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Do People with Bipolar Disorder Get Worse with Age?

This post was written by David Oliver on October 29, 2008
Posted Under: Daily Bipolar Disorder Message

Hi,

How’s it going today?

What a day for me yesterday.  I barely got one thing accomplished.

It snowed yesterday and nobody knew it was going to. NOBODY was prepared.

The roads were not plowed or salted.

I tried to drive to just a few places and the traffic was massive. There were car crashes, trees that fell down, cars stuck in the road, etc.

It took 2 hours to drive something that should take 20 minutes.

The snow was so heavy it knocked down tons of trees.

Anyway, the power went out as well. I tried to drive to a library so I could get some work done.

Guess what? Every library I could get too either had a tree that blocked the road leading to it or it closed for the day.

I found one library out towards Pennsylvania.

It was in an elementary school.

I wound up doing my work in a library that had desks that were two feet tall.

I sat next to a bunch of kids with little coloring books and lunch boxes.

One kid asked me if my laptop bag was a lunch box.

I said, “no it’s not.” He insisted it was and that his mom get him one : )

If you are wondering why I couldn’t just work off my lap top battery well it only works for like 1 hour and then it goes dead.

Anyway, that was my day.

I saw a post on my blog from Jeannie:

She wrote:

“It seems to me the older a person with bipolar gets, the more it steals.  I have dealt with a lot of diseases disorders and illness being in the health care field, but this is the mot mind boggling disorder I have ever come to witness.  It is heart wrenching.  You wish with all your heart that the person could find complete calm for one day, one hour, one min.”

——————————————————————-

Everyone who works for me has their bipolar disorder getting BETTER with age.

People who were riddled with episodes, suicide attempts, multiple marriages, multiple jobs are finding themselves completely stable and not going to the hospital for years.

WHY?

Well, it’s a system.

I want to dispel this myth about bipolar disorder getting worse, because I think it doesn’t have to as long as you have a system.

That’s what my courses/systems are all about – having systems that help you to manage and control your bipolar disorder so that it doesn’t get worse, it gets better!

SUPPORTING AN ADULT WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER?
Visit:
http://www.bipolarsupporter.com/report11

SUPPORTING A CHILD/TEEN WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER?
Visit:
http://www.bipolarparenting.com

HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER?
Visit:
http://www.survivebipolar.net

Anything gets worse if you don’t take care of it.

If you didn’t take care of your car, it would get worse, wouldn’t it?

If you didn’t make repairs to your house, it could fall apart around you!

If you caught the flu and didn’t take care of it, it could turn into pneumonia.

If you had an infection and didn’t take care of it, it could turn into something worse.

So I don’t think it’s that bipolar disorder gets worse with age.

I think it’s that if you don’t take care of it, it can get worse. No matter what your age.

You take care of your car.

You take care of your house.

You take care of your belongings.

You take care of your family.

You take care of your physical health.

And you have systems for each of these.

You check the oil in your car to keep it running right.

You have termite inspections on your house.

You take care of the things you own so that they don’t break.

You do the things you need to do to take care of your relationships, because if you didn’t see them or call them, it would damage those relationships.

You see your doctor for regular checkups to keep you healthy.

You go to the dentist for regular cleanings on your teeth so you can keep them.

These are systems.

Why wouldn’t you do the same for your bipolar disorder?

No matter the age, the people who are stable and successful with their bipolar disorder have SYSTEMS.

They have learned how to manage their disorder just like you would manage your car or any of the other things I mentioned.

Only isn’t your mental health more important than the vehicle you drive?

If your car gets old, you can trade it in.

You can’t trade in your mental health if it gets worse.

On the other hand, with a good system in place, your bipolar disorder can only get better, NOT worse, as time goes on!

What do you think? Does bipolar get worse with age?

FIND OUT WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT ME
Visit: http://www.bipolarcentral.com/testimonials

David Oliver is the author of the shocking guide “Bipolar Disorder—The REAL Silent Killer.” Click Here to get FREE Information sent via email on how and why bipolar disorder kills.

