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?
And It Can Take Clinicians A Long Time To Diagnose Bipolar Disorder Properly
It can take 10 years in some cases to diagnose bipolar disorder correctly, Dr. Galynker says. Especially if you have someone who has subclinical symptoms, oftentimes in cases of bipolar II, when hypomania isnt affecting a persons ability to function.
Mike, 66, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1988, but he remembers recognizing his mood swings as early on as 1980, he tells SELF. I recall keeping a calendar at work where I logged how I felt, he says. I was trying to track my own rhythmmy up and down time, so I knew when to plan events, like vacations.
Emma says she was originally diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and mild depression. Then, last year, she was diagnosed with bipolar II. We get help when we’re at our worst, so you get diagnosed based on the symptoms you’re evincing, she explains. But the thing about bipolar disorder is that it’s all dependent on patterns. If no one asks you to work backwards in your own timeline, you can’t figure out those patterns.
Are You Born With Bipolar Or Do You Develop It
Bipolar disorder is frequently inherited, with genetic factors accounting for approximately 80% of the cause of the condition. Bipolar disorder is the most likely psychiatric disorder to be passed down from family. If one parent has bipolar disorder, theres a 10% chance that their child will develop the illness.
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Warning Signs Of Bipolar Disorder
We all have ups and downs. But the steep climbs and sudden plunges of bipolar disorder can lead to life-threatening situations.
Shirley Rogerson thought her husband of 40 years was simply prone to dark moods. At other times, he was the life of the party, telling jokes that had everyone in stitches. But as years passed, his behavior became frightening. He threatened to kill himself and had hallucinations, says Rogerson, an author and library information specialist. Once, he saw visions of killing me and the dogs. Her husband was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
This serious mental illness affects about 6 million women and men in the U.S., according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance . And it can be harrowing and dangerous for people around them. In the manic phase, sufferers often dont think anything’s wrong. Theyre hyper-energized and brimming with confidence. But theyre not as invincible as they feel. Eventually, people almost always make a big mistake, such as a foolish investment or an ill-advised affair. When they realize what theyve done, they can crash into really bad depression, says psychiatrist Igor Galynker, MD, PhD, director of the Family Center for Bipolar Disorder at Beth Israel Medical Center, in New York City.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?This complex mental condition comes in various forms. These are the most common:
Paranoid Thoughts People With Bipolar Disorder Have The
Many people think that bipolar disorder is just a single illness and those who suffer from the disorder all react and feel the same way during an episode. However, there are many different types of bipolar disorder that display different signs and symptoms. People with bipolar disorder experience severe mood changes, however, exactly what the. Bipolar disorder is known to occur on a spectrum, says Wright. According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , there are four main types: * Bipolar I Disorder: When you.
To help them help me, I’ve created this handy list of three warning signs that someone is experiencing bipolar mania: 1. Not sleeping is a big indicator of bipolar symptoms. It’s important to. Bipolar disorder is an illness that affects how a person feels, thinks and acts. It is a sickness in the brain. When people have bipolar disorder, their brain works differently from the usual way. Our brains help us to think, feel and act in certain ways Dr. Scott Symington. Your pattern of thinking the thoughts you regularly invest inhas a big impact on your mood. Ever since the cognitive revolution of the 1950s and 1960s, it has been well established that certain reflexive ways of thinking about self and the worldsometimes referred to as cognitive errorsare a primary cause of depression
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What Is The Treatment For Mania Hypomania And Depression
You can check what treatment and care is recommended for bipolar disorders on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence website.
NICE produce guidelines for how health professionals should treat certain conditions. You can download these from their website at:
The NHS doesnt have to follow these recommendations. But they should have a good reason for not following them.
What medications are recommended?
Mood stabilisers are usually used to manage mania, hypomania and depressive symptoms.
The mood stabilisers we talk about in this factsheet are:
- Certain benzodiazepine medication
Mania and hypomaniaYou should be offered a mood stabiliser to help manage your mania or hypomania. Your doctor may refer to your medication as antimanic medication.
If you are taking antidepressants your doctor may advise you to withdraw from taking them.
You will usually be offered an antipsychotic first. The common antipsychotics used for the treatment of bipolar disorder are:
If the first antipsychotic you are given doesnt work, then you should be offered a different antipsychotic medication from the list above.
If a different antipsychotic doesnt work, then you may be offered lithium to take alongside it. If the lithium doesnt work you may be offered sodium valproate to take with an antipsychotic. Sodium valproate is an anticonvulsive medication.
Sodium Valproate shouldnt be given to girls or young women who might want to get pregnant.
