At this web site you can get help to learn about bipolarism, learn that you can live with this disease, you can have a relatively normal life if you follow the simple advice shown on this page. I also state that medical or doctors help is indictated.
Talk to me personally on Yahoo Chat (use handle roguesreview or alightstars).
Positive Imaging - Defeating Depression in your life
A lot people are ill informed about bipolarism as its not just a disease its a way of life that can be corrected in most cases. The fact is that some bipolars live on the fact they could be better but will not seek medical help or take the medications that will control the mood swings. Bipolars get a bad rap because they are not able to control the emotions and moods they feel. All the people around bipolars get effected. Perhaps this was a loving wife or girlfriend at another time and now all of a sudden seems out of control and doing weird things. Family members I suspect you may seem afraid or even scared but the truth is the majority of these bipolars can be helped.
I want all of you to know that the key to living a normal life is simple with this disease. You must do everything possible to control the "mania" element of this disease. Bipolarism formerly called manic depressive illness is like a seesaw of mental moods. The key is "Control the mania and you control the depression". There are many underlying issues with this disease that has to be addressed where people tsmoke marijuana or do other recreational drugs, this can be a ticking time bomb for nervous breakdowns or what is termed episodes.
Due to the increase of cases I have seen recently, I must give a proper warning. Bipolarism is being treated by many doctors with antidepressants normally classed as SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors-Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Prozac, and Luvox). The problem is they can increase mania and more chances for increased depression and suicide. I even find that use of them in conjunction with bipolar meds can cause problems. Now there are cases where depression is predominant but I think cases histories or keeping track of cycles can provide the best answers.
I also agree that on onset psychotropics/antipsychotics (Zyprexa, Haldol, Seroquel) can and should be used when necessary, but I am greatly concerned with long term use as per health conditions and side effects ( dyskinesia, seizures).
Finally please note the anti-suicidal properties found in lithium ref 1 ref 2
My Fight with Bipolarism or as it was known Manic Depresive Illness
People may think you are on drugs, or having a nervous breakdown. Given wrong medications can make you suicidal. However it may be manic depressive illness or bipolar disorder.
The truth is that it could be any one of these factors, however my main point is that someone can be taken to the hospital and diagnosed incorrectly. This happened to me for over 5 years and nearly destroyed me, physically, and mentally. The doctors misdiagnosed me from having a nervous breakdown, to having a drug problem. One time they had me pegged for being an alcoholic (I hardly ever drink), and being confused. You name it they called it everything but the right one, manic depressive. They even gave me the wrong drug medications.
Certain drug interactions also made me commit suicide twice. I never in all my life ever even thought of suicide. The doctors gave me medications that actually induced my condition to get worse. Think of it this way; pouring gas on a blazing fire instead of using water. Sure I survived but it left it's ugly mark on me forever. Perhaps one of the worse elements to my story was after being taken to the hospital, a regular office nurse (not a floor nurse) asked me if I was ever checked for manic depressive illness. I said no and shunned her (I thought it was a cancer or something worse than I had). I was locked in a mental ward of people with mental problems with no hope, only despair. I hated myself and my life.
I had been a most successful person in my line of work, but now I was off the wall. No I wasn't using drugs, nor had I ever harmed anyone. Yet I was being locked up like a criminal although I never touched or hurt anyone. I was jumped on by over 6-7 men and someone would stab me with a needle. Then the next day they load you up with haldol (antipsychotic, a drug of high-potency, strong tranquilizer) and other medications. You're like a zombie except you know what's going on but you're loaded with so many drugs you can't move. Ever have anxiety attacks? I never ever had them but now it was horrible. Even after being hospitalized I could not go into any crowded area , I would be in terror. Medications caused these problems and more! Getting horrible treatment and bad medical help can be deadly. What's really bad is that these special hospitals will keep you until they blow out every last dollar of insurance money that's available with your insurance carrier ( a regular medical hospitals won't! ).
The truth is that some of these institutions are mentally ill.
