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Why Bipolar Disorder is a very serious condition

Although bipolar disorder can be treated with medication, only a third of sufferers gets treatment. Untreated bipolar disorder can open the gate on many problems.

The risk of suicide:

Of the two-thirds of bipolar disorder sufferers who do not get treatment, it is estimated that between 15 and 20% of them commit suicide. The risk is greatest for the following reasons:

  • The risk is highest during episodes of depression
  • Sufferers with mixed mania, marked by paranoia and irritability are at particular risk
  • Pre and early adolescent children are more ill than adults with the disease and display a higher risk of mixed mania

People suffering bipolar disorder have problems of varying degrees with their short and long-term memory. They also exhibit problems with processing information. It has been suggested that certain medications that are prescribed for the patient could actually be responsible for these abnormalities, continued research into this possibility is on-going.

Emotional and behavioral effects during the manic phase of bipolar disorder:

During the manic phase of the disorder, some sufferer’s exhibit heightened productivity and creativity. These are rare however, as the norm is to exhibit distorted thinking and show signs of impaired judgment. The manic episodes can lead to dangerous behavior, which may include:

  • Spending money with abandon
  • Violent and paranoid behavior
  • Promiscuity

These acts are often followed by feelings of guilt and low self-esteem. During treatment for bipolar disorder, patients are reminded that, with medication, these mood disturbances will pass.

Substance abuse and the bipolar disorder sufferer:

Smoking cigarettes is very prevalent among bipolar people, especially among those who display severe psychotic symptoms. It is speculation, but some professional’s in mental health care believe that the nicotine may be a form of self-medication as it does have certain effects on the brain.

Well over half of people who suffer the disorder abuse other substances. The most common substance abused is alcohol, followed closely by marijuana and cocaine.
Those that are of high risk for substance abuse are those who have mixed-state episodes rather than pure mania, and men.

The effects on family and friends:

The negative behavior of the bipolar person is not carried out in a vacuum; the verbal abuse, spending sprees and aggression have a direct effect on those around them. Even the most loving and sympathetic family members and caregivers find it difficult to maintain their objectivity and constant sympathy.

Many sufferers and their families find it impossible to admit that the episodes are illness-related and believe they are normal, albeit extreme characteristics. The denial can often be strengthened by patients who are very intelligent and can articulate and justify their bizarre behavior, not only to others, but to themselves.

Bipolar disorder is a very debilitating disease and the sufferer must get help. This disorder is but one mental health problem that can be attacked by the professionals at Mayhill Hospital in Denton, TX.

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