FAQ - bipolar disorder
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How can you help someone with bipolar disorder?

I have a very good friend, who was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He goes into depressive funks every so often, usually resulting in him buying a lot of things that he doesn't want or need. I really want to be there for him, but whenever he has a depressing period he gets angry at me and tells me to go away. Does anyone have any experience in a situation like this? I want to be as supportive as possible.

Hello Alex ,

He is so lucky to have a friend like you. There is a lot to be done to help .First of all , educate yourself about this illness . The more you know about it , the better equipped you'll be to help your friend .
Try to be patient and do not take things personally when he gets very irritable and depressed . Try not to lose faith or get discouraged . You have to know that it is a serious illness but is treatable .
Your love and support can make a difference in treatment and recovery .
Did you try to find him a support group ? If not why don't you suggest it to him ? It is a great help especially if he is short on money or doesn't have health insurance because they are free .If he refuses , just try to find him an online support group. Check this out : www.bipolarsupportgroup.net , for a site run by bipolar persons.
Another important step is to accept your friend's limits . Knowing that he cannot control his moods , and that his illness cannot be defeated through self control , will power , will help you understand his mental condition and needs more .
It's important to know about your friend's medication and doctor , and alert his doctor to problems.

So , what can you say to help him ?
* you can tell him that he is not alone , and that you're here for him .
*you may not believe me now , but the way you're feeling will change .
*you are not the cause , it's not your fault .
*if you won't take your pills , it will get worse .

Last but not least , what can YOU do to yourself ? Taking care of a bipolar person can take a toll if you neglect your own needs . So , try to find a balance between helping him and taking care for yourself .
Be realistic about the amount of time and care you're able to provide without feeling overwhelmed .

Hope this helps. Take care of both of you .  (+ info)

What are the starting signs of bipolar disorder?

Does anyone know the beginning signs of bipolar disorder? And how it is linked to schizophrenia? Do the two go hand in hand?
You obviously have never been in a room where your own Mother couldn't tell who you were. Or when she was convinced on a road trip to Ohio that she saw knights on white horses trotting on the interstate, or how about when she yelled at the man in the line at wal-mart because he was "reading her mind"

You're a jerk. As far as ICD-9 codes go, I know how to use them thanks! I do work for a doctor and you are misinformed! Thanks come again.

Bipolar disorder is most often first diagnosed during a manic episode. Mania has a lot of different signs/symptoms. For example, most manic people feel energized, feel little need for sleep. Other signs are: inflated/grandiose self-image, delusions/hallucinations, reckless/impulsive behavior (spending lots of money, promiscuous sex, etc.), racing thoughts, extreme irritability. There are more. It is often misdiagnosed because bipolar people are more likely to seek help while depressed and not while manic. Once a manic episode has been established or observed and there is also a history of depression, the person can be properly diagnosed and medicated.

There is another mental illness called schizoaffective disorder which is basically when a person has traits of both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. There are many people with schizophrenia who do not experience the mood disturbaces of a bipolar person. There are also many bipolar people who don't experience the same psychotic symptoms as a schizophrenic. So, they don't always go hand-in-hand.

Hope that helps!

P.S. Don't let idiotic and ignorant comments get to you! Most people who say those things are just too self-righteous to open their eyes and see mental illness for what it is: A MEDICAL PROBLEM (just like cancer).  (+ info)

What are ways to deal with bipolar disorder without medication?

My meds are running out and I don't have insurance because I just moved to a new state and I don't have any money to get insurance so I was wondering, what are ways to deal with bipolar disorder without being on meds? Is there any way possible that I can control my moods without being on medications?

You need to be on your medication. Contact your local MHMRA (mental health mental retardation association) . It should be listed in your phone book. They will have programs available to assist you with obtaining medication at little or no cost depending on your income.

Trying to control your moods without medication is useless. When you are in a manic state, you won't be aware of the poor judgment and poor impulse control that you will experience. This will lead to problems that you don't want to have to deal with.

You can also call 1-800-784-2433. They have trained counselors available 24/7 who can help you find resources in your local area.

Good luck and remember you are worth the time, energy and money it will take to treat your disorder for a healthy future.

Tex  (+ info)

Are there any herbal remedies that work for bipolar disorder?

I know that there are some that are recommended for depression - St. John's Wort, for example - but do these remedies run the same risk as antidepressants for people with bipolar - that is, do they make them manic? (Please bear in mind that I have already had that reaction to an antidepressant, so I might be susceptible to it).

Are there any herbal remedies that are safe and recommended for people with bipolar disorder?

Yes, the most common ones are St. John's Wort, Valerian, and Chamomile, which is also used for folks sensitive to St. John's Wort.

Not herbal - but I've heard acupuncture works as well.

I haven't been able to find any information on herbal remedies causing manic episodes - but I wouldn't think so, since they don't work the same way as antidepressants. Just be mindful of drug interactions.  (+ info)

Do people with bipolar disorder have hallucinations after having general anesthesia?

I am diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I am having my wisdom teeth taken out next week and they will have to put me to sleep and I heard that bipolar people have hallucinations after having general anesthesia. Is this true? If your bipolar and have had similar experiences, what was it like?

I've had two general anesthesias in the middle of a really manic period and never had any hallucinations.  (+ info)

How can I tell my friends I have Bipolar disorder?

Hi I am 13 years old,male and recently found out I have Bipolar disorder(Bipolar 2) and I want to know how to tell my friends so they understand why I am the way I am.
I have told two of my close friends but I want to tell my other friends.
Also how has Bipolar disorder affected you and your life if you have it.