Finally after so many mental institutions and state hospitals , I went to a smaller local hospital. Guess what, after so many years of being and feeling like a mental idiot, one doctor gave me hope. A special man that stopped death from being my hunger. He diagnosed me for manic depressive illness . After that my only real contact with a doctors is to get my scripts for lithium and depakote for 3 months and get a blood test level a couple of times a year. That was nearly 20 years ago and the only time I feel bad is when I think of what happened in those 5 years of hell on me, my family, and those of my friends and co-workers that couldn't understand the real despair of this illness.
TODAY THERE IS BETTER TREATMENT
I HAVE INCLUDED A PAPER I WROTE AND TO MY KNOWLEDGE THERE ARE NEW ADVANCES WHICH I WILL DOCUMENT FURTHER INTO THIS PROJECT.
THERE IS HOPE AND LIGHT AT THE END OF
Yesterday you were feeling okay and
today you're feeling very happy, except your mind is floating on a million
different thoughts. You are having so many ideas that it's actually hard to
suppress the racing thoughts. You might even go to your bank and withdraw all
the money you have. You spend it in ten minutes on things you never would have.
You might even try to do things you couldn't see yourself doing two weeks ago.
You don't take time to eat properly. You find it difficult to sleep. Perhaps you
get one or two hours of sleep each night. You might even quit your job, or you
might take a week off for no reason What you may be experiencing is a manic
depressive episode or a bipolar disorder, as it sometimes called.
A bipolar disorder is a mood disorder in which the individual experiences erratic and unstable levels of mania and depression in their behavior. Mania can best be described as a euphoric and hyperactive state in which an individuals ability to make proper judgments and decisions is impaired by uncontrollable mental processes not fully understood in the human brain. Mania may be shown in many forms, including flighty ideas, rapid thoughts, an inability to concentrate as most dominate. Included as well are excesses that are not characteristic of an individual such as feelings of grandiose and inflated self esteem. For example an individual that is usually very conservative may get in his car and buy a new car without telling his wife even though they can not afford one. He Is unaware of the problems he's caused. Mania can be so heightened that a person can become totally delirious and irrational along with increasing psychomotor activity.
An incident or period of mania lasting
for more than one week will be considered an episode. Intervention of medical
treatment is very necessary at this point. Medical care may required for this
individual to be hospitalized by family, or by direction of a proper legal
authority to protect the individual from harming himself or others. Manic
episodes are characterized by the triad of unstable mood, pressured speech and
increased motor activity. Excessive and obsessive time can be spent on
pleasurable events, failing to eat, sleep properly, and tending to daily chores.
Another side effect of bipolar
disorder is depression. The effects range from sadness to suicidal tendencies.
Clinically depression is an overall feeling of sadness or despair that may begin
after some loss or tragic events but continues long after- ward. Inappropriate
thought patterns that generalize every event as a calamity. Depression may be
best described as a loss of interest in life. Signs include sleepiness,
lethargy, and a inability to cope with daily function (cooking, making a bed)
People that are severely depressed will often lose interest in their former
pursuits and hobbies. In general depression can also cause individuals to
withdraw from society and their own social support. Women are twice as likely to
have depression over men. 30% of bipolar individuals are noted as being
Bipolar-disorder was really first observed and written about by, Plato in Early Greece. This illness effects about 2.2 million people in the United States. The primary incidence of this disorder is during young adulthood and can be seen sometimes in adolescents. Unfortunately only about 1/3 of the population receive treatment, leaving 2/3 without proper adequate care. Untreated this illness has a 15% suicide rate. Lewis, 1996) The American Psychiatric Association manual "Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition' sets three definitions for bipolar illness (a fourth is a bipolar disorder that is not otherwise defined) as follows:
1.) BIPOLAR I .....usually one or more manic episodes and one or more episodes of major depression. Severe and heightened degrees of mania with swings to major depression. recurrent episodes. Onset is cyclic with recurrent episodes.