Reader Comments

Post responses below

#1 
Written By davidoliver on October 29th, 2008 @ 7:44 am

Hi,

my son was diagnosed with rapid cycling Bipolar and I just don’t know what to do, he stoped the Lithium saying he will turn in batery.
I also think he might have Bordeline personality disorder rather than Bipolar but 3 doctors said oposite as well.
If he got BPD and not Bipolar should be taking psychotic meds (Lithium)
Hana

#2 
Written By Hana on October 29th, 2008 @ 8:04 am

I know when it is women who have bipolar, they actually seem to be more stable with age. A lot of what effects a younger woman’s moods are her hormones. Ever live with a teenage girl? You see my point. As a woman’s menstral cycle settles into a regular pattern you can pretty much map your moods. When menopause hits, and you no longer have a period every month, I’ve found that the lack of the estrogen cycle is actually very stabalizing for most women.

I have a friend that before menopause had frequent episodes – mostly manic. After she went through menopause she calmed WAY down and hasn’t had an episode in years. No, her medications hasn’t changed. So you can’t take that into account.
Turtle

#3 
Written By Turtle on October 29th, 2008 @ 8:05 am

It most certainly gets worse with age if it is not treated! Once treated it is easier with age to stabalize. I have been on the merry go round for years. Off and on meds, heavy substance abuse, in and out of hospitals, 4 marriages, 5 kids ranging from Now 6 yrs to 30 yesrs old. Moved to many different states every other year or so etc. etc. etc. I do not make flipped or spontaneous life altering decisions any more with medication and alot of hard work. Age can indeed compliment a bipolar person just as gracefully as a non.

#4 
Written By Linda on October 29th, 2008 @ 8:16 am

That’s reassuring… I’m considering committing to a relationship with a guy with bipolar, but the myth that it has to get worse with age had me a bit scared. He seems to be more together than he was in the past, and as we work together, he gets better and better. I have hope about this.

#5 
Written By Susan M on October 29th, 2008 @ 8:16 am

I did not know Bipolar gets worse over time. But looking at my illness course, I have absolutely gotten worse over time.

#6 
Written By ReLinda LOngan on October 29th, 2008 @ 8:22 am

If it is diagnosed in time and treatment given, will the disorder stay under control or will it get worse as the person gets older.

#7 
Written By lynn fleischer on October 29th, 2008 @ 8:27 am

Your emails are the only ones that tell it like it actually is. I look forward to receiving them each time. They make me laugh, they make me cry, but most of all they give me hope and as i said they tell it like it is. Your email about “not getting worse with age” is wonderful and you are right. There are systems for everything to be taken care of why not our bipolar. Why not? Because people have to want it and do it and so just dont care enough for themselves and others. I guess that is it in a nutshell. I love your emails and please do not stop and do not forget to send them to me, I will always read them and comment when i can. Thank you. P.S. my ex-husband was one of the ones who doesn’t care and i am one of the ones who does and i make it thru due to your email help. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, you are a soulmate of all bipolars out there.

#8 
Written By Valerie Nazelrod on October 29th, 2008 @ 8:39 am

Dear Dave:

I have been reading your e-mails and visiting your site for over a year now, and this mornings e-mail sure hit the nail right on the head!
Well, sort of felt like it hit me right on the head! Sure opened my eyes and made me see the bi-polor illness in a different light.

Let me tell you I have many family members with bi-polar illness, and have lived my entire life with a Mother with the illness as you have also.

Just over a month ago it became necessary for me to make the decision to have my 88 year old Mom placed in respite care. Not an easy decision or one I took lightly. Mom has called me daily if I didn’t call her, and worked on every guilt bone in my body to get me to come and get her. although I visit her on a regular basis that is NOT what she wants!

She is so set on coming back home, to my home where I found myself, working 24/7 to provide care for her with no regard for my health or general welfare. I had to make “THE” decision.

At the present because of my persistence in encourageing my Mom to participate in some of the MANY activities the ‘home’ provides, to visit other clients who also reside with her, to take care of herself, to eat, to take her medications, she is as stubborn as a STONE…..and refuses to do any of the things that might help her or ‘be a plan’ on getting or feeling better!

Unfortunately, this IS my Mother, this is and has been her way of manipulateing to get what she wants at the time. Even though it may not be after she does reach her goal….as many times before.

