her power to keep him safe.
She shouldn't be drinking at all while on her meds.

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answers from Los Angeles on

It's wonderful that she has a good job.
This shows that she CAN pull it together adequately to manage her life.
Does the good job come with medical benefits?
If she is getting her meds covered by her own insurance,
that's a major step toward independence from you.

Instead of hoping that she will move out soon,
tell her that you're proud of her for getting a good job
and that you're looking forward to her becoming independent.
Set a deadline for her to move out.
Offer to pay part of her first month's rent or deposit
to help her get started in her new living arrangement.

Even though you worry about her, you really need to encourage her to become independent. Her living with you and DH is unhealthy for all of you.

You may want to help her buy a used car so that she doesn't need to use your car any more. She isn't responsible enough to be trusted with your car. Perhaps help her with insurance for her OWN car.

Let her know you love her and want to encourage her to be more independent but that you need her to live on her own and take care of her own needs. Maybe a once or twice a week visit for laundry and mom's cooking and hugs and encouragement.

About the drinking . . . whoever is prescribing her meds
needs to know that she's drinking.
I'm pretty sure drinking is precluded with all psychoactive drugs.

Good luck.
I wrote the above before reading your "What Happened".
She's quibbling with labels and semantics.
You do NOT need to persuade her that you are right.
It's irrelevant to her that you are right.
You need her to take responsibility for her own life and her own health.
The only way you're going to do that is to get her to stop living with you.
A loving intervention might be warm and fuzzy and full of tears.
But for you and your husband to regain control of your own lives,
you need more than an intervention. You need to take charge.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't think it's unreasonable for her to follow your rules while she is in your house.
Be aware that many people with mental illness self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.

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answers from New York on

I wouldn't normally comment on a post like this... until I saw the part about the drinking. I'm just putting this out there for your consideration. If the she claims she is not bipolar and the meds are not working... and she is drinking because that IS working for her, maybe she is an alcoholic. Alcoholics suffer from extreme amounts of anxiety and depression , People who suffer with this malady often get diagnosed with bipolar because doctors do not really understand the symptoms. Do you think you could get her to try a 12 step program? and if not, regardless of her being bipolar or an alcoholic , or both! you might want to try alanon because it will show you how to deal with this situation which has to be somewhat of a nightmare. My best to you!

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answers from Seattle on

The vast majority of bipolar people I know (well over 100) are happy successful adults with full lives, and many are top in their fields. One of my oldest friends is one of them.

It typically takes about a year to get meds straightened out (trying different types, combos, and doses), and then they have to be adjusted perioically as life situation and biology changes (pregnancy, menopause being the 2 big biological changes, but anything that is a major physical change... surgery or cancer for example... can create a need to adjust or change meds). Those changes usually take about 3 months to work out.

The best way I've seen family members help / what is generally agreed is to completely back off as far as "management" is concerned by referring them to their counselor. In the beginning bipolar people often have biweekly appts and are on the phone almost daily to check in. For family and friends, merely being there to support / being a friend instead of trying to manage their disorder for them tends to be the best option. It's not that they "tough love" them, it's just that whenever mental stuff comes up the phrase is "What does you counselor think?" That way they can talk/vent but the responsibility is on the individual and their professionals... not outsiders.

I'd lay money that you're "right", however... in that you'll need to strong arm or "hold her hand" into GETTING a psychologist & psychiatrist team. ((Trick: Tell her it's so her "mommy" isn't put a position of parenting, but can just be a FRIEND who loves her dearly. Working with a team puts your daughter in control. Highlight how much more *control* she'll have by working with professionals.))

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answers from Anchorage on

I am confused, has she been diagnosed as bi-polar, or are you just guessing she is? bi-polar is a serious thing, and is not marked by mood swings or mild depression or mania, it is extreme. She should be diagnosed/seen by a specialist.