2.) BIPOLAR II ....usually one or more
hypomanic episodes with one or more episodes of major depression. This form of
mania is less exaggerated with a swing to major depression.
3.) Cyclothymic Disorder ....Many
hypomanic episodes and periods of depressive features that do not fit a
depressive episode. Usually considered a milder form of bipolar
Today we are fortunate to have three
major drugs, lithium carbonate, depakote, and tegretol, to combat the effects of
bipolar disorder, and a few other new ones. The later two drugs were previously
used for seizure disorders, and now are accepted by the Food and Drug
Administration. All of these drugs are most effective for the treatment of
mania. Proper doses of medication levels must be kept at all times to prevent
further episodes. This process is done by taking scheduled blood samples to
detect the therapeutic safe levels of drug administered. During the initial
stage of this treatment a proper serum level must be found that can keep the
illness in check without causing injury to other body organs (kidneys, etc.).
Once a level has been found it must be maintained and monitored on a regular
basis. Full body chemistry (CBC) and biochemical profiles (blood tests) must be
taken as well. Generally all of these drugs can take a week to two weeks to be
effective. These drugs must be monitored very closely, as they can cause some
severe side effects. For example Lithium's therapeutic level is close to the
toxic level in patients with bipolar illness. A common side effect is severe
diarrhea, thirst, and hand tremors. One study of patients using lithium found
that patients may quit or discontinue the use of a prescribed medication over
time. The use, monitoring, and effective treatment can best be achieved by
direct physicians care with medications (Harrow, et, al., 1990). These drugs
have been found to be 70% to 80% effective in treating acute mania, and 65% to
75% effective in prevention of further episodes.(Werder,1995,p 1129). The exact
nature of the mechanisms of action with these drugs is unknown. The activity
within the neurons of the brain, specifically the neurotransmitters are
effected-which generally slow or inhibit mental processes. All of these drugs
slow, or inhibit the mania activity within the brain. During initial or repeat
hospitalization, patients may also require antipsychotic drugs to control
thought processes using drugs like haldol or other medications to help the
patient regain better thought and mind control against mania episodes.
Many researchers believe that
bipolar-illness is a hereditary disease. Tracing the family histories of
bipolar-illness and depression can be seen to develop in future generations,
possibly skip a generation. One theory being pursued now is that bipolar illness
becomes more severe or has an earlier onset if it is directly passed down within
the family. A term that is used to describe this condition is called
"anticipation". Accordingly younger generations suffer more acutely from this
illness due to a change in the size of hereditary genes. Current research
studies are being conducted with elaborate chemical studies of the body using
deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA, and hereditary factors. DNA research has produced
some irregular results in testing and conclusive evidence. Many Researchers
today agree that a number of genes work together in a undetermined ways to
create a predisposition or likelihood to bipolar illness. One current study done
in Scotland followed a family that is multifunctional of 120 members. There are
11 members with the bipolar disorder and 16 members with major depression. Using
DNA testing the researchers were able to identify all the bipolar patients and
11 of the 16 depressive patients. This was done by observing the chromosomes or
substructures of DNA number #4. In another unrelated test tagging chromosome
#18, the results were able to identify 23 out of 26 patients that suffer from
bipolar illness. Test results are still inconclusive, but researchers believe
that cooperative results gathered by research teams will provide answers only if
researchers share information. Please note that these tests were done in remote
areas to have better control over all subjects involved in the test studies.
Although this disorder has been
treated to some degree, and can be considered a chemical imbalance problem, the
mechanics of this disease is not fully understood. Neurotransmitters are
chemical agents that change our thoughts and behaviors, and is where most drugs
are used to combat bipolar disorders. Lithium carbonate used to treat this
disease antagonizes the transmission of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine
and dopamine. Depakote inhibits the repetitive firing of cultured neurons. The
brain is over stimulated in the manic phase and needs to be controlled or slowed
down. The depressive side also needs to be addressed either with anti-depressant
drugs or Prozac and monitored for effect. Unfortunately the cycle of depression
usually lasts longer and can be very debilitating. Over the years I have
personally studied manic-depressive illness from a different level of expertise,
working as a volunteer in at outpatient facility.
