Before I start, I just want to say that I don’t suffer from Bipolar disorder and I am not a therapist or psychologist in any way. What I am is deeply interested in spreading awareness about mental health and hopefully bring you information that might be valuable to someone. These ten questions I have answered (as best I can through research) are ten of the most commonly asked questions about Bipolar disorder and I have kept the answers in terms most of us can understand rather than medical bibble-babble…
Question 1: How Do I know if I am Bipolar?
This might sound like a simple question, but it really isn’t as straight forward as you might think as there are many other mental health illnesses that feature the same signs. The most basic of diagnosing you can do is to ask yourself how intense these mood swings are and how long do they last? If you do show signs of suffering Bipolar disorder the answers might be VERY intense and they last days or weeks at a time. While this is no guarantee at all that you do indeed have Bipolar disorder it is the main signs to be aware of.
Question 2: What Causes People to Get Bipolar?
Sadly there is no single “cause” or way you can suddenly develop a Bipolar disorder. While some of the most common causes are family members suffering from it (see here for more information) some sort of brain injury or even something as straight forward as stress, significant loss or a traumatic event! Sadly those are the most common, but other people with Bipolar disorder seemingly have no trigger points at all (that they are aware of anyway).
Question 3: What Medications Should I be on if I am Bipolar?
When it comes to drug treatment it really is a game of finding the right type for each person as well as the right dose for them. The most common medications prescribed are Lithium carbonate (used to treat and prevent episodes of mania in people with bipolar disorder), Anticonvulsants (commonly known as antiepileptic drugs or antiseizure drugs) and Antipsychotics (also known as neuroleptics or major tranquillizers) you will need to be 100% honest with your doctor as to what you are feeling, noting any side effects as well as the time of day you are suffering the most. Sadly this is one area that takes time to perfect.
Question 4: Is There a Cure for Bipolar Disorder?
Sadly this is not something that will ever be cured, but it is something that people can learn to live with. Even though you will need lifelong treatment with medication and therapy you can live a normal, happy life even if you do still get those manic down days.
Question 5: Should I be Seeing a Therapist Who Specialises in Bipolar Disorder?
The truth is there is no one single therapy route you can go down with Bipolar disorder. Most good therapists will be able to help you with managing your depressive states and help you remain as calm as possible in your manic joy filled ones, but it is far more important to feel comfortable with the therapist you are using. Even if they are not specialised in Bipolar Disorder they should be able to guide you through the crazy times with their advice and knowledge.
Question 6: If I think I might Have Bipolar Disorder What Should I do?
While it seems pretty obvious you should tell a doctor of your thought you should also tell as many friends and family members as you can because their support, guidance and words of wisdom will help you much more in the early days than you might think. You need to get diagnosed as soon as you can and sadly with the current state of most mental health that might mean you will have to do your own research for the area you live in, then go from there. The key thing to remember is to keep talking to people about your thoughts and problems.
Question 7: Will I have Bipolar Disorder if My Parents Do?
It could be one parent or both of them, but the truth is you stand a much higher chance of getting it than people without a close family relative that suffers from bipolar. But…this doesn’t mean for sure you will suffer from it as many times it will skip one or several generations of family members. To be honest, it isn’t all bad if you do have a family member going through the same thing as you are as their past experience with it can be your current best advice.
Question 8: How Bad Can Bipolar Disorder Be?
This is sadly a question you really don’t want to Google, but it is still one of the most asked questions relating to Bipolar disorder. Any person with this disorder will tell you it can be the worse thing you will ever go through when you are in one of the manic or depressive states. Even if you ask someone who has learned to live with it and they will probably tell you the same thing, but also tell you that they have learned to live with being bipolar and that also means you can as well. The is one of those questions that is best not Googled as it will only create an echo chamber around what you were thinking in the first place. Talk to Facebook groups, Bipolar blogs or even just a family member who has it. That way the advice you get told should be the 100% truth even if it is not something you want to hear.
Question 9: Can I be Sectioned For Having Bipolar Disorder?
While most people who have Bipolar disorder will never be sectioned there are sadly some who will, especially when in a low point. It all depends on how early you spot the signs of having it and the types of treatment you get. It is those ultra-low points of depression that often sees people sectioned for their own good, but with a good support network, it shouldn’t be something you will need to worry about.
Question 10: Do I Have to Take Bipolar Medications For The Rest of my Life?
This will all depend on how strong you can be mentally and the strength of your close support network. The drugs you will be given are not there to control you, they are there to help you survive those highs and lows by nubbing the mind a little. But yes, with supportive friends and family and a good mental state you can learn to live with it without the need for chemical medication. But this is something to discuss with your local doctor and do make sure you are 100% truthful with your feelings throughout this process.
While these are some of the most common questions I am sure there are many, many more people will have. As I have said before in this post the key thing to remember is to keep talking to people even if that is just friends and family, but especially your local therapist or doctor if you have access to one.