Thursday, May 18, 2023

Can People With Bipolar Work

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What Impact Has Bipolar Had On Your Life

Bipolar at Work – Bipolar Disorder: In Our Own Words | WebMD

For me this is important because my experience is very unusual. I took antidepressants in my last year of school which, when I arrived at University and took the control of living away from home, helped to induce hypomania.

I was already aware of my mood swings, and studying biomedical sciences. I went to the doctor and said I thought I had bipolar, and he agreed. I had met a superb psychiatrist via student health. Because in my extended Irish family there were a few people who were unusual, and at least two with probable bipolar a working diagnosis was quick.

My school and university experiences were coloured by mood swings. I cycled rapidly between deep depression and hypomania. I ate too much and drank too much, in part because of the medication and in part because of anxiety, and became very obese.

I had some embarrassing moments of drunkenness, self-harm, obnoxiousness and accruing of debt. By the time I felt properly back on an even keel seven years later I had accrued nearly £50,000 of unsecured debt, which its taken a decade to pay back.

So I dont have a house, or a postgraduate degree which Id have liked and which would help now. But. I had my life.

I avoided hospital, thanks to my psychiatrist, brilliant GP, online peer support and carefully nurtured insight. And because I found a sense of purpose through volunteering.

Bipolar can be cruel, as Brian, a man in his 40s describes:

Joan, a mother in her 30s adds:

Blogger Tanya added:

Blogger Anna said:

Doing The Work To Do What You Loveif You Can & You Want To

I live with bipolar disorder and a head injury. Both profoundly affect my ability to work. And not in a good way. Over the past 20 years, Ive modified my life in every way in order to get my work done because I love it so much.

If reading this makes you say to yourself, I really dont love work that much. Then disability is a very good option.

If reading this makes you say, I miss working so badly, Ill do anything to get started again, the ideas in this post can be helpful.

What To Expect After Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Recognizing the symptoms early and treating it promptly is necessary to prevent complications such as suicide, homicide and addictions.

Some lifestyle modifications are important in managing bipolar disorder:

  • Treatment compliance is of utmost importance for the patient as well as the caregivers.
  • Always follow a routine for sleep and meals.
  • Talk to your family and friends and ask for their support.
  • Try connecting with other patients and caregivers through social groups.
  • Talk to a licensed medical practitioner about your symptoms.

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Remain Calm And Provide Comfort

If someone you love is seeing or hearing things you arent, it can be scary and confusing for them. Do you disagree and say its not happening, potentially causing more upset, or do you agree and fuel the belief further?

Its helpful to stay calm, and let them know you understand that it feels real for them, says Buckley. It might be helpful to focus on supporting them with how they are feeling, rather than confirming or challenging their perception of reality, which will feel incredibly real for them in those moments.

Providing comfort can help the person feel seen and heard. If you disagree or argue, it may make them feel more alienated.

Keeping A Job When You Have Bipolar Disorder

Medications for bipolar disorder: List, types, and side ...

Many people with bipolar disorder hold down jobs, just like everyone else. We get up, swear in traffic, survive on coffee and rant about our bosses behind their backs.

But people with bipolar disorder or another mental illness have special challenges when it comes to work. Were sick more often, we need time off for medical appointments and stress affects us more than your average person. Here are a few tips on handling work and bipolar disorder.

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Work Bipolar And Me: Alice’s Story


Bipolar Affective Disorder is a mental illness, characterised by mood swings from manic highs to depressive lows. In this blog, Alice discusses the pros and cons of disclosing her condition in the workplace.

I began experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder from an early age. Following years of misdiagnosis, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type 1 disorder in May 2017. At points in my life, Ive been very unwell Ive had bipolar episodes and rapid cycling. However, with support, Im managing my condition well and can work full-time as a qualified teacher.

I love my job, but Ive found that Bipolar Affective Disorder is complex to talk about when it comes to the workplace and employment even the description of your condition is complicated. Some people say that someone has Bipolar. Some people say that someone is Bipolar. Some people still use the term Manic Depressive. Others choose not to disclose this condition in the workplace at all.

But choosing to disclose this diagnosis may come with very real risks. Not many employers may know or understand that bipolar is a lifelong condition . Whilst the fear of an employer not complying with the Equality Act 2010 is a genuine concern, I wanted to write this article about some of the day-to-day worries that Ive felt as someone with bipolar in the working world.

Types Of Bipolar Disorder

There are three basic types of bipolar disorder all of them involve clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. These moods range from periods of extremely up, elated, and energized behavior or increased activity levels to very sad, down, hopeless, or low activity-level periods . People with bipolar disorder also may have a normal mood alternating with depression. Four or more episodes of mania or depression in a year are termed rapid cycling.

