Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When A Loved One Is Euphoric

Sometimes a person in a hypomania state will give us cause for concern, and rightly so. Although our loved one may appear to be functioning fairly well with lots of activity and accomplishments, there is an aspect to their behavior that just doesn’t seem right. Our discomfort alarms keep going off. So what may be triggering them? There is something that we are seeing or hearing that is nudging us out of our comfort zone and into worry. Possibly several things.

There are some who believe that hypomania has so many positives that it can outweigh the negatives. Our loved one may even believe this. We might hear a great deal about creativity and courage, and less need for rest or sleep. We may see a super-friendly and uninhibited person racing around helping others, perhaps strangers, with little thought to the state of his or her own needs or general health.

Many companions who have gone through these episodes with a loved one, unfortunately, have come to witness a definite downside to this illness state. What at first may have been an unusual but tolerable activity soon morphed into a distracted, agitated and fast talking person caught up in a reckless spree of poor choices and extremely inappropriate behavior.

The outcomes of untreated hypomania can be quite costly, on many fronts. What should we do when our flighty and easily irritable loved one has obviously climbed into an elevated state and is moving still higher? Having them seen by their doctor, we eventually decide, would be the safe and intelligent thing to do. Many companions would agree: this is the course to take. But what if a loved one refuses to see their doctor? What if they insist they are getting a lot done and having entirely too much fun to want to change anything. What can a concerned and caring companion do then?

Many companions are faced with this question, only to find that answers are not always easy to come by. Any suggestions that may have worked for you that you’d like to share? 


  1. I am lucky enough to have the relationship with my husband's therapist and psychiatrist that I can call either one, let them know what's going on with him, and they'll call him and try to get him to come in for an appointment that same day. Doesn't always work, but they will listen to me and talk to him about it the next time they see him.

  2. CAC: This is an appropriate and positive arrangement. I've known a number of companions who have this set up with their loved one's doctor or therapist and in most cases it seems helpful to all concerned. Loved ones who support a companion or family member doing this realize that this is occurring only to help them when they are at a place in their recovery where they're not able to make healthy choices. -Jerry