Oh Yeah Im A Bit Like That
Ive had plenty of people say this to me after finding out that I have bipolar disorder. Its meant kindly, as a means of finding common ground. Except often it comes across like Russia battering a flag into a bit of the Arctic she doesnt own.
Everyone has ups and downs as a natural course of life; this is why people who are permanently smiley are irritating. Ditto those who seem to look to Grumpy Cat as a role model. The difference with bipolar disorder is the extremities of the moods .
Someone without bipolar might go through a bit of a giddy spell: go mad and exit Pret with two bags of popcorn at lunchtime, despite an initial intent to purchase just the one. A person with bipolar, however, during a manic phase, might sweep into Pret and announce forthwith that they are taking over the chain, because boy, they have so many great ideas. Have you heard all these great ideas though? Listen to these ideas.
Similarly, feeling down and miserable sucks, and it is something we all feel at times. Grief is a normal process. Feeling fed up is normal. Clinical depression, however, , is a devil that chews on bones and gorges on souls and should never be underestimated or undermined.
Take Care Of Yourself
It is absolutely critical that you take care of your own physical and emotional needs. You may consider seeing a therapist for yourself, as a means of evaluating your own thoughts and stresses from being in a relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder.
You also have to know;when and if you need to leave a romantic relationshiplike if the person you are dating becomes dangerous, stops getting therapy, or becomes too unstable for you. Understanding your boundaries and what you are willing to accept needs to be crystal clear.
In addition, continue to take care of your own body’s needs like eating nutritiously, sleeping, and exercising. Be sure to keep up your relationships with other friends and loved ones, too, as embarking on a relationship with someone with bipolar disorder is not the time to isolate yourself.;Joining a support group;to both gain;knowledge and emotional support can also be incredibly helpful.
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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Bipolar Disorder Strongly Tied To Premature Death
FROM JAMA PSYCHIATRY
Women and men with bipolar disorder were more likely to die prematurely than were those without bipolar disorder, according to results from a Swedish national cohort study involving nearly 6.6 million adults.
After adjustment for age, marital status, educational level, employment status, and income, all-cause mortality among the 6,618 adults with bipolar disorder in the cohort was increased twofold for both women and men , who died an average of 9.0 and 8.5 years earlier, respectively, did than those without bipolar disorder, according to Dr. Casey Crump of Stanford University, and his colleagues.
Those with bipolar disorder died prematurely from various causes, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , influenza or pneumonia, unintentional injuries, and suicide. Among women, stroke and cancer were also among the causes of premature death. Suicide was a particular risk for both women and men, who had 10-fold and 8-fold increases in risk, respectively , but the life expectancy differences were not fully explained by unnatural deaths, the investigators reported July 17 online in JAMA Psychiatry.
The most significant causes of death were influenza or pneumonia , diabetes , and COPD .
In a separate model, the potential mediating effect of substance use disorders also was evaluated, and the effect was found to be modest, the investigators noted.
Is It Cured Are You Cured
An Oxford don asked me this once in an interview. I didnt even know what to say in response to it cos I was flabbergasted how somebody with such a big study and so many books could be so stupid.
Its fine not to understand an illness. It is fine to ask questions, but one would hope that most people realise that mental illness cannot be cured. Just for the record, bipolar disorder cannot be cured. It is a lifelong illness. Some people feel that they are in remission, however. The goal to aim for is to maintain a healthy stability, usually through a combination of medication and lifestyle choices . But, yeah, its pretty much there for life.
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Get Educated On Bipolar Disorder
Knowledge is power, so learn as much as you can about your partner’s disease. This will also be a healthy sign that you care. That being said, bipolar disorder is a complex disease. Try not to get too bogged down in the details. Instead, focus on the big picture;like what a;manic episode;is;or how to recognize;signs of depression.;
If you or a loved one are struggling with bipolar disorder, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.;
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
How Do People With A Mental Illness Prevent Early Mortality
In my view, many people with serious mental illnesses just dont have the ability to prevent their own early mortality because they are not getting quality healthcare due to socioeconomic factors. However, for those of us not in that boat , I believe we can beat the early mortality, at least to some degree.
