Is it bipolar or something else?

My husband was diagnosed with bipolar 18 moths ago at the age of 67. As well as this he has end stage copd and spinal stenosis so things he can do are very limited. About every 6 weeks he goes from this poorly man who needs everything done for him to this nasty argumentative person. I really struggle with things at this time as I don't know whether it's bipolar setting off or whether meds need changing. I would really appreciate any advice please.

9 Replies

  • Dorone

    Sorry you are going through such a hard time, your husband is the same age as I will be in two months.

    I suffer PsA and associated Reactive Depression, I also have problems with a Congenital Short Term Memory Defect.

    It would seem early days in your husbands health problems, sometimes medications may need to be looked into. I have been ill now for over thirty years and it took two years to get my medications sorted. They did not know what was wrong with me.

    Your husband will be going through many negative feelings and He Mental Health will not be helping, that however does not mean He can be unpleasant to you or anyone else for that matter. He will be frightened and unable to come to terms with what is going on with his life. Encouragement and diversions may help. Try doing things you used to do when He was younger and fit. Encourage Him to take on other interests that can keep him positive. I do understand there may be restrictions to what He can do.

    Talk to your GP and consider under direction the best way forward, remember being disabled does not mean the end


  • Hi Bob. Thank you so much for your prompt and informative reply. When I joined this sight today I was really desperate for answers. It's interesting to see that sometimes it takes a while to get the medications right. At the moment his just on antipsychotics called quetiapine 300 mg a day. We have been together for 50 years tomorrow but I now often feel like walking out on our marriage. It would be very difficult for him to do much as he can only walk about 50 yards due to pain and then of course he gets very breathless with copd and has to be on oxygen 15 hours a day .When his in the nice place as I put it you can put diversions and encouragement his way but when his in this nasty bit he will just do everything to be unkind and definitely won't listen to reason. Thank you again I will try the things you have suggested.

  • Just like to comment about Quetapine Dorone i can remember it causing severe agitation in myself plus enormous weight gain .. I'm off it now. The meds side effects could be a contributing factor in your husband's behaviour

  • Hi. Yes my husband has gone from 8stone to almost 12, but I put that down to him giving up smoking. But then on reflection I'm pretty sure when he first went on it they used to give him a ecg to keep eye on such things. Thank you that is something else that I need to look into.

  • Duronne

    It is very difficult, you need to be firm but kind. If going for a walk o working in the garden, whatever get out of the house and give yourself time. You have been married for fifty years you know each other well. Your husband will be frightened and the mood changes can sometimes frighten the patient after an mood change, so you both need help and understanding. Talk to your GP again and explain what is going on.

    Whatever is the problem is, you deserve respect and time out this can generally be arranged and you may be able to have your husband introduced to a Day Centre once a week or so. This will give you time and give you a much needed break


  • Hello Dorone, I think that unless your husband has a history of depression which has not been correctly diagnosed in the past its very unlikely he's developed bipolar disorder in his late 60s. i don't know what the effects of copd and spinal stenosis would be or the drugs associated with them.

    My advice would be for you to get a second medical opinion possibly by asking the advice of a different doctor in the practice if you and your husband share the same doctor. If he has n't got bipolar that is very good news but you could well do without the argumentative personality. Do you have any friends with a medical background you could consult which would be an alternative to making an appointment your self with another doctor ? In theory another doctor should only deal with the patient presented to him but in the circumstances I don't think this would be enforced.


  • Hi. When he was diagnosed he had a mania episode and had to be sectioned for a month so it was the doctor there that diagnosed him. But to be honest looking back now he did have bouts of depression and maybe one other what they call mania episode. His on lots of meds for the spinal stenosis but the copd he is on oxygen 15 hours a day a nebulizerand Inhalers. Thank you for your advice it's really appreciated.

  • Hello again Dorone, I can understand your occasional thoughts of walking out on your marriage but avoid this if at all possible. This would be a bad move for both of you in my opinion. You are both ageing and unless things become impossible you will both be much stronger through the later stages of life as a couple. This is obviously true for your husband who needs you more at the moment , but if anything happens to your own health then you will need each other. There is also an obvious down side financially to not being together.

    His irritability and argumentive nature is almost certainly due to his depression and it should be possible to find medications to avert this. This won't be easy and my suggestion is that when he is in an amenable mood you agree to visit both your GP and if possible the hospital doctor together to discuss his less good tempered spells. Discuss this with your husband and point out that you can't carry on through the bad spells and you both need to check out his psychatric medications. Before doing this you and your husband need to discuss and agree his mental mood history going back as far as you jointly remember, and write it down.

    Finding the best medications is a tough job and this process will give your GP and the hospital the best chance of finding these. This gives you some work and responsibility but is a pretty essential thing to do if your retirement years are to be as happy as possible.


  • Thank you.

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