  • Bipolar I Disorder is defined by manic episodes that last at least seven days or when manic symptoms are so severe that hospital care is needed. Usually, separate depressive episodes occur as well, typically lasting at least two weeks. Episodes of mood disturbance with mixed features are also possible.
  • Bipolar II Disorder is defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes described above.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder is defined by persistent hypomanic and depressive symptoms that are not intense enough or do not last long enough to qualify as hypomanic or depressive episodes. The symptoms usually occur for at least two years in adults and for one year in children and teenagers.
  • Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders is a category that refers to bipolar disorder symptoms that do not match any of the recognized categories.

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Finding Work That Works When You Have Bipolar Disorder

Im a psychotherapist who has worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor thats a specialist who helps people with disabilities, including bipolar disorder, find and keep meaningful work. I also have bipolar disorder myself, and have struggled over the years to find work that meets my own special needs.

The research clearly shows that work helps people recover it provides structure, a sense of meaning and purpose, and social interaction. Ive seen clients who are depressed improve almost overnight once they find a job they enjoy. Personally, Ive found that work gives me a chance to stretch myself in a way that increases my confidence, decreases my generalized anxiety, and brings a sense of fulfillment to my life.

Seek Work That Supports Your Recovery

Its important to find work that works for you. Theres no best career or job for someone with bipolar disorder but there are some things to think about when deciding what type of work to do:

Understand Yourself

Outside of these general guidelines, its important to understand your unique self. Richard Nelson Bolles, author of the famous career book What Color Is Your Parachute? said The key to a happy and fulfilling future is knowing yourself. This self-knowledge is the most important component of finding the right career. Some of the things youll want to understand about yourself include:

  • Your interests
  • Your physical abilities and stamina
  • Your limitations and barriers.

Do Some Occupational Research

Bipolar Disorder And Mental Capacity

Bipolar Disorder – Why One Medication May Not Work

With bipolar disorder, you experience periods of depression and mania. Either stage in these cyclical phases can result in symptoms that make it difficult to work and to effectively interact with your boss and coworkers. The job you have and your daily duties may determine how much your symptoms affect your ability to perform however, regardless of position you hold, your dependability, reliability, accuracy, cooperativeness and other core attributes are important.

Poor judgment and impulse control, frequent mood swings, irritability, inability to concentrate, hyperactivity, and other common symptoms of the manic phases of bipolar disorder all affect your ability to perform your job and interact with others.

Additionally, the depressive phases of bipolar disorder bring other mental challenges, including pronounced low moods that may prevent you from performing well at work, and perhaps even extreme sadness that keeps you from getting our bed and making it to work each day. Inability to make decisions, concentrate or remember things are also common symptoms that can negatively impact your ability to perform your job.

Drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders and sleeping disorders are also commonly associated with and/or caused by bipolar disorder. These additional conditions affect your working ability and the likelihood youll be able to get and keep a good job.

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How The Law Protects Those With Bipolar Disorder At Work

If you think youâre being treated unfairly at work due to your bipolar disorder, help is available. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects people from discrimination, whether their disability is physical or mental. But the law does not contain a list of medical conditions that make up disabilities. Instead, it has a general definition of disability that each person must meet. So you may or may not have a disability under the ADA. Disability is defined as impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a past record of these limitations, or being regarded as having such an impairment.

These laws are complex. Before taking any legal action, itâs important to get professional advice. You can call the U.S. Department of Justice ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or go to

The Elephant In The Room

In 2009, a study showed that around one in four of us will be affected by poor mental health in our lifetimes . That means many of us have to learn to cope with mental health issues in the context of work. However, almost none of us will feel free to discuss those issues at the office, or to seek support from our employers or colleagues.

Statistics from the Mental Health Foundation, a UK-based charity studying mental health, show that:

  • Almost 15% of people experience mental health problems while in the workplace.
  • Women working full-time are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as their male counterparts .
  • 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.

As a member of the large working population affected by mental health issues, I am lucky to work for an incredibly understanding, accommodating, and human company. My teammates support me fully. Everyone here at Olark lives out our company value of assume good faith. When I need extra time and space to focus on my mental health needs, I can take it, with no negative consequences or questions asked.

Sadly, very few people are as fortunate as I am. According to Mental Health and Work, an in-depth report prepared by the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists:

The report goes on to note that even when they are able to find employment, workers with mental health problems are likely to face ongoing challenges:

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Does Bipolar Disorder Cause Anger

Irritation and anger can be a normal and even healthy response to certain provocations. As with many emotions, however, people with bipolar disorder appear to be more vulnerable to extreme responses.

