I would like this post to be about educating those that don’t know a lot about Bipolar. I was diagnosed with it in 2005, after a lifelong struggle with ups and downs which I had no idea how to treat or what it was. My family would just say, “that’s Lori being Lori”. They had no idea about it either.
What many people don’t know is that Bipolar is a “MOOD DISORDER”. It involves extreme ups and downs, where the person goes through manic phases of increased confidence, excitement, and extreme spending habits. There are other symptoms and signs of mania too but these are the most common. The downs are depression so deep that you want to commit suicide at times, because you don’t want to live your life in such a deep hopelessness of despair. There are many types of bipolar too, such as “rapid cycling bipolar” “bipolar one”, “bipolar two”, etal.
Bipolar is a mood disorder where the person who suffers from it does not have complete control over their thoughts and feelings. Most of us have a trigger is our brain to make us realize a situation is bad for us, and those with bipolar lack this. There may be people that you know that have the signs of being bipolar but having those signs can be confused with many other mental conditions that are around.
The mood of one with bipolar can go from happy to sad in a matter of seconds. When they get mad, it is almost like they are not happy until those around them are upset and angry also. Another symptom of bipolar is having high energy but still being in control. One of the biggest complaints from people with bipolar is that their brain does not shut off, even when they are trying to go to sleep at night. Many people that have bipolar also have ADHD or ADD. They cannot concentrate long enough on one thing to complete a task that they have before them.
Those suffering from bipolar also have great bouts of depression and have feelings of no self-worth at this time. They also talk very fast and are hard to follow. Many people with bipolar jump from subject to subject with no break in-between. They also have a hard time keeping a job and getting along with others. Unfortunately, many also abuse drugs and alcohol making their condition much worse. They also have a very hard time sleeping at night and this can cause the problems at work.
All of these combined does not mean that a person has bipolar, but it is wise to get someone tested.
What illnesses often co-exist with bipolar disorder?
Substance abuse is very common among people with bipolar disorder, but the reasons for this link are unclear.7 Some people with bipolar disorder may try to treat their symptoms with alcohol or drugs. However, substance abuse may trigger or prolong bipolar symptoms, and the behavioral control problems associated with mania can result in a person drinking too much.
Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social phobia, also co-occur often among people with bipolar disorder.8-10 Bipolar disorder also co-occurs with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which has some symptoms that overlap with bipolar disorder, such as restlessness and being easily distracted.
People with bipolar disorder are also at higher risk for thyroid disease, migraine headaches, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other physical illnesses.10, 11 These illnesses may cause symptoms of mania or depression. They may also result from treatment for bipolar disorder.
Other illnesses can make it hard to diagnose and treat bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder should monitor their physical and mental health. If a symptom does not get better
How does bipolar disorder affect someone over time?
Bipolar disorder usually lasts a lifetime. Episodes of mania and depression typically come back over time. Between episodes, many people with bipolar disorder are free of symptoms, but some people may have lingering symptoms.
Doctors usually diagnose mental disorders using guidelines from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM. According to the DSM, there are four basic types of bipolar disorder:
- Bipolar I Disorder is mainly defined by manic or mixed episodes that last at least seven days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, the person also has depressive episodes, typically lasting at least two weeks. The symptoms of mania or depression must be a major change from the person’s normal behavior.
- Bipolar II Disorder is defined by a pattern of depressive episodes shifting back and forth with hypomanic episodes, but no full-blown manic or mixed episodes.
- Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS) is diagnosed when a person has symptoms of the illness that do not meet diagnostic criteria for either bipolar I or II. The symptoms may not last long enough, or the person may have too few symptoms, to be diagnosed with bipolar I or II. However, the symptoms are clearly out of the person’s normal range of behavior.
- Cyclothymic Disorder, or Cyclothymia, is a mild form of bipolar disorder. People who have cyclothymia have episodes of hypomania that shift back and forth with mild depression for at least two years. However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for any other type of bipolar disorder.
Some people may be diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. This is when a person has four or more episodes of major depression, mania, hypomania, or mixed symptoms within a year.2 Some people experience more than one episode in a week, or even within one day. Rapid cycling seems to be more common in people who have severe bipolar disorder and may be more common in people who have their first episode at a younger age. One study found that people with rapid cycling had their first episode about four years earlier, during mid to late teen years, than people without rapid cycling bipolar disorder.3 Rapid cycling affects more women than men.4
Bipolar disorder tends to worsen if it is not treated. Over time, a person may suffer more frequent and more severe episodes than when the illness first appeared.5 Also, delays in getting the correct diagnosis and treatment make a person more likely to experience personal, social, and work-related problems.6
Proper diagnosis and treatment helps people with bipolar disorder lead healthy and productive lives. In most cases, treatment can help reduce the frequency and severity of episodes.
Bipolar disorder can be diagnosed and medications prescribed by people with an M.D. (doctor of medicine). Usually, bipolar medications are prescribed by a psychiatrist. In some states, clinical psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and advanced psychiatric nurse specialists can also prescribe medications. Check with your state’s licensing agency to find out more.
Not everyone responds to medications in the same way. Several different medications may need to be tried before the best course of treatment is found.
