Monday, September 13, 2010

A Formidable Bear

Every now and again I need to have my butt kicked about what I'm facing and the importance of staying on the meds and stuff. The following was sent to me a by a good reader. I was grateful for more than just the reminder (for which I was very grateful) but also because I'd come across the following information in a manic frenzy of doing research prior to going into the hospital. Because I'd found it during a manic frenzy I had no idea later where I'd found it so I was glad to have had it sent to me. I found the information sobering then and I find it more so now. 

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms May Increase Over Time

It is not entirely understood if and how bipolar disorder changes over time, but psychiatrists have long suspected that every episode can make the nature of the disorder evolve. It is suspected that discrete manic and depressive episodes, if untreated or undertreated, can eventually lead to an increase in mixed episodes (experiencing mania and depression at the same time) and then culminate in a rapid cycling type of bipolar, with a high frequency of cycles in which mania quickly changes to depression and back to mania, etc., with almost no symptom remission.

Bipolar Disorder May Become More Difficult to Treat as it Progresses

In addition to the possibility that the time spent in remission decreases the longer a person is bipolar, it is also suspected that the disorder becomes more treatment-resistant over time; the more episodes of mania and depression a person experiences, the more difficult it is for medication and counseling to bring the patient back into remission.

The idea that bipolar changes, and that the disorder becomes more treatment-resistant over time, is not yet irrefutably proven, but is certainly strongly suspected by mental health professionals (Stahl, 2008).

Bipolar Disorder Shrinks Your Brain

There have also been several studies showing that those with bipolar disorder experience progressive changes in brain anatomy over time; losing gray matter more quickly than subjects who do not suffer from a mood disorder. This tissue loss has been associated with a decline in cognitive function and appears to contribute to the course of the illness. 

It all sorta seems to indicate that if you suspect you might be suffering from a mood disorder or you know someone you suspect is, the time to act is now.

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