Q. My boyfriend has not been professionally diagnosed with bipolar disorder but it is very obvious that he has it. His mother as well as his sister have been diagnosed and treated, with very bad results, so he refuses to seek help. We are only 17 and no one really knows that he has it. I have researched it in depth but haven't found out whether or not medication is really needed. He does have severe bouts of depression and mania and is VERY dependent on alcohol. I beg him to get help, but he just tells me that there's no cure for being mental. I read that it is most likely to get worse with age...especially without treatment. So, should I tell my parents that he has it? Or should we just try to live each day as it is? I know we need help.
A. The chances of things getting worse are very high without treatment. I feel the more options one has to be well, the better. He needs to see someone to make sure he does or does not need treatment, and that he does not have a medical disorder causing the problem (for example a thyroid problem). Since you are not in a position to diagnose him, your fears may or may not be realistic. He could also be having mood swings exacerbated by the alcohol. See a professional with him. If he will not go, see someone to review the case/situation and what you need to do for your own well-being. Truthfully, an alcoholic boyfriend that will not seek treatment does not sound like a good situation.