1) Yes, certainly. Bipolar disorder is a serious psychiatric condition. Not only can it cause a lot of emotional suffering, but sometimes there's a risk that the person may harm themselves (either as a result of suicidal or self-destructive feelings during the depressive phase, or as a result of unrealistic behaviour during the manic phase).
Treatment doesn't necessarily have to mean medication (although that's important for many people with bipolar disorder), but an accurate diagnosis and proper support are vital.
2) You might find http://www.dbsalliance.org/ useful. But to be honest, if you think you might be bipolar, you need to go to your doctor and ask to be referred to a psychiatrist or someone else who can make a proper diagnosis. Trying to self-diagnose and self-treat is just not smart.
I'm new to this site but i am majoring in psychology to become a psychiatrist and I can tell you if you don't get treated then your condition will worsen into a pschosis state in which will require hospitalization and probabaly a prescription to Lithium which can cause uncontrollable twitching and other problems. Check the NIMH website for more info
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If you are majoring in psychology, then you should know that there's no rule that untreated bipolar disorder will automatically develop into psychosis!
Some people with severe bipolar disorder do experience psychotic states, but many never do.
And while lithium (which is one of the medications which may be used for bipolar disorder) can have serious side-effects, "uncontrollable twitching" is not one of them, to the best of my knowledge.
In fact, if someone on lithium does develop muscle twitching, it's a sign of overdose.
Please take care to ensure that the information you post is accurate; misinformation and scare stories don't help anyone. And if you are hoping to become a psychiatrist, then you will certainly need to have your facts straight.
1) as logic stated, untreated bipolar can cause emotional & physical harm for the person who has it & those round them. in addition, if not treated the symptoms tend to worsen and episodes tend to become closer together and/or longer in length. simply: it gets worse over time.
I have recently been thrown into the realm of mental disorders. My partner is in the process of being diagnosed as being bipolar. It is a lengthy processes. A diagnosis of bipolar is not made in one little visit to the doc, it can, apparently only be made a psychiatrist, and requires a lot of 'looking back in the past'. In the last 2 months, I have made my rounds to emergency departments (all emergency departments, at least in Ontario) have a psychiatrist on call. The mental health system is a mess, it takes months to get a psychiatrist. My partner was hospitalized for nearly 2 weeks when he was suffering from hypo-mania (bordering on full mania). He has since, despite lithium (lithium is the drug of choice but there are other mood stabilizers if lithium doesn't work or has too many side effects) and an anti-psychotic, cycled into depression. It's an effect of the mania, his body is worn out. Although other factors come into play. Even on lithium, one is still prone to cycles.
There are 5 types of bipolar, I can't name them all, sorry. He has had to forfit the rest of his semester to concentrate on getting better. I went from know nothing about bipolar at the beginning of October, to knowing a heck of a lot now.
You can have an episode of mania, and never have another, that is not bipolar. You don't need to ever suffer from depression to have bipolar. And I was told by my partner's in-hospital psychiatrist, that someone who truly has bipolar will only cycle more frequently, and more severely if left untreated. Like schizoprenia, it is mostly a late teen/early adulthood illness. Lithium has many side effects, it is toxic. One side effect, actually is tarditive dyskenisia (sp?), which is sorta like muscle twitching. It can be permanent, but usually goes away if the lithium is stopped or lowered. It's therapeutic range is 0.5-1.4. Below that, it isn't doing any good, above that, it is toxic. It is a narrow index, so continual montoring (via blood work) is essential. If a diagnosis of bipolar is made (which is pretty much guaranteed) he will most likely never go off his lithium (short of a medical breakthru). His lithium has left him with a few side effects, which he is learning to deal with. It's important to stress, that once medicated properly, people suffering from bipolar can lead perfectly normal lives. Complince (continuing to take the medication) is a problem with people with mental illness though.
Watching my partner go through this has been the hardest time of my life. Committing him to the psych ward when he was manic was super hard. I have cried so much, and worried about money like you wouldn't believe. One of the symptoms of mania is uncontrolled spending. My partner's credit card will attest to that!
