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Old 01-19-2011, 10:51 AM
Allye Allye is offline
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So glad to hear of the breakthrough with your guy, Regina! To be able to face and talk about his problems takes so much strength....tho men don't usually realize that admitting anything that looks like a weakness means they're actually strong. Silly macho dudes

I have several family members who have bipolar and need meds. I have the diagnosis of bipolar II ("soft" bipolar) which is milder in some ways than bipolar 1 in that I don't experience mania but do get non-situational depression, anxiety and horrible insomnia when I go through a down swing. I wouldn't trade my meds for the world because the depression and especially the insomnia are debilitating.

Doctors and researchers are finding (over the last 15 years or so) that the bipolar spectrum can range from atypical depression only to the type of mania that is totally out of control (the no need for sleep, binge shopping, hyper-sexuality, rages type). Since they've discovered it's a spectrum with such a wide degree of severity, they're realizing that many many people are affected and a huge portion are undiagnosed. One thing to take into account is that even though bipolar manifests as psychiatric symptoms, it's actually a physical, neurological disorder. If someone needs meds, it's to fix a physical issue with the brain and is no different than diabetic needing insulin. And thankfully, there are medications available now that don't have the horrible side effects as some of the older ones.

Like I said, so many people on the bipolar spectrum are not diagnosed and are they are often treated with typical antidepressants and anxiety meds which work for a bit but then stop working which often leaves the person worse off than they were unmedicated. It takes meds that specifically target the part of the brain that's causing the symptoms...not meds that just treat the symptoms. Many, many people who are undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or refuse to accept the diagnosis and meds turn to alcohol and drug abuse to try to self-medicate. Treating their addiction has to address both detoxing and finding the proper meds (varies for individuals and sometimes takes a while to figure out which meds and doses are needed). Detoxing and traditional substance abuse programs such as 12 step do not work until the medical condition is treated.

And chiming in to agree with ItalianHitGirl and marcsbeth, it is very rare for someone to be able to manage bipolar without meds. I know one person who does, but I cannot emphasize enough how rare that is. Be sure to let your sweetie know this because he may very well get down on himself and make things worse if he has to have them while you don't. Stress to him that you're an exception to the rule and the odds are huge that he'll need them.

Wishing the best for you both!

Last edited by Allye; 01-19-2011 at 11:02 AM..
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