THis time, Mom is very ill even physically, I dont’ think she realizes it, I think she is so determinded to get what she wants, that she is beyond realizing just how ill she is. I feel in my soul that she won’t survive very long at all at her present mind set.

And just as you pointed out in your message, e-mail, this situation is EXACTALLY, the point…..Mom isn’t worse BECAUSE of her AGE, Mom is worse, because she would NEVER follow any kind of ORDER or SYSTEM, NO WAY! As, many other with this disorder, MOM has always known best, and the rest of us, doctors and therapist included are a bit, touched!

Unfortunately ‘time’ has run out for my Mother, and I only wish the information you have given me in the last year, had been available to me, years and years ago! Because you are absolutely correct on having a SYSTEM had my Mother been treated under a PLAN, things might have been different for all concerned.

Not all is lost, though Dave, oh no……I have two daughters and so far two grandchildren out of seven who also have the disorder. Your teachings, your advice, your experiences have assisted me so much in so many ways with my extended family members! “I” am a much freer individual….and I do say individual, because anyone who is a supporter of a bipolar loved one KNOWS you can be totally swallowed up by the disorder and the loved one you support, IF there is not a PLAN, a SYSTEM, and YOU have to be ready, willing and capable of putting that knowledge to work for you, and for your LOVED ONE!

I just had to write this time, to let you know, HOW MUCH you have assisted ME in this difficult time, and how much your sharing of knowledge has and will help me and my loved one’s in the future!
God bless you Dave, and from ME…..THANK YOU!

#9 
Written By carolyn on October 29th, 2008 @ 8:56 am

It does seem that the episodes that happen if you don’t take of bipolar do get worse with age – but i do like the analogy of a car … the older it gets…if you don’t take care – the problems get bigger and bigger… which should mean the criticality on staying on program, getting the family permission to be involved in the care, and taking the medicine (even when they feel ‘normal’) is even more critical since the danger of bigger episodes increases (or seems to me to) with age.

#10 
Written By Paul on October 29th, 2008 @ 9:03 am

David,

First just let me say how much I appreciate your daily emails! You always have such a wonderful insight into this gut wrenching disease. I have been told that my husband’s has and will get worse, but I am with you and disagree with that. If he has a good plan in place, (and I believe we do, as well as a really good doctor) that it does not have to get worse. From everything I have learned from you this is a very treatable, and manageable disease. Right now we are in the process of getting stabilized on new medication, and you know how hard that is, it can be a really rough time until the medication gets in the system and starts working. I again just want to say how much I appreciate your advice.

#11 
Written By Anna on October 29th, 2008 @ 9:12 am

I think, David, you are right. You have to manage it for it not to get worse. I have just learned in the last 10 years how to manage mine, with the help of an AWESOME internal medicine doctor! He is so much better than a psychiatrist! I can’t stand that field! I wonder if they really know what they are doing. I don’t think they really care about the people they see, they just want to get them medicated and out the door. Anyway, off the subject, I agree it will get worse with age if it’s not managed properly.

#12 
Written By Lynette Beavers on October 29th, 2008 @ 9:24 am

I;m not sure. I live with a bipolar and have lived with her for 8 years. I haven’t noticed any worsening. She is up and down and does seem to manage her illness better now after we sought a counselor who is a retired Psychiatric Nurse and gave my partner some useful tools to work with.

#13 
Written By Roza on October 29th, 2008 @ 10:04 am

I have had bipolar disorder for 36 years. When treated with antidepressants over many years, it can, and often does turn into rapid cycling or even ultra rapid cycling bipolar disorder, which is virtually untreatable.

My depressions began to get worse in my 50’s. I am now 61 with treatment resistant ultra rapid cycling bipolar which only worsens with antidepressives (accepted medical fact. Check it out or ask your doctor) and am nearly disfunctional. I was once a successful attorney “managing” my bipolar for years. Now I can’t describe the misery I have and have to look forward to.

No, David. You vastly oversimplify.

#14 
Written By Margie on October 29th, 2008 @ 10:37 am

I forgot to mention that I was on lithium and other medicines for all those years an still am. Rapid Cycling is a puzzle to the psychiatric community. It can come with age and medical treatment.

