My fathers mania is out of control, plus he has early stage of dementia...

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Hello,I don't know any mental health forums so I picked this one,well I'm 24 living with my parents with my finace til were done with school...my dad stoped taking his meds for his mental illness about 2 and a half years ago..but still takes antidepressants..hes 62 and a member of the VA but they only see him 2 times a years so they don't see his bad side..they don't give him monthly therapy anymore cause of all the new disabled vets.So during the 2 years + he has become very religious/fanatic about religion,negative,pushy,a how do you say? I'm better then everyone attitude,he argues with everyone..his arguments make no sense..I try and argue back but I know it won't get anywhere so I stoped trying,he spends money very unwisely like as in wasted $40,000,only sleeps 2 hours a night,he needs all doors open in the house ,I don't know why but he makes a big deal about it and leaves lights on all night,he has alot of energy cause of the mania..and trys to do things that he can't..he has a muscular problem with his legs so they don't function well and gets hurt all the time,all he wants to eat is sugary foods..my mother can't control him or anything in the house its his way or the way with everyone.How do I get his VA doctor to make sure he takes his medicine and gets therapy sessions without them admitting him to a hospital cause we don't want that to happen..we just want him to be stable and for our family to not have this stress anymore..he is a very controling, hard headed man..its not easy to talk to him when hes in this state any Idea's?
Oh I forgot to mention my oldest brother has baker-acted him 8 months ago and they prescribed him some meds but he never took them..and he just got worse..and now brings that up everyday

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Thank you for the update. Removing yourself from the dysfunctional environment does seem like the healthiest thing for you to do. Continue to advocate for your father's medical treatment to the extent that you can. I hate to sound harsh, but really, Father's mental health is Not Your Problem. If your mother wants help in taking action, I hope you will support her. But at this point in your life your job (in my opinion) is to finish your education and establish yourself in your own household. Build a firm foundation for your own future. Your father's mental illness is not his fault, but neither is it your responsibility.

Be nice to your sister!
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well were are making plans to move in with my sister (as much as she annoys me haha) but its better then living in this crazy house...just this week..my dad is starting with me and my fiance about sleeping in the same bed..I told him "dad we have been sleeping in the same bed for 6 years..and you knew that? and now you bring this up after 6 years?"..he goes on to say I'm stoping him from going to heaven to earn his place at gods table..whatever that means..oh and he tried to run on the treadmill ..that was set on 8mph...(mind you he can barely walk) ofcourse he fell and hurt his leg..refuses to walk with a cane..he trys to walk around the house falling everywhere telling us (hes no cripple)..and still my mother does nothing..I really think the VA needs to be more hands on with there people..me and my sister are still talking to my mom to step up and try and get power of attorney and we emailed the VA..no response yet..thank you everyone for your help..I'll keep you updated
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Hi James,

I'm sorry to hear what you and your family is going through with your dad. I'm sure that your parents would never want you to be unhappy. This is my advice.

1. I would call Adult Protective services as soon as your dad is in one of his mood swings. Let them keep a history of the issues and have them be the bad guy.

2. I would have your mom or you create a journal documenting all of his odd behaviors with the appropriate dates. If possible, I'd video tape it with a NannyCam for evidence.

3. Based on your description, your dad needs a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. When he is out of control, I wouldn't talk to him or raise my voice or try to win an argument. When he's behaving well, then, I'd give him attention and love. This is very hard to do and takes a lot of practice.

4. After you have a document trail of several months, I'd hire an elder attorney and start legal conservatorship or guardianship process immediately. This may scare him into behaving right away.

5. Once your dad is in the legal system, you can ask them to keep him in observation for a couple of weeks.

6. You mentioned that he eats a lot of "sugary things". There was an interesting article on Forbes that mentioned linkage to depression and dementia with a high sugary diet. There have been other studies showing a high sugary diet leading to Type 2 diabetes.

7. I would write down a list of positive things that your dad did for you and read the list when you are flustered. This should help you cope.