Thank you for your time,I appreciate it.

**Also please do not answer with question with another question.

It's not like you have the plague. It's a chemical disorder.I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (G.A.D.'s the cute name..ha) My moods were all over the place too. Up, down,mad, sad, happy, ansy, fatigued, and depressed. I could fit all those moods in an hour sometimes. The mood disorder hampered my life internally mostly and very few actually saw my psychotic side. I was good at hiding it. But I had alot of practice since I didn't see a doc about it till my early 40's. I'm on antidepressants which help with the lack of seratonin I had goin' to the ole brain. I miss the manic part where I felt like I could stay busy like a meth head for days on end with little sleep, but don't miss the downer side where I felt like I wanted to climb in a dark closet in a fetal position. But I am feeling good and normal, tho I don't think I knew what normal was.It seems to be a genetic thing for the ladyfolk in our family. My gramma, my aunt (who overmedicates and has tin foil wallpapering her ceiling, so "they" don't hear her thoughts), my mom who has every ailment known to man and has every test doctors will allow whether the testing tubes go down the throat or up the butt..ha), my sis, (an alcoholic: her med of choice), my daughter, and now her 6 year old who may be bipolar also. Her biological father is bipolar. Actually, quite a few of my friends are bipolar. We can swap quirks and laugh at each other and our moods-a-plenty. Don't be embarrassed, it's not that big of a deal. And it's manageble, unlike the plague!  (+ info)

How can I tell the difference between Bipolar Disorder and PMS/puberty?

I think I have Bipolar Disorder but I'm really not too sure. I went to a 'Bipolar Disorder symptoms' page and found that nearly all of them matched me. Only 3 didn't, and they may have cause I didn't fully understand what they meant.

if its pms you will only feel the symptoms while on you period. if you have the symptoms constantly then it could be bipolar. go and talk to your doctor though. try not to self diagnose your self, that could just make you nervous.  (+ info)

Can a misdiagnosis on bipolar disorder occur even after numerous tests and doctors?

Like could there be possibly nothing wrong or if 2-3 doctors diagnose you for bipolar disorder after running their tests and evaluation, is it too likely it really is bipolar disorder or there a chance its nothing?

And lets say the bipolar disorder is misdiagnosed, there is likely a chance its something as serious right? Like theres no possible way its really nothing right?

How do I deal with being bipolar, maybe im in denial....

It is very unlikely that they are wrong after 2-3 opinions and tests. Diagnoses can be difficult to accept. It is not your fault. I would ask your Dr. if there are any support groups in your area if you are not already aware of them,  (+ info)

Why do people with bipolar disorder have a hard time controlling their emotions?

Why do people with bipolar disorder have a hard time controlling their emotions?

Whooaaa, alright, I think we need to strand apart "emotions" and "mood." An emotion is something you feel right here and now. A mood is a pervasive, enduring feeling that lasts for quite some time, still allowing for different emotions. For example, someone can be in a depressed mood and still laugh if someone tells a funny joke.
It is a common misconception that people with bipolar disorder are happy one minute and sad the next. In truth, you need to be experiencing the symptoms of a major depressive episode as the DSM defines it, which goes on for at least 2 weeks. You also need to experience the manic episode for at least 1 week. Even considering this, people still cycle much slower than 2 weeks depressed-1week manic-2 weeks depressed. A "rapid cycler" has 4 or more episodes in an entire year, which means that many people with bipolar disorder cycle even much slower than that!

As far as someone with bipolar disorder having trouble controlling their depressed and manic episodes, the leading theory on the cause of bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain affecting seretonin and dopamine levels. The idea is that if you have too little seretonin, you'll feel depressed and too much dopamine will lead one to feel euphoric, impulsive, etc. While certain kinds of behavioral therapy can have physical effects on the brain, cognitive-behavioral therapy, to my knowledge, has had no success controlling the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain when it comes to bipolar disorder. These neurotransmitters are very powerful, basically "control" mood, and take the controlling out of the person's hands. While a person with bipolar disorder can learn ways to control manic depressive behaviors such as self injury, irritability, impulsive spending, etc, significantly changing their mood is very difficult without the help of psychotropic medication.

Now, if someone with bipolar disorder is having a hard time controlling their emotions, it could be for one of several reasons. When people are in a manic or depressed episode, either mood episode is characterized by extreme irritability. This irritability can look like someone being just fine, and then going off and yelling seconds later for little to no reason.
Also, it is not uncommon for bipolar disorder to be comorbid (occurring with) borderline personality disorder. This personality disorder is actually characterized by difficulty controlling emotions. People suffering from this disorder may feel every emotion very intensely beyond any rational, making it hard for them to control their feelings or behave appropriately. They also tend to be very impulsive, which only adds to this difficulty.

I hope this helps!  (+ info)

What type of therapy works well for bipolar disorder?

I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and would like to know what the best type of therapy is. Does anyone know of therapy or anything that might help?

To start with you'd need to take meds & be stabilised for a long time before thinking of therapy. As you know bipolar is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, NOT a psychological disorder, so therapy in the beginning isn't necessary, or, desirable. Psychotherapy later on may be helpful in controlling & managing moods. CBT or DBT are not really as helpful, unless you also have borderline personality, which is psychological in origin. Bipolar needs meds first, then, when stable, consider therapy. But instead of asking us, ask your psychiatrist, they'll know if & when the time's right, & what therapy, if any, is most suited to you.  (+ info)

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