Dear Dr. B,

I’ve heard that people with bipolar disorder, like my brother, often go off their medications even though they need them, why?

Confused But Concerned

Dear Concerned,

Individuals with bipolar disorder have a chemical imbalance which affects mood, motivation, sleep, energy, libido, creativity, and other day to day functioning. Medications are frequently prescribed to help regulate the chemical imbalance.

One of the most difficult aspects physicians face in treating bipolar disorder is exactly what you mentioned: patients often discontinue taking their medication. This often happens primarily for one of two reasons. First, when medications are working, patients feel good so they often think they don’t need their medication anymore rather than appreciating that the reason they feel better is because the medication is doing what it is supposed to do.

Secondly, for some patients, as the medications begin to regulate their neurochemistry, their energy level is regulated and so is their creativity, so they are often less productive than when they are experiencing the more manic or hypomanic side of bipolar disorder. They often don’t like this, so they will discontinue their medication in order to experience the euphoria, extreme energy, or creativity that the medication may dampen.

The concern is that going off any such medication without close medical supervision can be very dangerous.

I can appreciate your concern. You love your brother and want the best for him. Perhaps you might offer to accompany him to his next doctor’s appointment so that you can ask his physician similar questions in order for your brother to hear the doctor’s responses for himself, rather than hearing them from you and perceive you to be a nagging sister who doesn’t know what she is talking about.

Remember that when you do express your concerns to your loved one, to speak the truth but in love.


Just as God’s kindness is what leads us to repentance, our words spoken in love and gentleness will be more likely to be received well than in anger and frustration.

Your RX When Speaking the Truth in Love

Hope Prevails,

Dr. B

(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)


A short brief about Hope Prevails.

Hope Prevails
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.

Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide

  • An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
  • As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
  • Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations

Hope Prevails Book cover vertical 536

In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.

For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.

Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see:


Why so many diagnosed with bipolar disorder go off their medications and what you can do about it. Dr. Bengtson shares strategies you can use to help your loved ones.