Everyone can become frustrated or angry, but loss of control can be part and parcel of bipolar disorder rage, says Jeffrey Borenstein, MD, president and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.

Irritable mood is among the primary diagnostic criteria for mania and hypomania, and theres growing understanding that anger and irritability can be hallmarks of depression as well.

Left unchecked, irritability and its downstream cousins, anger and rage, can have dramatic and devastating effects. Family life and friendships suffer. There can be severe repercussions in the workplace and, on occasion, seismic encounters with the justice system.

At the least, guilt and regret after an outburst have corrosive emotional consequences.

For five seconds afterward, there is some relief, Paul admits. And then theres the, Oh my God, what did I just do? and the remorse would send me into a depressive state.

The Connection Between Anger & Bipolar Symptoms

Medications for bipolar disorder: List, types, and side ...

Its important to know if your anger travels with symptoms of mania, such as not needing to sleep, or with the symptoms of depression, such as losing interest in things, says Elizabeth Brondolo, PhD, a psychology professor at St. Johns University in New York City and co-author of Break the Bipolar Cycle: A Day-to-Day Guide to Living with Bipolar Disorder.

Its easy to detect changes when a normally easygoing person starts to get cranky. For people whose temperaments are marked by hostile personality traits impatience, frustration, rudeness there may be a more subtle crescendo.

A 2012 study involving more than 500 people found that those with bipolar are more likely to be argumentative, feel hostile toward others, have hot tempers, and act out than those without the disorder, especially during a mood episode. There is also a greater likelihood of anger escalating quickly, resulting in sudden and explosive outbursts.

However, there may be underlying differences in disposition between people who feel snappy and those who feel happy during hypomanic and manic phases. A study in the March 15, 2015 issue of Journal of Affective Disorders found that on a temperament scale, the snappy group scored as more irritable, more self-focused, and less cooperative. They were also more likely to report higher levels of irritability during depression and to have a comorbid anxiety disorder.

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Prepare For Manic Episodes

Its a good idea to make a plan for manic episodes, says Buckley. When your friend or family member is feeling well, try talking to them about how you can support them at these times.

You could discuss ideas such as: being creative together, helping to reduce stress, relaxation exercises, helping to manage money while theyre unwell, helping them keep a routine, and discussing how they can keep on top of regular meals and a good sleep pattern.

Take The Time You Need

Yup, you want your boss to think of you as a good employee but that doesnt mean that you shouldnt take the sick time you need and that youve earned. When youre sick just admit it and stay home. Its okay. Itll be much better for you in the long run than trying to power through and making yourself worse for weeks or even months to come.

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How I Handle Bipolar Disorder And Working In An Office

I was asked about how I have continued to work even through major bipolar storms. I found when I wrote about this topic, pages and pages were filled, so were splitting it in half. Today is part one: how to work an office job with bipolar disorder.

Some of you know Ive had office jobs in the tech industry for most of my working career and only recently made a shift. And in those years Ive had various severities of bipolar disorder. And what Ive learned is this: working with bipolar disorder comes down to one thing – being stubborn.

Bipolar Disorder Anger And Mood Swings

Can You Stop Your Bipolar Medication? Maybe Heres How

Bringing bipolar mood shifts under control may lessen the pressure to blow up, but that doesnt mean the volatile emotions will entirely evaporate. Thats where anger management techniques come in, such as counting to 10, taking deep breaths, and finding a positive outlet instead of letting the steam build.

Its also important to learn the triggers that typically set you off and the mental and physical signs of an impending eruption. Paul says that in the past year, he has gotten better at recognizing his warning signs.

I feel my blood pressure start to boil and have to catch it and calm down, he says.

Learning to tease apart appropriate emotional reactions from those associated with a mood shiftin either directionrequires insight developed over time.

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Have You Taken Your Medication

This is actually very much a question family and friends of people with bipolar should ask. I am awful at keeping track of taking my medication. Today, for instance, I have forgotten to take it. Medication for me at least is something incredibly important to my wellbeing.

I owe a lot, therefore, to my dear friends and family who keep on top of it, when I dont .

In psychiatry, the notion of taking drugs or not taking drugs is known as compliance. If youre someone who takes the medication youve been prescribed, you are compliant. If not, you exhibit non-compliance. The reason I have included this question in the list even though it is a good thing to ask is because the question in itself sucks just as a sheer reminder that one has to take medication to function like a normal human being at all.

Id love to be able to say my heart doesnt break a little every time Im reminded to take my meds, but it does.

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