Rebuilding Life after Bipolar
It took a while for the doctors to figure out brett's diagnosis. And unfortunately that's not unusual on average. It takes about ten years and three visits to mental health professionals to arrive at a correct diagnosis of bipolar disorder. When bipolar i comes on it might look like depression or even -iety or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Adhd the telltale manic episodes might not start until later or they might be mild as in hypo mania and easily forgotten. Because they didn't cause much of a problem drug use can also confused the picture as it did for. Brett brett was using drugs before his first episode so the doctors were hopeful that it was just a bad reaction to drugs would go away but when his third episode came on without any drug use. That's when he was finally told about the diagnosis. Because you told me that it was the marijuana that was causing this stuff up completely and then seven years later had another episode. One of the psychiatrist. I saw right out of the gate said one hundred percent of people who don't take their medication will have future episodes as sad and depressed in infuses. I was like that stuck with me. Because now i've had three episodes. I have a medical professional saying. Just here this inside. Thank the core mind. Higher recovery was like. I'm going to take medication. If i don't take the medication. Pretty much setting myself up for another another one of these sexologist will turn dangerous and terrible yet. Then there's the competitive side where it's like okay. Well i'll be the first one that doesn't have to take medicine. Then you start to think all right. Well maybe i can lower my dosage and still taking him you know you start to try to find ways to kind of hat system and then eventually you realize no matter how hard i try. Medicine is going to be medicine. I can do these other things. Which are i do have a routine and maintaining that but it just at a certain point it was clear lives just of let go. Just let the heart of your life now. It feels like something. That's a part of me but not all those my identity. Ten years is too long to wait to get an accurate diagnosis. And there are things you can do to speed up the process. This one sounds simple but actually a paper and pencil rating scale is very helpful in making the diagnosis. Google mood disorder questionnaire for popular one or go to mood. Treatment center dot com forward slash measurement. You can also ask a family member to fill out one of those for you as they may see your symptoms from a different viewpoint. Just make sure though that you haven't had an argument with them prior to them filling it out. Do try and find out as much as you can about any psychiatric problem. That might run in the family. Families don't often talk about all this but you can still learn a lot even if you don't know their exact diagnosis. Did anyone have signs of depression and mania that will misunderstood his anger addiction or personality problems. Polar disorder tends to run in families and it's caused by a mixture of genes environment. There's not just one gene for bipolar. There are several dozen and it's not fair to even call them bi polar jeans because these genes do a lot else and they can do a lot of good people with bipolar disorder to tend to have strengths there more extroverted. Warm friendly go getters. They're more creative natural leaders and tend to have greater verbal abilities. And we know that those strengths come from the same genes. That bring bipolar. Because we've measured those strikes not just in people with bipolar but in their relatives who didn't develop the disorder. So what happens that can change these genes from going in a good direction or a more destructive one. It's how they mixed with the environment these genes don't even 'cause bipolar unless they get turned on or activated by certain stresses in the environment. Here some of the top stressors that can flip these genes the wrong way. One drug use including recreational drugs like cocaine or marijuana to stress particularly a lot of intense fighting in the family three medical problems especially infections that affect the brain or head injuries and for anything that disrupts sleep including shift work electronic light at night or travel across two or more time zones. Actually most of those stressors can cause any mental illness but the last one sleep disruption is the one that's pretty unique to bi polar is see the main genes that caused by polar are the same ones that program the body's internal clock or circadian rhythm the circadian rhythm keeps mental and physical functions like sleep appetite concentration and energy running smoothly on a twenty four hour clock so that we sleep at night. Wake up in the morning and feel alert and motivated during the daytime when we need to. Those functions are also the symptoms that breakdown during bipolar disorder. Mania revs up energy motivation and physical and mental speed and turns down sleep so that people keep going even on four hours of sleep. Depression turns down or depresses energy concentration and motivation during depression muscles. Move more slowly and time feels like it stretches on forever. Appetite can go up or down during these states. Many of these symptoms are similar to what we see during jetlag and bipolar and jetlag have the same biological cause a breakdown in the body's internal clock as a doctor. I often find myself frustrated with this word. Bi polar because it doesn't do a very good job of capturing what it's like to have this disorder bipolar means to polls mania and depression. But people with this disorder live with other polls that 'cause pretty significant problems there polls like mick states. This is where mania and depression collide creating intense anxiety physical tension and agitated irritable depression. There's also the cognitive poll bipolar can make people have concentration problems. They look a lot like a st even when they are not in a mania or depression for better or worse the medical term for all this is polar but i for the word fragile circadian rhythm disorder. That word tells you more about the cause and it points you toward a solution when we say that bi polar is like a severe form of jet lag. It's not just an analogy. One of the top triggers of mania and depression is flying across to one more time zones because the sudden shift in sleep. Sunrise and sunset takes toll on an already fragile circadian rhythm. I ought to know. I used to be a flight attendant. So if your circadian rhythms fragile what can you do to take care of it. The answer is to do some simple things at the same time each day. Things like exercise meals daily routines turning the lights down at night and most importantly getting out of bed at a regular time. All of those things helped set the body's internal timekeeper and when people get into those regular rhythms. They have half as many episodes of mania and depression.