#15 
Written By Margie on October 29th, 2008 @ 10:51 am

for me and that is the only one i can speak for the bipolar has gotten worse with age. it did not help that i had been put on the wrong medication by 2 different doctors at two separate times. but am on the right meds now and am better with no serious mood swings at this time. but lots of damaged done to my self esteem and to my ability to trust in the decisions i make. hopefully time will help that but i am not going to hold my breath.

#16 
Written By linda c. kiddy on October 29th, 2008 @ 12:51 pm

I agree and disagree. I am a pro-active parent. My son has show signs of bi-polar since birth, although that is criticized. My ex-husband is untrested, his mother and 2 siblings were treated for Manic Depression, her father was untreated, but diagnosed Manic Depressive. The blood lines are 6 generations deep (gee it would have been good if I knew this before we had kids). In any case, my son has gotten harder and will get harder until he adjusts, which may not be until he is in his 30’s. My son has been in counseling, behavior modification, to many psychiatrists, psychologists, MFCC and seen by only 2 peditricians. He has been assessed, diagnosed, medicated…. He has been on more meds, seen more counselors than I can keep track of (which I do). He is in a special “Theraputic” School which works on behavior and ignores that he tests 3-4 grade levels above his level. He cycles. He cycles BADLY. Getting worse. I have watched this go from daily cycling to every other day, every third day and now at about every 5 days. As the hormones kick in, now he is more hightened, more aggressive, loud, rude…… OR he is a wonderful, helpful, sweet, funloving child. It depends on the day, the circumstance and his cycling, etc… What caught my interest is the comment that “You wish
with all your heart that the person could find complete
calm for one day, one hour, one min.” I agree. I wish he could find that peace. He is 11 now. It is hard and getting harder. I work hard to keep him on track. He is a Cub Scout and has completed 5 years. He is about to become a Boy scout. Now I am faced with finding a troop. He does not do well in a group. The more people or kids, the more out of control he becomes. From my perspective it seems that it is going to be a lot harder for many years, before it may ever have the chance to be stable. I wish I was not right! What does it take to keep him from the worst part. To me the worst part is simple. 1/3 of bi-polar children end up in jail. 1/3 end up dead. 1/3 end up adjusting. I feel for the adult trying to adjust, but image a 11 year old………

#17 
Written By Julie on October 29th, 2008 @ 1:13 pm

I was only recently diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, but I am discovering thru investigation and learning about symtoms that I have had it all my life. I have been treated for depression since I was 12, obviously now that was the wrong diagnosis and probably made things worse. Now that I am taking mood stabelizers and antipsycotics some things have gotten better, I have more concentration and more recolection abilities, but my mood still changes on the turn of a dime, I still cant control my episodes and I dont always remember what I did. I am starting to feel like a pill popper, my handfull of pills keeps growing and my side effects keep getting worse, and yet my episode are still up and down and all around. So yes I think it can get worse with age but i do agree that it can be controlled if you find a Dr. willing to help you. I just havent found that Dr. yet.

#18 
Written By Kylara on October 29th, 2008 @ 1:24 pm

I have a daughter who is on meds. for bipolar=she is doing soo very well.when she has them.she has come to understand she NEEDS them.Ialso have a MOTHER who ALL my life was very hard on me. I knew nothing of bipoal until DAVID helped me to put all the facts together..Mother will not agree she has bipolar=so now I just walk on egg shells..she’s 87 yrs. young. I do believe with all my heart & soul= she at this age is NOT better…I know is’t hard on her & more so me…I want to say “god bless” david =sherri

#19 
Written By sherri on October 29th, 2008 @ 1:33 pm

Dear David,

The email today had me thinking about what the first therapist said to me when I got out of the military. He said “the only thing that will help you is to out grow it.” I have found that is not true. I live on the edge everyday with my Bipolar and it seems like the more I try to take care of it myself the worse I get. I had a brain tumor removed last year and I have found my Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorders to be worse than better. I think your idea of having a system is what helps people like me to get more stable and have peace. It is frustrating when I think about never getting over my disorders. Your emails every day help me want to try one more time. The days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months. I hope the months turn into years.

