My best friend is off his meds and acting very weird. What can I do?

My best friend is a 37 yr. old man…extremely intelligent, very handsome, multi-talented. When we first met 3 yrs. ago he had JUST gotten divorced..he’s been married twice and has one child. His first marriage he left because he was “bored”. The second because he was having an affair.

He has not held a steady job in 3 yrs. nor paid child support…I’ve kept him afloat because we are like brothers. OK…since I’ve known him he has had panic attacks, anxiety issues etc. Last yr. he was diagnosed by a nurse pract. as bipolar and put on lithium. It seemed to help…but he went off Lithium because he convinced himself all he has is a low thyroid. And he is acting very, very weird.

He has told all his family and friends that he no longer loves anyone or anything except his daughter (whom he hasn’t seen in 1 and 1/2 yrs. He believes his grandmother is leaving him signs from the Beyond that all he needs is thyroid meds. He has gone from top athlete to slob-blob in just months. And to self medicate he drinks wine all day and most of the night. What in the heck can we do? He does talk about wanting to hurt himself…but he’s talked that way for years so nobody takes it seriously. Should we?

Well, it sure sounds like you are worried about your friend and if my friend was displaying those types of behaviors, I would be worried as well.  Anytime someone talks about hurting themselves, regardless of how long, it should be taken seriously and you should try to get him to go to his doctor as soon as possible.  Just because they have talked that way for years and nothing resulted, does not mean that this time would be the same.  This could be the day that something changed for them, so its very important to seek medical attention.

Since he has convinced himself of this “thyroid issue,” it seems that he may be either in denial or is delusional, but since he claims his grandmother is giving him signals from beyond, I am going to side more with the delusional aspect.  And the self medicating with alcohol is not helping any of the behaviors he is displaying.  They are probably feeding more into it since alcohol is a natural depressant and his stated intentions of harming himself are pretty good signs of a depression.

The best thing you can do for your friend right now is be there for him as a support system and encourage him to seek medical attention.  In the meantime, at least getting him to stop drinking would be a good start.  However, ultimately, the best care for your friend is going to come from a doctor.  It may be through medications, it may be through therapy, but however it is done, the doctors are much more qualified to handle the issue of the signals from his grandmother and setting him straight about if it is truly a thyroid condition or if he does need to be on his lithium.

I hope this helps a little bit in determining how to proceed with your friend.

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