On Bipolar Disorder

By Karleen Schmiedt, MSLP

After attending a workshop about Bipolar Disorder (BIPD) given by Jay Carter, PsyD, DABPS, it became clear that we don’t know much about BiPD.

It is a spectrum, which means you CAN be a little bit bipolar (undiagnosed) or a LOT bipolar (on meds) or in between. It is difficult to diagnose–70% are missed or misdiagnosed 1-3 times because it changes/emerges and looks different from time to time. These folks have a high suicide risk, which is important to take seriously if expressed.

After an episode of mania, the brain takes 6-8 weeks to recover. During that time, BiPD individuals have diminished executive function, temporary chronic fatigue, and depression. These have implications for returning to work or the expectation that they can function fully right away.

During mania, BiPD individuals are not able to think about contexts (relationships); they can’t help it even though it seems like they are making that choice.

Things that help individuals with BiPD include:

  • Monitoring amount of sleep
  • Establishing a routine
  • Developing a support system that understands this mental illness

For families and individuals trying to understand Bipolar Disorder, check out a great video on Bipolarlight.com.

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