One thing that I've learned is that you need to learn how to navigate the system in order to get your parents or elder help. I wish I would've done some of these things sooner with my grandpa.
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My dad receives care at the VA too. My dad also seems to be having manic episodes in which he's completely unreasonable and embarrassing. I believe my dad has been in a manic state for the past 10 years. I moved far away from my parents 6 years ago and it was the best thing I have ever done. He refuses to take the psych meds that the VA orders for him and he's unbearable to be around. There's nothing I can do to help him. Both my parents were very abusive, toxic people when I was young, so I don't feel I need to do them any favors. It's amazing how my parents toxicity has improved now that they have no control over my life. However, last year my dad ruined my wedding reception by giving an impromptu speech where he made racist comments towards my friends and went off on completely inane political rants. He also announced to everyone during his crazy speech that he was a child molester. As far as I know he's never sexually abused anyone and to this day I can't fathom why he said this in front of all our friends, most of whom have very small children. It was off the charts humiliating to say the least. My mother seems to not even notice his behavior. I received advice from my counselor to cut off communication with my parents after this humiliating situation. I still communicate with them, but on a very limited basis. I'm 7 months pregnant and I don't even want my little girl around him or either of my parents, for that matter, especially since I don't understand the "molester" comment he made last year. My husband and I have decided that my parents visits will be limited to very short, totally supervised visits. They will not be invited to events such as Baptisms, school events or big birthday parties. I think we can organize these events without my parents even noticing since we are so far away. I feel very sad that our daughter will be Baptized on the sly without their knowledge, but I do not want him around humiliating me and insulting my friends and husband's family. I will take my counselor's advice and cut ties with him in a heartbeat if I notice even the slightest weirdness from him around my child! My advice to you would be to limit the time you spend with your dad. It's doesn't really sound like there's anything you can do to help him, unless you can obtain medical power of attorney for him and get a judge to rule that he's incompetent. Legally the VA can't even speak to you without a HIPAA from him. Maybe you have these documents already? Otherwise, move away and start a new life without his problems! My life has been so much better since moving away from my father and his rants and ridiculousness.
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Thank you everyone,everything you have said makes 100% sense,but my mother is scared to do anything cause she has been dependant on my dad for so many years and has never worked..even when they separated so many times in the past she always went back to him..my mother is the type that will try her best to keep peace without conflict even if it means lying.When my brother backer-acted my father she was very upset..asking questions like "are they going to have ice cream for him there?will they have tv for him?" my brother, sister and I looked at each other and realised maybe my father has made my mom a lil crazy aswell..we all felt guilty when he was in the hospital..when we visited him he was calm and everything "prob cause they gave him the meds he needed" but he went on to say "in all my years I never would think my kids would do this to me".My family is going to try and conact the VA doctor,were thinking of getting statements from the members of the church as more proof aswell cause the whole church is sick of him from what I heard.Its just hard to deal with this..cause my dad will throw money around to get his way..but I hope this doesnt become a court battle.
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Jeanne: I appreciate your comment. You are so right about someone who will not take their medications. I don't know what is best either, but hospitalization would seem to be a start. My heart, as yours, goes out to families that are must deal with those who suffer mental illness. Thanks for your words. Cattails
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Oops ... hit enter by accident.

It is really sad if there is more demand for VA mental health care than they have the resources for. Maybe switching to a different health care provider would mean he could have therapy once a month ... if he would go. But there appears to be a shortage of mental health care providers in the private sector, too. Try to get an appointment with a psychiatrist for any cause, and be prepared for a several-month wait. Been there, done that. Therapists are more readily available. He would need both.

I hear you about "if you are in a system that doesn't work, then get out of it" but I really don't know what system works consistently and predictably with these kinds of mental disorders. As I mentioned, my relative was in and out of hospitals several times before something clicked and he experienced some improvement.