Please note that I indicate antidepressants but I strongly suggest they be used very sparingly. This is my own recommendation, as the chemical effects and side effects sometimes overpower the original condition. Most people I talk to can use positive behavioral thinking which merely allows bipolar meds to work without interruption. I also believe it works at the problem, the recovery is hastened, and the bipolar cycle breaks down and stabilizes faster. Self esteem is also realized.
Something that is very unusual about people that have bipolar disorder, is that they are usually very talented. Some could play many musical instruments , artists, creative engineers, salesman, etc. Some of the most famous people in history are recorded as having manic depressive illness. I found people with extraordinary abilities for example in 1980 I was introduced to a man by the hospital staff of a Nobel Prize Winner. To my chagrin this proved to be true!
Unfortunately this illness seems to earmark women more than men, and it shows itself generally to young adults. Perhaps the worst part of this illness is that it can be misdiagnosed. The illness can make an individual look high on drugs, suffering from schizophrenia, possibly it might of even been called a nervous break-down. Life related stress and earlier tragic events are believed to help trigger mania. Even in past years of the over medication of patients, the real culprit wasn't found until, the improved diagnostic procedures of DSM-IV. The key elements to the treatment of this disease is for patients to take their prescribed dosages on a regular basis, and keep regular appointments with a psychiatrist to monitor illness. Most of all an individual needs to be honest with his doctor, his family, and himself about what he is feeling. We must remember that families are effected by the consequences of this disease which may require counseling for the patient and family members.
In 1977 I was Vice President of sales and then owner of a multi-million dollar business and sold large accounts. Then in the fall of 1977 the world as I knew it was gone and so was my future. I was hospitalized for a few months. For 5 years I was being treated for everything but bipolar disorder. I had other episodes. Finally in 1982 a doctor told me he suspected bipolar disorder and I was elated to know this illness was. Many years of lithium and depakote have kept me out of the hospital and allowed me to lead a very normal life....no mania and no depression. Visit the doctor only to get meds and a blood test occasionally ...that's it!
Thanks for the huge amount of letters and support. Combinations of lithium and depakote work great and besides controlling the disease also improve adult relations and family/social interactions. Two new drugs are being tested that are similar to depakote however I have few details on their effects. Final note ....If you are playing your own doctor ( * take your meds when you feel like it ) You are your worst enemy and are setting yourself up for an episode and possible hospitalization (lock up). You are what we call a " MANIC IN DENIAL ".
Get medical help and get better not only for yourself but for your loved ones. Your disease effects them and you have the power to change the outcome!
* Serum levels drop low and you are now a target for an episode.
Please note I am very active working with people as the letters I get indicate there are still many issues about bipolarism not addressed. One issue I run across is a bipolar that refuses to seek professional help and is out of control. Sometimes it becomes necessary to commit them to a hospital for treatment, which is difficult. I also see alcohol and drugs being used in lieu of proper medications. In both cases hard decisions must be made. There maybe a case of a wife that has to commit her husband or husband that commits his wife, or a child that must be as well. Here I can only say there is hardship for everyone. The one factor we must see is how we can help someone and change them to live better and be an integral member of our families. The bottom line is, one day we have to do an intervention and not look back. Nothing must change your mind to help.
For those of you that have not sought professional help, guess what ....it's not as bad you think. If you know and accept you need help the rest is easy. The testing can be done and meducations are not difficult as in other diseases. I suggest having a friend or family member to go with you, and go through the process with you. It's not difficult if you accept you need help and nothing to be ashamed of. You are worth so much!
Something you may never see anywhere else but still is so important to people with bipolarism , their families, family members, and their loved ones!