As I said, we need to manage the risk of suicide in bipolar disorder, but in addition to that, we need to:
- Manage our bipolar disorder and become symptom-free if at all possible . This reduces the chance of relapse and reduces the impact bipolar disorder has on the body.
- Live a healthy lifestyle as much as possible with a quality diet and exercise I know this isnt always possible, especially if your disease is not well controlled, but it is a goal.
- Try to stay on medications that do not affect blood sugar. Believe me, some medications are known for killer blood sugar impact while others arent ask your doctor and make sure youre getting regular blood tests. Again, this isnt an option for everyone.
- Maintain a healthy weight as much as possible.
- Access healthcare whenever appropriate and take care of comorbid conditions as well as bipolar disorder .
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What To Do In An Emergency
Your bipolar disorder may at times prevent you from seeing things clearly. So when you’re feeling well, make a plan with your friends and family for what to do in case you start behaving in a way that may mean you’re thinking about suicide.
You should agree to steps you’ll take during a crisis, such as:
- Ask for help from friends or family members.
- Stay safe until you can get help.
Remember that mood episodes are temporary and suicidal thoughts are a symptom of your bipolar disorder. You will feel better with time.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers free and confidential support for people in distress, 24/7:
Bipolar Disorder Linked To Risk Of Early Death From Natural Causes
- University of Washington
- People with bipolar disorder have a higher death rate from natural causes compared to people in the general population of the same age and gender but without mental illness.
Bipolar disorder appears to increase the risk of early death from medical illnesses, according to a literature review study published as the lead article this week in the journal Psychiatric Services.
The researchers comprehensively reviewed 17 studies involving more than 331,000 patients. Evidence suggested that people with bipolar disorder have a higher mortality from natural causes compared to people in the general population of similar age and gender but without mental illness. The various studies indicated that the risk was from 35 percent to 200 percent higher. The risk is the same for men and women. The most common conditions leading to premature death were heart disease, respiratory diseases, stroke, and endocrine problems such as diabetes.
People with bipolar disorder tend to have manic phases and depressed phases in their lives. During mania, they might be too wound up to sleep, their thoughts might race, and they might have boundless energy. During depression, they might feel painfully sad, hopeless, and immobilized.
As psychiatric conditions such as bipolar disorder become more treatable, Katon said, “We’re saving people from this illness and losing them to other medical illnesses.”
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Do You Think I Might Have It
Look, I was amazing at science in school. And Im sure I would look good in a white coat if I was Liz Hurley and thought it acceptable to wear white coats but I am not a doctor. I dont know if you have bipolar disorder. I dont know any more than that printout youre waving in front of me.
There is no diagnostic test for bipolar disorder, so often diagnoses rely on personal empirical experience and the testimony of close ones. If you are concerned about your own, or somebody elses mental health, please do go and see your GP. While we still have an NHS.
People With Mental Illness Die Sooner Than Others
According to Dr. Steven Dilsaver, a psychiatrist who specializes in bipolar disorder ,
The findings indicate that the chronically persistently mentally ill . . . die an average of about 25 years earlier than expected. The primary cause is cardiovascular disease. Suicide enters into the equation but is not the primary cause.
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Know The Warning Signs
If you have bipolar disorder, or you’re the friend or relative of someone who does, keep an eye out for suicidal behavior. Some obvious signs of trouble are talking about suicide or death or writing a suicide note.
Some other warning signs are:
- Feeling hopeless
- Putting affairs in order, as if preparing for death
- Doing dangerous or potentially life-threatening things
Dangerous Aggressive And Violent Behavior In Bipolar Disorder
I work with parents and partners of those with bipolar disorder. In the majority of situations, people who are in a strong dysphoric manic episode can be dangerous, aggressive, and violent. Physical assault and weapons are not uncommon. Many men go to jail because of this behavior when they actually need psychiatric help. People who are mild-mannered and kind when well, both men and women, get superhuman strength along with the aggressionripping a sink out of the wall, punching through windows, throwing chairs, and other dangerous behaviors are not uncommon.
Families and partners suffer in silence because they are scared to tell anyone about what really goes on at home.