Thank You,
sandie

#20 
Written By sandie on October 29th, 2008 @ 1:37 pm

Interesting question….does bipolar wosten with age? I have been with my husband for 6 years now and though at times its been a bit of a rollercoaster ride I can honestly say that it has gotten better with time but with serious efforts on both of our parts. He spent half of his life with failed relatioships, substance abuse, financial issues and severe violent outbursts. I guess the difference is I never backed down, I reaserched, forced him to face his demons until finally he realized he wanted something better for himself and for his family. It hasnt been easy, but the last two years has been maintainable and stable. Six months ago he started going into a manic episode where he was hallucinating, thought people were after him, paced all night long, but amazingly there was a tiny part of him that realized something was off and didnt resist the psyciatric help nor the cycle of new meds he had to take.What could have been a very long painful cycle was stopped in its tracks fairly quickly. I guess over the years he had learned to trust me. Even though he was completely “out of it” somewhere in the far regions of his mind he knew that I would never do harm to him.Even though it has taken years to get the right combination of drugs and routine , I can honestly say that he is a new man. He is responsible, even keeled, patient and no longer has the desire for wild spending sprees or wild nights drug or alcohol infused. In fact there are times he saves more than I do.
For any bipolar supporters out there, I say to you it can be done. You can have the life you had hoped for. There is no magic cure, and you need to constantly be looking for cues and signals for when things may go amuck. But when you see those signs take action immediately, dont sit back and hope they will go away, dont wait hoping that your loved one will do something about it. Take the inituative while your partner is able to see things somewhat clearly.

#21 
Written By Shawna on October 29th, 2008 @ 1:41 pm

Hi,
I’ve been a subscriber to this letter for quite a while now. I have a young daugther, age 20 who we strongly suspect has bipolar disorder. We’re not sure because she won’t get any help or go see a doctor. She has always been a sweet, responsible, and courteous girl with a 4.0 GPA. She continues to go downhill, can’t keep a job, has a DUI and on probabtion, has terrible emotional outbursts, threatens people, throws things, destroys property her at the house, and now has a criminal record. She doesn’t drive anymore because her license is suspended. Before that she had 3 serious car accidents the last one, thank God she did not kill herself or anyone else. The only thing law enforcement tells me to do is to evict her or press charges. The only place she will have to go is the street. She has out worn her welcome with most of her friends. She is delusional and can be very vulgar. Her language and demeanor can be very provocative. She can’t manage her money when she does have it and is way behind on her bills, court fines and fees. She was recently arrested again and goes to court for an arraingment Nov 26. We’re not sure she’s going to make it unitl then and fear she will be continue to go undiagnose and untreated and instead of getting the help she deserves, will wind up in jail for a very long time.

Are there any suggestions from you folks who have experience with this type of situation on how to get her the help she deserves before it’s too late?

#22 
Written By Nancy on October 29th, 2008 @ 1:53 pm

Dear David, What else can I say that I haven’t said about your letters? They’re absolutely true. And I thank you for keeping me in your mail list.

#23 
Written By aniway on October 29th, 2008 @ 4:20 pm

Dear David,

Thank you David for all your support. You are truly the most dedicated person I’ve ever come across in helping so many people coping with bi polar disorder in one way or another. Either helping them or their loved ones or as in my case myself and two of my sons.

I was diagnosed with bi polar disorder when I was 15 years, I am now 44 years old. I am extremely stable thanks to 50mg of seroquel. There are other little things that I do to insure that I remain stable. 1) I take medications. 2) I avoid alchohol. 3) I avoid caffeine. 4) I get a good night sleep. 5) Pray 6) I talk openly and honestly with my doctor. 7) I communicate my concerns with my doctor whenever needed. 8) I have become my own advocate. 9) I keep proactive in my own care.

When I was first diagnosed I was among the youngest of patients diagnosed with this disorder. I was often over medicated and heavily sedated, while hospitalized and was in a number of different hospitals and a few group homes for the next four years. I caught pneumonia while I was hospitalized and it took them awhile to realize that I was so ill and eventually I was transferred to icu where I was monitered very closely. I came close to dying. While I was 16 years of age and at yet another hospital my mom had passed away. Although my circumstances were very tough throughout my young teen life I still had hope in God to pull me through. I can now say for certain that it is God alone that has sustained me and made me the strong woman I have become. People see the strength that I have to endure and overcome all things and my reply is, “my strength is in the Lord”.