Keeping a chart of daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events can help the doctor track and treat the illness most effectively. Sometimes this is called a daily life chart. If a person’s symptoms change or if side effects become serious, the doctor may switch or add medications.
Some of the types of medications generally used to treat bipolar disorder are listed on the next page. Information on medications can change. For the most up to date information on use and side effects contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)External Link: Please review our disclaimer..
- Mood stabilizing medications are usually the first choice to treat bipolar disorder. In general, people with bipolar disorder continue treatment with mood stabilizers for years. Except for lithium, many of these medications are anticonvulsants. Anticonvulsant medications are usually used to treat seizures, but they also help control moods. These medications are commonly used as mood stabilizers in bipolar disorder:
- Lithium (sometimes known as Eskalith or Lithobid) was the first mood-stabilizing medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the 1970s for treatment of mania. It is often very effective in controlling symptoms of mania and preventing the recurrence of manic and depressive episodes.
- Valproic acid or divalproex sodium (Depakote), approved by the FDA in 1995 for treating mania, is a popular alternative to lithium for bipolar disorder. It is generally as effective as lithium for treating bipolar disorder.23, 24 Also see the section in this booklet, “Should young women take valproic acid?”
- More recently, the anticonvulsant lamotrigine (Lamictal) received FDA approval for maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder.
- Other anticonvulsant medications, including gabapentin (Neurontin), topiramate (Topamax), and oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) are sometimes prescribed. No large studies have shown that these medications are more effective than mood stabilizers.
Valproic acid, lamotrigine, and other anticonvulsant medications have an FDA warning. The warning states that their use may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. People taking anticonvulsant medications for bipolar or other illnesses should be closely monitored for new or worsening symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, or any unusual changes in mood or behavior. People taking these medications should not make any changes without talking to their health care professional.
MY VIEW ON BIPOLAR AND MY ACTIONS
I personally am on Lamictal, with the anti-depressant Cymbalta and Thorazine to sleep (since they’ve tried every other sleeping pill and it wouldn’t work).
A lot of my episodes are triggered by flashbacks of what happened to me in IRAN.
Just remember there is help and below are some links that might explain and give you resources for getting tested or finding out more information. I hope this has been helpful because so many people misunderstand bipolar. Some celebrities with bipolar: Katherine Zeta Jones (Michael Douglas’ wife), Johnny Depp, Robing Williams, Jim Carey, and a few other well known people. The movie “CATCH ME IF YOU CAN” with Leonardo DiCaprio was based on a man with bipolar. Most bipolar people are HIGHLY INTELLIGENT!!! And get upset with others because they don’t understand their highly creative nature and higher level of functioning. My IQ tested to be 155 and 168 recently, *(NOT BRAGGING just giving you an example, even though I don’t feel smart at all). Also if a bipolar is hell-bent on completing a task of some sort they usually can talk anyone into anything, and this is very true. You wouldn’t believe some of the things I’ve gotten away with in my life, even when I was high. Another thing to realize is that when I bipolar person starts getting pissed with someone and they talk very nasty to you, it’s nothing personal. I know that sounds ridiculous, it’s just their task to make everyone around them feel as miserable as they do. So please get tested and CONTROL your moods ….to a degree:) I truly do hope this helps if you have any questions please feel free to ask. Thanks for listening.
5 thoughts on “Getting to know BIPOLAR-Facts and my views”
Lori, just google freelance articles–they’re everywhere. I’ve written twice for The cultural and Diversity Magazine. Also many e-newspapers like The Chicago Tribune take free-lance articles. Most newspapers are all on-line now and you can try there as well as your own local newspapers.
What an interesting and informative blog post, Lori! Well written!
Thank you both. Micki how does one become a freelance journalist. I love to write about matters that affect/effect me and the experiences that I’ve gone through pertaining to them. And I think I qualify to write about a LOT of disorders, so I shouldn’t run out of material:).
Thanks again you two, it makes me feel good when I think I’ve touched, educated or made someone understand better. Lori
Hi Lori, That was a terrific post. Thank you for taking the time to write it. I was diagnosed with Cyclothymia back in 2007 after a car accident caused some car phobia and landed me in therapy. How little did I know about myself and my disorder back then!! I was put on Valpro for a couple of years but only until I could learn some other techniques and then I weaned myself off it. I also stopped smoking pot which I had been using to self medicate since I was in my teens. Alcohol became the next crutch, even though I still enjoy a drink I know I have to monitor myself and not go to it when I am feeling manic (which is always tempting) I still have Diazepam and Temazepam for the anxiety and sleeping issues which play up when I get overwhelmed or stressed. All these years later and I am still in therapy, still battling with my thoughts and emotions, and yet I had kind of forgotten about my diagnosis (Isn’t that strange?). I now only identify with anxiety, depression and some manic episodes. Yet I understand my condition rises up every now and then. This was a valuable post for me to read. I am so glad I found your blog! Blessings to you!
Lori, you did an excellent job on this highly informative disorder. It was well prsented and I believe emany readers like myself will have learned something new from reading it. You really write articles well–you should become a journalist, a freelance one like me.
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