My experience, and it is just that mine, has been that it is pretty obvious when someone is hypomanic, let alone manic. My partner said he had 200 hamsters running around in his head. He kept journals of his thoughts, he wrote upwards of 20 pages of thoughts a day! He slept maybe 2 hours a day, and didn't need more. He loved his manic self, he thought he was more productive, and more insightful. He resisted being hospitalized tooth and nail, but now he realizes he was sick. He remind me of someone on some kind of 'speed' (is that term even still used nowadays?)
As much as I can never understand what he is going through, he will never understand what I am going through. I now worry about our son. At least I can look for teh signs. No one ever knew to look for the signs in my partner, until he had cycled to such an extent that he need hospitalization.
Wow, this is long, I should totally sleep now! I must say though, it feels great to get it off my chest.
So the anti-depressants they put my partner on is starting to make him manic. I am noticing the little things, I fear bigger symptoms will follow. They told him they don't like to put people on lithium on anti-depressants cause it can make them manic, but he was suicidal, so there wasn't really any choice. Now, some 4 weeks later, I am starting to notice it. He is too, he went off his antidepressants (his psychiatrist told him too as soon as he started to feel better). I feel that once he starts cycling into mania, there is gonna be no stopping him. I feel like I am on a really bad roller coaster and I can't get off. I can't imagine what he is going through.
Getting him his own psychiatrist is like trying to revive the dead. Everyone is willing to help him (with referrals only) while he is sick, no one cares to monitor him when he is better, or help him to deal with his traumatic childhood. I have visions of being 50, and still having to drag him to emergency rooms when he cycles. Although he isn't supposed to cycle on lithium, it is apparently not a rare occursence.
I am trying hard not to feel sorry for myself for having to deal with everything. I know he is going through worse, but sometimes i wonder why I was chosen to be thrown into this mess. I know my partner wonders the same thing.
Try to hang in there. I know it's tough for both you and your partner, but try to hang in.
I've worked in a psychiatry office before and if I learned one thing about mental healthcare, it's that nothing gets better overnight. Especially when it comes to medicating. Sometimes it can take many months to get the medication levels right and for them to work at an optimal level. I know that's probably not terribly comforting right now, but I want you to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel here. It can take quite a while for your partner's body to really get used to the meds and for his doctors to find the right levels and combinations for him.
A family is bipolar. SHe has a really severe case too. She used to stay in bed for weeks and not talk to anyone. The problem with her was mostly that she didnt take her meds when she was feeling better. I've heard that thats a pretty common problem. Last we heard from her famliy she ran off south somewhere and left her husband and 2 kids behind.
For anyone needing to know more about bipolar disorder (or just interested), can I recommend Kay Redfield Jamison's fantastic book "An Unquiet Mind"? She's one of the world experts on bipolar disorder, and several years ago "came out" as being bipolar herself.
The book covers her own experiences both as a psychologist and as a patient, and discusses issues like lithium and why so many people with bipolar disorder quit taking their meds against medical advice.
I know a lot of people with mental illnesses go off their meds. I don't think my partner will though. That was an advantage of being committed. He was hospitalized with several people who went of their meds, and saw how much they lost. One guy lost his kid and girlfriend. They had restraining orders out on him. He told me he realizes how much he has to loose by not taking them.
thanks for the book logic_grrl, I shall take it out.
quote:Originally posted by logic_grrl: For anyone needing to know more about bipolar disorder (or just interested), can I recommend Kay Redfield Jamison's fantastic book "An Unquiet Mind"?
This is an *excellent* book!
I'm a Nursing Student, and I'm planning on making Psych my specialty. I did a presentation on Bipolar Disorder for a class and mentioned this book as an excellent way to understand both sides of the issue - from a patient's POV and the Doctor's.
Another thing that I like about it is that it's a testament to how mental illness doesn't have to hold you back.
quote:Originally posted by surfer_boy_24_7: i am majoring in psychology to become a psychiatrist
I just want to point out the difference between Psychology and Psychiatry -
A Psychology major gives you a degree in PSychology. After earning a Ph.D, you become a Psychologist, which is someone who treats psychological disorders with psychotherapy. A Psychologist studies the mind in its abstract form, and does not prescribe medication.
Psychiatrists are doctors (with an M.D.)who have comepleted medical school and have decided to specialize in treating mental illness. Psychiatrists treat mental illness as a physical affliction, caused by imbalances in the brain. They can prescribe medication because they are doctors.
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