#24 
Written By Holly on October 29th, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

Hi Dave,
I think you are lucky getting snow this early, I wish we could get some but I live in the south and we don’t get much snow here. In answer to your question does Bipolar get worse as you get older. I have been dealing with bipolar for the past 16 years and from what I have experienced bipolar does get worse as you age. I do know that if its treated a person with bipolar can live a normal and healthy life. But the trick I have is a problem with getting my son to take his meds correctly. I have tried getting him to support groups and seeing a therapist along with seeing his psych doctor. but he doesn’t seem interested. What do you do with a person like that? My son is a loving and caring person and has a good soul, but he seems to be happy being delusional etc… I just take one day at a time. He is in a psychiatric hospital right now and has been since August. The doctors are having a hard time getting him stabilized this time.
I enjoy your messages and look forward every day to reading them. Keep up the good work.
Send me some of that snow! Well, gotta run talk at you later.

Take care.
Ann

#25 
Written By Ann on October 29th, 2008 @ 5:15 pm

I totally AGREE with you that, once managed on the right “plan,” a person with bipolar disorder CAN/DOES get better. I had my first nervous breakdown at 20 – I’m 60 now. I had 3 hospitalizations, all in my 20s, and have a few mini-episodes that were treated on an out-patient basis.
But, I feel that, although I haven’t, by ANY means, “conquered” bipolar, I am more “in control” of my symptoms and recognize when I need to talk to my therapist or get my medications regulated.

I am twice-widowed – which, in itself, is a hard thing to go through – and live on my own, having never been able to have children (and with the gene being passed on, I guess I’m glad I didn’t). Sometimes, I enjoy being alone; I can live in my thoughts, and do what I have to do without having to please someone else.

I am having a rough spot right now, trying to get a refinancing completed. My mortgage broker is driving me crazy – he calls all hours of the day or night, and won’t return MY calls. He says he’s got a lender for me – and sends me the WRONG papers, which I signed and faxed (40 pages!). We’re supposed to close Friday, and he said he would FedEx the RIGHT papers before then. I’m getting somewhat fed up with the way he’s handling things – I applied for the refinancing in JUNE, and, I guess because of the financial crash, money is tight everywhere. I’m NOT holding my breath :(.

I’m trying to rent my extra bedroom for additional income, but I’ve had ads in the daily paper since the first of October, and they’re NOT cheap. I guess it’s a hard time to find someone who needs a place, but it’s discouraging.

Right now, I have very interrupted sleep patterns, and stay up late. I’m seeing my therapist tomorrow (thank God!), and maybe she can have some positive things to say.

All in all, though, I DO think we get better as we get older. Although I have anxiety and “panic attacks” at times, they are controlled with medication. So, YES – there IS hope for all of us, survivors and supporters alike – all with the Grace of God.

BIG HUGS to all bipolar survivors and those who love us. May God bless you real good.

#26 
Written By suzanne on October 29th, 2008 @ 5:45 pm

David, you’re right on this one. If a person takes their meds properly (and makes sure they’re on the right meds in the first place), they should actually get BETTER as time goes on, not worse. This is providing they don’t drink alcohol or smoke dope with their med’s. And that they have a “system” in place, as you have talked about in previous blogs.
A good support system is also pretty crucial. With everything in place, the ony thing that should happen with time is you get (a wee bit) older, and a LOT wiser…

#27 
Written By Dee Dee on October 29th, 2008 @ 7:15 pm

The information I get out of these email,s are so helpful. I relate to Carolyn’s, in that, the lady I take care of is so much like her Mom, completley set in her ways. This is an empowering site, this is why I look forward to reading all the mail. The lady is 81 and only diagnosed with bipolar a year and a half ago. I am assuming she has had it for a few years. I have come to the conclusion after reading all the mail, that it is all in the management, scheduling, routine of active daily living that serves to be the best route with an early diagnosis. Thanks David, for all your support, and thanks to everyone for your help.

