bipolar disorder, Dr. Paul Markovitz  Q. 1) My 18-year-old daughter is noncompliant with medications and refuses to go to her psychiatrist on a regular basis, actually hardly ever. Since she still exhibits reckless and irresponsible behavior, i.e. promiscuity, contracting STDs, childlike behavior that puts her in dangerous situations, lack of self-care, and since she has a history of past psychiatric hospitalizations for suicide attempts, is it possible for me to hire an attorney to become her legal guardian once again, or do I have to sit and wait for something horrible to happen again before a judge would approve this?

2 ) My cousin's 23-year-old son committed suicide last week by jumping from the 13th floor of a parking deck in downtown Chicago. His life seemed idyllic, and only the week before did he start talking about being depressed via E-mail to his sister in Montreal. His family encouraged him to seek help, but he said he could handle it. Since his suicide, they have read something about what they call "acne depression or suicide", which they claim is triggered by the use of Accutane, which their son was using. Have you heard of such a thing? If so, could you advise me as to where I could get further information regarding this?

  A. Number one is a good question. Truth is, it depends on which state you are in. Some states interpret what constitutes a danger to oneself differently than others. In most states, however, you will likely need to wait until something horrible happens. As a society, our judiciary has decided that it is better to allow ill people to act out in a manner that is not in their interest so we do not impinge on their individual rights. The judiciary makes the assumption that the individual has volitional control over their chaotic behavior, which is not the case. Therefore, their premise for allowing the individual to "act" as they wish, is invalid, since it is not their wish anymore than a fever with a flu. It is simply a biological consequence of the disease. I wish there was better news for you. On the flip side, their are instances where an overbearing parent or spouse could abridge a person's rights.

There is an increased incidence of depression in folks using Accutane, but whether this was the cause or not in this particular case will end up being a legal matter. The FDA has a website that reports side effects (if you can refer to depression as a side effect) for various meds, and you will find this is a good place to start your search.