Carer could do with some meds advice please

Posted , 4 users are following.

Hello, sorry if this is a boring read, but I'm really hoping someone can give me a bit of help if possible. To try to sum things up without writing a novel: I'm a full-time carer to my mum (have been for nearly 15 years) and she has severe bipolar disorder. She's been sectioned more times than I can count, but she hasn't seen the inside of a hospital for the last 6 years - touch wood. Her illness is exacerbated by missing sleep, and she finds sleeping more difficult in the summer months when the days are long. She's on depakote and olanzapine, but these aren't enough to guarantee sleep when she's at the onset of an episode.

She has a problematic relationship with doctors in general and she hasn't been to see her psychiatrist in almost 2 years. Physically, she's quite elderly and doesn't get about a lot, but when she's high she has a tendency to over reach herself and go wandering about at night and things like that. I've tried to take every precaution (locks, buzzers etc.) but the only fail-safe option is for me to nap in a chair and keep an ear out if I'm worried she may not be sleeping.

Before she stopped seeing her psychiatrist, she asked for some sleeping pills and she was prescribed a very meagre 7 tablets of 7.5mg zopiclone a month. These worked quite well in emergencies, but tended to give her nasty side effects, and then there was an awful occasion when unknown to me she'd managed to stock up 2 pills and she took them one night, then got up and went wandering outside and broke her ankle. So we stopped getting the monthly prescription for zopiclone.

Now the summer's here again and she's very high and we're having another wretched time of it. I tried ordering her monthly prescription for the zopiclone, but because it's been so long since she last agreed to see her psychiatrist, it was refused. Getting any help or sleeping pills out of a gp these days seems like a losing battle.

So what I'm asking, please, is whether anyone can direct me to a reliable online source for purchasing just a few strips of either zolpidem or zopiclone. I've managed to order successfully in the past from some sellers, but since topix shut down, I've only been throwing money away on scam artists, mostly based in Pakistan. A year ago I bought a couple of strips of zolpidem 5mg (I think its official brand name is Ambien?), which seemed to work incredibly well, and I would be forever indebted to anyone who can just point to even one site that won't simply take my money and leave me in the lurch. I don't have the cash to waste, I'm afraid. I know that buying online is not an ideal situation, but when my mum is ill, it is virtually impossible to coax her to visit a doctor or have anything to do with them at all, and getting a doctor to visit us is very difficult (she has been involved in altercations in the past).

I'm not looking to buy a crazy bulk number or anything, just a few strips to have to ration out carefully when needed, and tide us over during the worst times when a good night's sleep is just utterly priceless.

If anyone could help I would be incredibly grateful. Really, it would help more than I can say. Thank you.

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello biscuitcase,

    it concerns me how you are able to purchase medications on line. Surely it would be in your mothers best interest to reappoint a psychiatrist and get the correct medication?

    If it is rest that you need then get social services involved and put your mother in respite care.

     

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  • Posted

    I agree with iamatherapist. What about your own health? It sounds as though you are having to look after her 24/7. You need also a social worker to assess her needs. Naturally you require a psychiatrist that she can get on with, but I gather that violence and aggression can be part of bipolar (not in my case, I don't think).

    I have found a blog "My Bipolar Mother" which might interest you.

    If she has a care coordinator then there is someone you can ring when you have concerns about her.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for the replies, Nick and iamatherapist - I know you're both talking solid common sense. But I haven't found social services to be much help in the past, to be honest. And my mum has a pretty violent mistrust and dislike of the profession in general, so she just wouldn't countenance having one in the house. She actually got along well with her last psychiatrist, but she's just naturally very reclusive and it's hard to coax her out. I don't like to provoke confrontation, you know? Especially when she's well and things are peaceful - there's enough bedlam when she's ill that the peaceful times are precious.

      She's been in and out of mental health units so often over the years that I would do anything to prevent her from having to go through that again - she hates it so much. As for respite care - that's a difficult one. I just don't see how it would work with her being such a private person and the problems she has aren't immediately evident or easily managed. I don't think I could happily entrust her to a stranger - I'd only worry constantly anyway, so it would be self-defeating. And she'd hate it.

      Still, I appreciate the thoughts - thank you both.

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  • Posted

    Hi Sweetheart,

    Firstly I really feel for you, so don't get mad at my initial comments.  

    I have been on the receiving end of a good number of terrible doctors, and I have a bloody fantastic one now, and wherever she goes I follow!  I loath having to see consultants, etc, and I refused outright to see my psychiatrist on my own. He was awful, but there are fabulous Doc's out there.

    Have you tried asking around for a recommendation for a really good GP in your area?