What Dad needs more than anything is to take his meds. What will get him there ... another hospitalization, a new start with new doctors, his wife issuing an ultimatum ... I sure don't know.

But I join you in wishing strength for his family!
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Cat, from my very limited experience, there is little any doctor could do to make a patient take the prescribed meds. We are very fortunate (compared to previous generations, at least) that there are a number of drugs that are reasonably effective for a number of different mental disorders. But they are only effective if they are taken as directed. And therein lies the problem. A person at the peak of a manic episode thinks he is Superman. He is perfect. There is nothing wrong with him. He does not need pills. He does not need to go to therapy. Just get out his way, you mere mortal, because he can do anything! And God is on his side! This is not a personality trait or arrogance. It is how the disease manifests itself. (And in a depths of depression, life is not worth living, so why take pills? Why bother with therapy. Nothing will ever get better. It is hopeless, etc. etc.)

It sounds like his family got him into a hospital using the provisions of the Baker Act, and the doctors did come up with a treatment plan to address his mental disorder. And Dad simply ignored the plan. This is sooooo painful for all concerned.
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James: Maybe you can educate me on the subject of VA care. It seems that it is not responsive to your dad's needs. What happens if your dad goes to private doctors and not to the VA. Does his insurance cover doctors outside the VA? My feeling is if you are in a system that doesn't work, then get out of it, but I don't really understand the VA system and if you have other options.

I'm sorry to say that your dad probably does need to be hospitalized. He needs docs to focus on his mental problems and try to get him well. That's not going to happen with a 2 visit a year deal.

If you and your mom take no stand, your mom may soon find herself broke and living with a man who can't reason. You are very young, but you may have to take a hard look at things and talk it over with your mom. If she does not want to rock the boat, then there is little hope for a good outcome.

Sending you encouragement and strength. Cattails
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Oh my dear, my heart breaks for you! It is sooo sad to see a loved one in the grips of mental illness, and also to have your own life negatively impacted by it.

This was a fine place to post your questions and perhaps someone else here will have personal experience to share with you. I urge you to also find a good internet support group for the specific disease your father has. Here there may be few who have this experience, but on a site devoted to it you will have a much larger group of people to interact with.

I have very peripheral exposure to mental illness of this intensity. A bipolar relative has many of the behaviors you describe. He has been hopitalized many times. Last year a hospitalization finally "took" and since has tried to get his act together in terms of following his therapists advice, taking his meds correctly, actually listening (sometimes) to the people who love him and are trying to help him. I can't say it has been an unqualified success, but it is a huge improvement. So I'm not sure why you are so against having Dad hospitalized. Just because it hasn't helped in the past doesn't mean it can never help.

You will probably find support groups for family members of mentally ill persons that you can attend locally. That might be helpful for you, your fiance, your mother, and perhaps your sibs. You deserve all the support you can get!

The VA doctor will not be able to give you any information (unless Dad has permitted that, which seems highly unlikely). But you can provide information. You can write a letter to the doctor, explaining that Dad is not taking his meds and what behaviors you observe. I don't know how the doctor can make sure he takes his meds, except in a hospital setting. It is worth trying to write such a letter.

I think this is going to sound heartless, so let me say first that I have been caregiving my husband with dementia for more than nine years. I believe in the "for worse" and "in sickness" part of the wedding vows. But ... if I were in your mother's situation, it would be my way or the highway. And my way would be I must be in charge of the meds and you, dear husband, must comply with the medication plan. Otherwise I would continue to love him but not to live with him. I would not allow him access to tens of thousands of dollars, knowing that it is part of the illness to be totally irresponsible financially. Part of loving him (for me) would be protecting him from his worst symptoms. But, your mother did not ask my advice!

I wonder if it is in your best interests (or his) to continue to live in that household while you are in school.

I am sure you know that your father is not behaving this way deliberately to create stress for your family. He cannot help that he has his disease. At the very least I hope you are not taking any of his behavior personally.

Best of luck to you in this very challenging situation.
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