Has anyone else experienced this?

Has anyone else had this experience and if so what worked for you?

My husband has been on Lithium for just over a year. It has worked brilliantly in reducing his depressive symptoms, however it has made him permanently Hypomanic. He hasn’t been able to sleep and has lost lot of weight. His mind is racing and he feels unable to cope.His dose was increased to 1000mg in November and he has been really struggling. Unfortunately the only psychiatrist that serves the mental health unit is on long term sick leave. He is supposed to see her every 3 months, which was supposed to be January. They are using locums to cover but this is only 1 day every fortnight. He just wants to try adding a dose of antipsychotic to be able to sleep and stop his mind from racing.

He has been ringing every week but they are inundated and unable to help. I rang the first response unit and they rang him back but refused to speak to him. When he asked who they were after they asked to speak to me, the woman said “Oh well he sounds ok” they advised us to call his GP. She was great and concerned about how seriously he needed help, but of course she can’t prescribe as she doesn’t know what to prescribe or how much, as we thought. Only a Psychiatrist can do that. So she said she would speak to the Psychiatriac team.

We looked at his nhs app and saw that she had written how she had been bounced around from homeless centre to mental health support group etc while trying to speak to the mental health team. She was eventually put through and they promised to ring my husband urgently later that day. What happened is that he received a phone call from a heavily accented woman who only wanted to know if the Lithium was working. Then before he was able to speak, said how pleased they were to hear that and if he had any problems in future to call them ack. He was able to get a word in and explain his symptoms, but was told he may hear something next week.

We can’t go on like this and I was just wondering how other people cope. Is this a typical scenario?

Thanks in advance

Hi @Perennial, welcome to the forum. I have had this problem before with the mental health for my mum. Basically I went to the health board a few times and really told them what was going on but also when evidence was needed for the covid enquiry I lay blame on the mental health services for mucking around putting it polite.
What you need to do is complain to the health board about them, you mp or local councillors about the service. Also tell your GP how your husband is sleeping but it affecting his physical health and your. Also ring the NHS 111 service and keep on to them that he is not getting any help or support, even take him to A&E to hammer the message home, you can also try the safeguarding team, see if they want to help.
Good luck and keep in touch.

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Hi Michael,

Thank you so much for your helpful reply.

The gp and psychiatric team are great, its just the mental health response team who are really unhelpful. I do appreciate there literally is no psychiatrist available.

My husband is having to self medicate to get any sleep. We have tried zopiclone which didnt work.

His body is exhausted but his mind keeps racing.

Ive tried to get him to go to A and E, but i really cant see him sitting for hours waiting.

There is always a psychiatrist available even if they are in a different area. They should find someone for him as the way they are going he could tip, that is not nice. Keep a log of everything as it will be good as evidence but also give your husband a writing or drawing pad and let him either write down or draw out what is making his mind race and it might be some help but might also help to push for him to see someone else. Also keep on at the mental health team and keep throwing the duty or care act and mental health act. It is two things they try to avoid but sometimes you have to play silly mind games with them. But also watch that they don’t try to turn it back onto yourself but also make sure they don’t try phycology on you and try and confuse the point. One tried it on with me but I outwitted him.

Hi Michael,

Thank you for your advice. The Medication is what is making him hypomanic and making his mind race.