Can A Bipolar Person Live Without Medication
Bipolar disorder is not curable, but there are many treatments and strategies that a person can use to manage their symptoms. Without treatment, bipolar disorder may cause unusual mood episodes. People with the condition may alternate between high periods, called manic episodes, and low periods, or depressive episodes.
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Patterns Of Depression And Mania
If you have bipolar disorder, you may have episodes of depression more regularly than episodes of mania, or vice versa.
Between episodes of depression and mania, you may sometimes have periods where you have a “normal” mood.
The patterns are not always the same and some people may experience:
- rapid cycling where a person with bipolar disorder repeatedly swings from a high to a low phase quickly without having a “normal” period in between
- mixed state where a person with bipolar disorder experiences symptoms of depression and mania together for example, overactivity with a depressed mood
If your mood swings last a long time but are not severe enough to be classed as bipolar disorder, you may be diagnosed with a mild form of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia.
Its Hard To Come To Terms With Having A Mental Illness
Even after a person learns they have bipolar disorder, it can be hard to accept the reality of it. Living with any mental illness can be really difficult and bipolar disorder has its own challenges. Sometimes people feel like if they reject the label of bipolar disorder, they can avoid some of those challenges. But bipolar disorder doesnt just go away if you ignore it.
The reality is that labels can actually set you free. Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder helps you understand what youre experiencing. It opens up treatment options that can help you feel better. And it puts you in good company with millions of other people around the world, many of whom have accomplished incredible things.
On the other hand, sometimes people who dont know any better use the word bipolar to describe someone who is actually just moody. Be careful pushing labels on people when youre not an expert yourself. If you think your friend has bipolar disorder, encourage them to see a mental health professional who can evaluate and diagnose them. You can also point them to our online bipolar test, which is an easier start than going straight to a professional.
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Patients: Don’t Stop Taking Your Medications On Your Own
Unless you’re having a severe side effect, you should never discontinue medications without your doctor’s supervision. Abruptly stopping some medications can cause serious side effects, too. For example, the reaction many people experience when they discontinue certain antidepressants is so unpleasant it even has a name: SSRI discontinuation syndrome. If you want to stop taking one or more of your medications, talk to your doctor first.
Does Bipolar Improve With Age
The prevalence of mania tends to decrease with age even more than depression. Mood symptoms in general decline with age, and the balance does shift more to depression. Its not that depression gets more common, its that mania declines even more. Its important to remember that those trends are averages.
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How Do I Get Help If I Think I Have Bipolar Disorder
The usual first step to getting help is to speak to your GP.
It can help to keep a record of your moods. This can help you and your GP to understand your mood swings. Bipolar UK have a mood diary and a mood scale on their website. You can find their details in the Useful contacts section at the bottom of this page.
Your GP cant diagnose bipolar disorder. Only a psychiatrist can make a formal diagnosis. Your GP may arrange an appointment with a psychiatrist if you have:
- depression, and
- ever felt very excited or not in control of your mood or behaviour for at least 4 days in a row.
They might refer you to a psychiatrist at your local NHS community mental health team .
Your GP should make an urgent referral to the CMHT if they think that you might have mania or severe depression. Or there is a chance that you are a danger to yourself or someone else.
Your GP should refer you to your local NHS early intervention team if you have an episode of psychosis and its your first one.
Bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose because it affects everyone differently. Also, the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be experienced by people who have other mental illness diagnoses. It can take a long time to get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
You can find more information about:
- NHS mental health teams by clicking here.
Is It Agitated Depression Or Dysphoric Mania
Judging from my own experiences with these episodes, as well as with my clients, its not difficult to tell the difference between agitated depression and mixed episodes, which I call dysphoric mania.
Dysphoric mania comes with very obvious manic changes in energy: The person will sleep less and not be tired. You will see changes in spending, sexuality, volume and speed of talking an inability to let others have opinions aggression, and/or risk-taking behaviors.
If its agitated depression, the person will still sleep or will be very tired if sleep is disrupted. Agitated depression isnt as physically energized as dysphoric mania. It doesnt have an increase in spending or sexuality, and the person will not be as physically aggressive as a person who is in a mixed state.
Another way to tell the difference is to look at the intensity of the symptoms. The symptoms themselves will be the same in each type of mood swing, but the intensity of the behavior will be much stronger in dysphoric mania than in agitated depression.
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At What Age Does Bipolar Disorder Most Frequently Emerge
Most cases of bipolar disorder commence when individuals are aged 1519 years. The second most frequent age range of onset is 2024 years. Some patients diagnosed with recurrent major depression may indeed have bipolar disorder and go on to develop their first manic episode when older than 50 years.