Bipolar people naturally suffer from both a manic side and depressive side, however inside that person is someone we used to love. Also a monster that changes that person to do dumb, wild, crazy and perhaps insane things. I have been there and I know the pain, suffering depression, agony, loneliness, and plain hopelessness, each of these folks have endured. Even after proper help many people will not forgive their behaviors. I challenge families to share as I do the hardship of each of these people. When they try to cry, most are unable to because there isn't a bowl big enough or small enough to the contain those painful tears. Cries without tears is the lonely mind distraught without hope or a shred of light. I still pray and think of all of my friends that have gone down this road. I will never forget any of them or most of all you. Families must pursue to nourish that person they once loved, instead of remembering the monster, as will find him or her better to face the world and they will be able to go forward.
I get a lot of mail from either wives or husbands that got along great two years ago but now their spouse is irrational and doing foolish things. You can recover your loved ones, I have seen it time and time again over many years. One woman was so off the wall she wanted a divorce from her wonderful husband and kids because she was out of control. She figured let them live and cast herself off as she was dying inside. After good treatment the last time I checked on them, they were loving each other and holding hands after many years of marriage. Don't any of you dare or even think of giving up, don't fail what I do by putting up this site. I believe in each of you and have faith that if you or your spouse, or a family member is in harms way , you will get help. All I ask to heal these people is your love, understanding, and faith things will be ok. And so will you!
I keep getting emails from folks that complain of mania, and others depression. While it is impossible to know all the details involved, some facts do seem to surface. I suspect that all to often non specific bipolar meds are being indicated (including anti-psychotics meds). These meds are short term and do not address the bottom issue of mania manifestation. I constantly have argued that where mania is present, longer term depression also prevails. Depression for example in my case was long standing, which meant that mania was not under proper control. Another effect is that while this continues the client gets more and more depressed, and is unable to face life properly, gets shut in, and removes our ability to function. You may note in even my own case (when I first started getting better), I found that taking an extra lithium every other day made me less depressive and more aggressive. I also noticed the depression was leaving me, and I was better able to concentrate on getting better. Please note serum levels still need to be checked here. My main point here is that sometimes adding a little more medication (could be every other day or every few days), changes your serum levels, and can change the way you feel. Under all circumstances check with your doctor, and use there counsel in these matters. The smallest changes in the amount of bipolar meds you use, can change the way you feel!
Presently I have gotten some information from many readers that are complaining of massive increases of mania type behavior from Prozac and Zoloft. These are anti type depressants in a class of themselves that I have monitored for some time. My best guess is at this time that these meds conflict with cycle changes that are always present even under proper medication for bipolarism. Please use care and caution with these types of medications! Doctors need to monitor people very closely with these meds., the dangers include suicide.
Bipolars look at yourself constantly! Keep a journal of how you feel and what meds you are taking with dosages. Learn to read yourself, are you getting sad.....check your notes. Did you change medications? When you felt good, did you suffer minor side effects? These are all keys to help you understand yourself. Notice when you feel positive and more outgoing with meds. Also note changes in daily medication values. This little journal can help you understand yourself. Do you ever feel manic? depressive? Know when you feel lousy. I always get a little worse around the fall for some reason, and have learned to cope with it, by making small adjustments. When you write little notes remember to be honest with just the facts. When you are going through tough times you can go back and see where you have been. What works and what doesn't, and suggest these changes to your doctor (they need your input here, so what better way than a journal).
Many readers complain about getting help for a loved one. Families and peer pressure is usually the best route....but so is love and understanding. You must tell them as much as possible about the disease so they will get help. If they understand what they are going through, and how the treatment isn't really all that bad, they will not be combative or afraid. Tell them and show them you will be with them all the way! Another way is to get some of their close friends and explain your problem. Let them know what you know, as they can help.
I need to know more input from readers on side effects from bipolar meds, for example I use depakote and lithium together as it seems to remove or lessen the gastric problems associated with using lithium. I want to start collecting side effects from readers and also any remedies or solutions to these side effects. Let me know when you write in. This I will use as a support database for the different bipolar meds, when readers write in we will have some other alternatives not listed anywhere to suggest.