I have violent thoughts when dysphoric mania is raging. I used to chase down cars if the driver flipped me off or made a strange face. It is not my goal to scare anyone reading this. Its my goal that we are honest about these hidden and pushed-under-the-rug symptoms of bipolar disorder.
The solution is management. People with bipolar do not have these symptoms unless the mood swings are raging. Prevent the mood swings, and you can prevent the dangerous, aggressive, and violent behavior.
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What Risks And Complications Can Bipolar Disorder Cause
There can be complications and risks for people who live with bipolar disorder. But these risks can be lessened with the right support and treatment.
What about suicide and self-harm?
You might have an illness where you experience psychosis, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Your risk of suicide is estimated to be between 5% and 6% higher than the general population.
You are more likely to try to take your own life if you have a history of attempted suicide and depression. It is important that you get the right treatment for your symptoms of depression and have an up to date crisis plan.
There is also research that suggests you are 30% – 40% more likely to self-harm if you live with bipolar disorder.
What about financial risk?
If you have mania or hypomania you may struggle to manage your finances. You may spend lots of money without thinking about the effect that it may have on your life.
You could make a Lasting Power of Attorney. This is a legal process. This means that you pick someone that you trust to manage your finances if you lack mental capacity to manage them by yourself.
You can work with your carer and mental health team. You can form an action plan. This can say what they can do if you have a period of mania or hypomania and you start to make poor financial decisions.
What about physical health risk?
What about alcohol and drugs risk?
If you want advice or help with alcohol or drug use contact your GP.
What about driving risk?
Can You Be Hypomanic Without Losing Control
Think of two people with very different temperaments or personality styles. One is usually calm, even-tempered, rarely anxious and mostly has positive self-esteem. The second person, by contrast, approaches most things with apprehension and doubt and often feels that stress undermines his or her capacity to think clearly and make good decisions. These are people who approach life quite differently.
Imagine these two people both experience the same difficult and challenging day. While their external stress may be comparable, these individuals’ capacity to manage their day is quite different. For the one with anxiety and deficient self-soothing, their fearfulness and difficulty remaining calm are stressors in and of themselves. In other words, the psyche of the individual absolutely plays a significant role in how the day is experienced. The notion that circumstance or other people make us feel anyway in particular is inaccurate. Life comes at us, but our response is our own creation.
I dont want to replicate the perspective that I criticized at the outset of this blog. Psychotherapy wont likely resolve the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Even the most insightful, self-aware, self-accepting bipolar individual will still experience some mixture of highs, lows and/or irritability that will be difficult to manage. Thats life with bipolar disorder.
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Living With Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness. That means youll live and cope with it for the rest of your life. However, that doesnt mean you cant live a happy, healthy life.
Treatment can help you manage your changes in mood and cope with your symptoms. To get the most out of treatment, you may want to create a care team to help you. In addition to your primary doctor, you may want to find a psychiatrist and psychologist. Through talk therapy, these doctors can help you cope with symptoms of bipolar disorder that medication cant help.
You may also want to seek out a supportive community. Finding other people whore also living with this disorder can give you a group of people you can rely on and turn to for help.
Finding treatments that work for you requires perseverance. Likewise, you need to have patience with yourself as you learn to manage bipolar disorder and anticipate your changes in mood. Together with your care team, youll find ways to maintain a normal, happy, healthy life.
How Does It Affect People
Bipolar disorder affects both men and women. For many people, the first symptoms show up in their early twenties. However, research has shown that the first episode of bipolar disorder is occurring earlier: It often shows up in adolescence, and even children can have the disorder.
Recent research suggests that kids and teens with bipolar disorder don’t always have the same behavioral patterns that adults with bipolar disorder do. For example, kids who have bipolar disorder may experience particularly rapid mood changes and may have some of the other mood-related symptoms listed below, such as irritability and high levels of anxiety. But they may not show other symptoms that are more commonly seen in adults.
Because brain function is involved, the ways people with bipolar disorder think, act, and feel are all affected. This can make it especially difficult for other people to understand their condition. It can be incredibly frustrating if other people act as though someone with bipolar disorder should just “snap out of it,” as if a person who is sick can become well simply by wanting to.
Bipolar disorder isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw; it’s a serious medical condition that requires treatment, just like any other condition.
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