It Can Be Hard For Someone With Bipolar Disorder To Talk About It Openly
Id say the most frustrating thing is that I feel like I cannot admit to having to my employers. Instead, I just say I have a chronic illness, Joey, 41, who is diagnosed with both bipolar II and Asperger syndrome, tells SELF. If I had cancer, my ups and downs would be accepted and people would bring casseroles to my house instead of firing me.
Emma says that people without the diagnosis can also come off as uncomfortable discussing bipolar disorder. People are so afraid to just talk about it, she says. People also think that, if you’re open to sharing your story, that means you’re brave. But I didn’t ask for this. This is just my life, my reality. I have no choice but to manage it and fight it. Because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here.
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Try Not To Make Assumptions
It’s understandable that you might find yourself constantly on the lookout for signs that your friend or family member is starting a bipolar episode, but remember that this might not be the most helpful way to support them.
- Always keep in mind that it’s possible for anyone to have a range of emotions and behaviour while still feeling stable overall.
- Try not to assume that any change in mood is a sign that someone is unwell. If you’re not sure, talking to your friend or family member is the best way to check.
“If those around me are concerned about whether changes are symptomatic of relapse to ask, not assume.”
Here Is How This Young Man Describes His Mania Episodes
The mania part is awesome. I have tons of energy and dont want to stop.
The best part of mania is that Im so optimistic about everything. You could crash a car through my house and Id reply, What a great time to build something new! Im my most creative during this process, so Im doing as much as possible to capitalize on it. Artistic or constructive, Im up for anything.
I have the most fun running around and entertaining people, making them laugh, and acting like a big clown. I get a lot of satisfaction from the laughs and smiles I can get out of people. It makes me feel invincible.
Every morning I wake up ready to go, even if I didnt get much sleep the night before. I dont really need that much sleep, so I just go and go and do so much. I see all my friends, have a blast, get everything done on my to-do list, and more.
And do I talk. Im all over the place, dominating every conversation. Ive been told I talk too fast and switch topics so quickly that its hard for others to keep up with me. Sometimes I cant keep up with myself.
An upside to the mania is that my sex drive goes haywire. I crave a lot more sex during this period and sometimes its a bit much for my girlfriend.
During my mania, I feel like a god. I feel like I can do anything, so my self-worth skyrockets. I cant explain it, but when the mania burns out Ive got nothing left. Without the highs of mania, I wouldnt be able to tolerate the lows of depression.
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Causes Of Bipolar Disorder
The Leading Cause of Bipolar Disorder Is Not Known, but There Several Factors Which May Be Involved, Such As:
- Biological differences: People with bipolar disorder are said to have physical changes in their brains. The changes significance is still uncertain but might eventually help pinpoint the causes.
- Genetics: Bipolar disorder is most common in people who have a first-degree relative, such as a sibling or parent, that also have the condition. There is ongoing research to find genes responsible for causing bipolar disorder.
Mania Is Not Necessarily A Pleasant Experience
Many people assume that mania is always this great, fantastic place to bethis I can do anything type of experience, Dr. Marsh says. But mania can be really miserable or unpleasant for somebody.
You could still be experiencing depressive symptoms simultaneously, or you could feel agitated and angry while also feeling revved up, she explains.
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What Have You Learned As A Result Of Your Experiences
Living with bipolar, often for years, teaches you a lot about yourself, about mental health services, about medicationand sadly often about stigma, shame, and discrimination.
Id say for me it was a key driver for learning about mebut also a red herring as I feel I vested too much of my own identity in clinging to the life-raft of the diagnosis as an explanation of my life in my early 20sagain though, there are a range of perspectives:
Brian talks of the possibility of recovery:
Despite what others may tell you, or what you might believe, recovery is possible. I never thought I could be a worthwhile human being and have something meaningful to offer.
That’s just illness speak and the effects of learned stigma. It doesn’t need to be that way.
Anna points to learning about what is important in life:
I have learnt that I am more resilient than I could have ever imagined. I have discovered that there is more to life than getting a degree or a good job. I have learnt that I have amazing friends who never stopped believing in me, even when I couldn’t believe in myself.
Hannah draws on a theme park analogy to talk about assembling your team of helpers:
I feel like I’m riding a constant rollercoaster of moods. There are people who are too scared to come to the theme park, those that will hop on rides with you and those that watch sensibly in awe and sickness from a distance minding your bags.
All of those people have a valid and useful part to play in your life.