    If you got a really good one you wouldn't need to coax her, as when you explained, they would come out to her initially at least. 

    I'm Type II Bipolar, and I don't recognise the meds your Mum's on.

    I do use Zopiclone, and was thinking maybe it's just not mixing with the other drugs very well. 

    I also take Diazepam as a muscle relaxant (I have physical issues too), but I find it helpful in relaxing my brain too.

    I also take Amitriptyline,  which works in 4 ways for me (fantastic med!!),  it is a tricyclic antidepressant, helps you to sleep, helps cramps, and helps with pain.

    Telling you all this as I think you would be so much better with a really good GP, so you make sure that you aren't using drugs which aren't compatible with each other. 

    Also, there's going to come a time when her current GP may not be able to issue any scripts for anything, without doing a review and seeing her.

    I'm on 3 meds to keep mine in check,  and we've had to tinker with it to keep me stable. 

    Do you black out the window in her bedroom and maybe when it's hot try an air conditioning unit? 

    What is it that makes her so high in the summer? 

    Can her meds be altered to maintain the status quo?

    What do you do yourself Honey, as your own health must be suffering with all of this. 

    I'm not in front of a computer at the moment, but I have found companies which sell online and don't rip you off before,  but I will look at it tomorrow and see what I can dig up for you. 

    Bless you x

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    • Posted

      Bless you for being so kind - any company you can give a thumbs-up to would be fantastic, thank you. The last firm I tried seemed very legit (huge facebook and twitter presence - live chat help, professional looking site etc., so I paid and then found they'd tried to empty my bank account, which was pretty empty to begin with anyway, but it was scary and I had to contact the bank and cancel the card. Felt like such a fool.)

      I hear you on terrible doctors, and the value of a good one, too! My mum has a long history of... well, it's an epic tale, but she cared singlehandedly for a profoundly handicapped child for the better part of 20 years and social services gave her precious little help. Her abusive husband's idea of dealing with her illness was to get a doctor to section her every year (it's easier than loving care, isn't it?) so, you can understand her mistrust of docs and social workers in general. Her husband was a mental health nurse himself, you see (ha!) so he was highly plausible and knew the ropes.

      The irony now is that she has access to a really lovely lady GP - I've seen her myself on one occasion - and she's a gem. Old habits die hard, though, and the problem is that by the time she's becoming unwell, it's virtually impossible to try to persuade her to see anyone without provoking a terrible fight. And when she's well, she just doesn't want to talk about her illness - it upsets her - so I let things lie and just cherish the quiet periods of wellness. Many moons ago - one of the times she was sectioned at home, police and psychiatrist and GP et al in attendance... a social worker turned up to join the party and she decked him. Arguably her finest moment, and since then we haven't seen one. No great loss, eh?

      I think she's prone to getting high in the summer months because she naturally has more energy with the long, light nights... honestly, I don't know if it's just a quirk unique to her own rhythms and whatnot, but I've given the black-out curtains a whirl and she still gets restless. It may stem from her years caring for her son - she had to be up around the clock with him and could never really relax. So it's deeply ingrained, I think. He's now in residential care (ripe old age of 50) and having a wonderful time looked after by wonderful people, but she still worries about him.

      We've tried valium, too. It's very good, isn't it. The blue roche 10mg are excellent. I have a tiny little stash of them left at the moment (treasured remnants of happier days when topix was still up and running) but the best thing I found that really seemed to give her excellent sleep without the zopiclone type hangover the next day, was 'zolpidem tartrate 5mg' - Ambien, I think it's called. I only had one strip as a sample and finding it to buy again is proving impossible.

      Her psychiatrist seems content just to leave her be without seeing her at the clinic and still allow her the usual monthly prescription for Depakote and Olanzapine. Truth be told, she's been in and out of hospital so many times over the years that they're probably glad just to be able to wash their hands of the issue. I've never encountered a psychiatrist who really seemed to care. They're a distant bunch at best.

      My own health is pretty much a lost cause at this point. There's no one else to look after mum - it's an odd situation we have, no extended family and we're pretty isolated here - so it's just one of those things. Basically, I'm putting in the hours and keeping my nose above water. It'll be a relief to finally sink, to be honest. But hey, on a global scale, things could be much worse. Roof, food, copious mugs of tea and nicotine... I'm hanging in there. I'm sure you know a bit about survival yourself. x

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    • Posted

      So your GP is not so bad. So why not work with her, get a good psychiatrist. After all there is a limit to what professionals can do if you don't give them a chance. I am sorry but there is a limit to the amount we can do online.

      I am a member of BipolarUK and I have checked and they have mentoring for patients and carers online. You might try that.

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