#28 
Written By Jeannie on October 29th, 2008 @ 7:49 pm

It used to be thought that bipolar was a “young disorder”, which people mainly developed in their teens and 20’s. However, recently more and more people are diagnosed in their 40’s and 50’s. My boyfriend was 44 when he had the first big episode leading to hospitalisation and diagnosis of bipolar 1. The trigger was his brother’s (probably also bipolar) suicide. I believe that the age depends on the trigger. I don’t think it gets worse with age, only perhaps if it’s untreated. Or, you probably react worse to stress when you get older, which could be a factor. I also believe that women can probably get it worse than men, because of hormones playing havoc, especially during and just before the menopause. Some menopausal symptoms are very similar to cyclothymia.

SHELLEY, if your sister has been diagnosed with bipolar and is going through the menopause at the same time, it could be why she seems to be getting worse. The good thing about the menopause is that it will not last forever. Years ago when my mother was going through the menopause she also had an up and down thyroid, which causes bipolar like symptoms. She is long past the menopause now, but will probably be on meds for life to balance her thyroid. I can only speak from my own experience and observation and like Dave I am not a doctor, therapist or anything like that.

I’m continuously reading that bipolar disorder is passed on through genes. This could be a parent, a grandparent or going further back. But someone has to be the first. You, or your child may be the first to have it. e.g. My family always considered me to be “a bit weird,” mainly because I am nocturnal. They could never understand that. No-one else in my immediate family was nocturnal. I have no children, so I don’t know if I would have passed on a “new gene.”

#29 
Written By Nightlady on October 29th, 2008 @ 10:38 pm

Nightlady,
Yes, bad genes are inherited but existing genes can become “errant” as, for example, when they are damaged by radiation or by some drugs (as Thalidomide, I understand.) Some just “spontaneously” evolve, too – which is why same species birds and other creatures develop over time into slightly different animals – e.g. Indian and African elephants.
Also, don’t forget that going back in time, BP symptoms may not have been recognised as mental illness but as purely eccentric behaviour or melancholy. Indeed, many historical figures now claimed to have been Bipolar were never considered to be ill at that time. Some were but not one wanted to admit it because “lunacy” was considered a shameful thing to have.

#30 
Written By Graham Nelson on October 30th, 2008 @ 8:25 am

Yes, BP does get worse – proven fact. Research does indicate that people with BP suffer brain shrinkage, although it is not yet known what causes it. This shrinkage affects the area responsible for memory, face recognition and something else (I can’t remember!)

HOWEVER, it also seems (although I don’t suppose anyone has yet measured this) that the deterioration is not necessarily perceptible in all, or even most, cases, even though it is there. This might be explained by the good use of therapy and medication, and also by using a system as with David’s. In other words, new learned techniques may off-set the deterioration. For example, a (temporary) deterioration in my concentration with driving was nicely off-set by my learning advanced driving techniques, which taught me how to drive more safely.

#31 
Written By Graham Nelson on October 30th, 2008 @ 8:32 am

(Dave, I submitted a post twice – re-written the second time – because the first one vanished when it was submitted.)

#32 
Written By Graham Nelson on October 30th, 2008 @ 8:34 am

Hi Dave.

I have been dealing with this disorder ever sense I can remember. It, like you said got worse untreated. but When I found out I had Bipolar Disorder, just knowing that helped me to understand this mental instability I knew was lingering over me. Then I began to recognize When an episode was coming and That helped too. Now it is only getting better with time. I can still feel the affects of the episode but now I know how it goes so I tell myself,in a depressive or manic episode, it’s ok. I’ll be fine, take a deep breath, count to whatever number it takes to make it go away. Then I distract myself from the episode. Like reading something funny or drawing(that has been my release even before I knew I had this disorder) or watching a funny movie or enlightening movie. So yes having a system is imperative to a healthy mental development. It’s not the greatest system but it is the one that helps me the most so far. people just need to tweak the system to fit what works for them the most. Try new things to see if it fits. Like shoes. You see the pair of shoes that attracts you and is your size. Thats how the system. Trying on all kinds of different shoes.

Thank you for helping me even more than i can help myself.

Your Bipolar student,

Jake Dombrock

#33 
Written By Jake Dombrock on October 31st, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

what about a.a. saying not to take bipolar meds that 12 steps will fix the symptomz

#34 
Written By ro on November 2nd, 2008 @ 2:07 am

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