Skip to content
Includes Expert Content
Alcoholism & Mental Health issue?
mwkitty4 posted:
I have a brother, age 33 who I am pretty sure is bi polar. He drinks about 2 6-packs of beer each day and although he was given Serequel (spelling?) he doesn't always take it.

He lives with me but lately his behavior is getting really off the wall & I am wondering if this is ALCOHOL related or MENTAL HEALTH related:

- He's started to "sabotage" my job. i.e., he'll walk in where I'm on the phone with a client & say off the wall things in a very loud voice causing me to get in trouble with my employer. He'll follow me from room to room & even outside while I'm trying to work (I work as a chat phone line operator from home.)

- weeks back, I asked him not to leave an empty or low coffee pot on the burner disc without turning off the pot so the glass won't crack. I discovered he's seemingly doing that on purpose each day, as though he wants to annoy me.

He was Baker Acted into an institution several times already but he "has the gift of gab" and gets released within days or weeks & never follows through with medication.

When the city of Jacksonville called me & asked me to come pick him up so he'd stop causing problems (harassing hotel owners, wondering the streets, etc.) I knew the police were trying to be nice rather than difficult, considering. (He'd been evicted from where he was staying there by his room mate/friend due to his behavior)

How can I convince him to get help, is this behavior mental health or the alcohol? I don't buy him the beer, my mother does (enabling & can't get her to stop.)

I searched this forum & no mental illness describes his behavior which is like he knows what he's doing, but he does it anyway.
kathycornflakes responded:
I don't know if I have "answers" for you. I live in the Jax area too! I would say to continue to NOT buy him alcohol or give him any $$ for "anything else." Mothers can be enablers, (in my own experience) and you can't control that. If he is starting to sabotage your job/patience/wellbeing- you need to call him out on it. If he will not stop drinking in your home/will not take his meds- maybe he needs to move out permanently? If it's your house, he needs to live by your rules. If not, he needs to go elsewhere to figure it out for himself.
Betty Ford Center
Sean Barlow, MD responded:
It is difficult to say if you brother's behaviors are driven by an independent psychiatric disorder, such as bipolar disorder, or if he is disinhibited because of alcohol.

The best way to tell is to get him into a program that can help him be sober and then they watch his behavior. Such a program would be one that deals with excessive alcohol use and also has psychiatric monitoring capabilities. For then, one could see if he was improving off alcohol or remaining impaired/impulsive.

There are facilities that do what is termed a 'clinical diagnostic evaluation.' In this process, the person undergoes a 3-5 day evaluation by a team that includes a psychiatrist, an addiction family medicine/internist, a neuropsychologist and a master's level coordinator. They work together to clarify this complex diagnostic dilemma.

If he is not seeing a psychiatrist, seeing an addiction psychiatrist by himself would also be an option.

Unfortunately, I know of no way to make a person voluntarily participate in one of these evaluations/treatments and do not know the detainment laws in Florida. Something that could be helpful to you would be participating in Al-Anon, a support group for people who have significant others with drug or alcohol problems. I'm sorry I can't be more specific, but a lot will depend on your brother's willingness to look at these issues. I wish you the best.

Featuring Experts from Betty Ford Center

Harry L. Haroutunian, MD., is an internationally known speaker on the topics of Addictive Disease and its treatment. He is Board Certified in Family M...More

Helpful Tips

SCIENCE OF ADDICTION While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them. >STEP I: AVOID THE THOUGHT ... More
Was this Helpful?
1 of 1 found this helpful

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.