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Looking for help for my cousin

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Looking for help for my cousin

Postby Sunshine78 » Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:13 am

Me and my cousin are one year apart in age. He's 27 now. When we were growing up, I knew that he had a mental handicap. But it was just a part of life. Since we were so close in age, it was never really thought about. We still played together and acted like regular cousins. I believe he had a severe form as a child, because when he was agitated he would often slam his head against the walls and floor. He was a very slow learner and, if my memory is correct, he was in diapers until he was four years old. Both his parents are mentally handicapped, too. My grandmother set them up in a house and the family stops in to see how they are doing. However, my grandmother passed away a few years ago. I moved away, so I didn't see my cousin as much as I used to. My mother keeps me posted on how he is doing, though. His parents don't keep up the home, I hate to say. They live in a hollow in West Virginia. My aunt and uncle suffer from mild forms of retardation. My cousin dropped out of high school and has never been employed. About two years ago, the doctors institutionalized my cousin briefly. They said that he had schizophrenia and was bipolar, besides the fact that he is mentally handicapped. They put him on medication and released him back to his parents. However, it seems like he has gotten worse. He spoke to my mother the other day and said that he wished he was dead. She's really concerned that he may try to commit suicide. I told her that I'd try to find more information to see if there's any way that we can help. Is schizophrenia and bipolar common with mental retardation? Is there help groups for families that can give advice? Do they have groups where my cousin could meet others like himself? I would love for him to make friends. I think one of the biggest problems right now is that he feels so lonely.
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Postby Spiggy » Mon Apr 09, 2007 6:27 pm

Hi Sunshine,
In the UK Social Services can help, or the local Council, who may provide a Community Support worker to visit your cousin regularly and help him with day-to-day living.
I hope that there is something in the USA that can help.
My very best wishes to you, and good luck.
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Postby kellycoyote » Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:31 am

Hi there...I'm new to this forum and just found it on a search. It's interesting that you ask this question because I am a Nurse Aid that works as a sole caregiver for two ladies in their 50's who are moderately mentally retarded and have both been diagnosed and are currently medicated for Bipolar Disorder. I also have Bipolar Disorder. Both were diagnosed because of agression. One is on a lot of medication and shows no syptoms of BP, but the other who has actually broken ribs before, is on much less medication and shows very much of what I recognize as BP behavior...."agressive, revved up, distinct mood cycles, etc." I think she should be on more medication.

The thing that is hard to know in these situations is what is what. We don't know exactly what was developmentally stunted to cause the retardation, and so we don;t know what is a result of the developmental disorder and what is BP. However, I do believe she should be treated with BP drugs because they would address the symptoms. So, I guess I feel that it doesn't really matter what label they give the problem, but just that it characterizes a set of syptoms that can hopefully be treated to a certain extent by medication. I am living proof.

The whole idea goes back to "quality of life" and not labels, and I will say one thing for sure.... Having a racing mind, being irritable, anxious and not being able to sleep is AWFUL, just to have it alternate with having your brain tell you that you want to die, coupled with crippling fatigue and being upset about everything. Moldern pharacueticals are limited, i've been through a million and had crummy side effects, but got a pretty good combo now after 4 years. Before that, 50 percent of BP patients committed suicide.

Is your cousin taking Lithium...it has a tendency to make one depressed or is he taking an antipsychotic like Zyprexa , Seroquel or Abilify? Maybe they are too sedating, those guys can be, I only took them before bed. I was ultimately allergic.

Why schizophrenia too, BP causes a lot of syptoms that overlap with it..is he hallucinating, withdrawn, having delusions or disorganized speech. I'm rambling, sorry,and I'm super curious about the topic.

Oh, also, my boyfriend worked on an MR hall at a psych hospital, he said BP is a common diagnosis.

Good Luck! Kelly
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