Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Question Of The Day

I've been thinking lately (very dangerous), and wondering if there are people, scenarios, or manifestations of bipolar disorder that are best left un-medicated?


Just Me said...

My belief is that a diagnosis doesn't necessarily mean automatic assignment to the "you must" pile. I think MOST bipolars need meds and benefit from them. I personally cling desperately to mine; they are one facet of my hope. But I suspect it is possible for the occassional person to handle things differently.

I guess even I do to some extent. I should be, need to be, on an antipsychotic, to tame the severity of my cycles. But I can't tolerate them. However we have built all kinds of things in my life that help me function anyway: easy access to therapist and doctor; friends with emergency plans; emergency strategies; and a lot of training in monitoring myself. It works for the most part. I wish it were more, that I could add in substantial exercise and whatnot to that and get adequate control, but I am proud I control any part of it myself.

Meds are kicking in and I need to go lay down, but I vote yes.

resonance said...

I vote possibly - that's something we can establish with research, but not anywhere near as many people as think they don't need meds but are busy making their lives and the lives of others around them much more painful.

I have ADD, and my mother's boyfriend does as well. I don't believe everyone with ADD needs meds (although I do believe most people with ADD can benefit heavily from them). His refusal to pursue treatment for his ADD means that his family and his employees deal with a very unnecessarily high stress level. They are bearing even more of a burden because of it than he is, and he's not willing or able to recognize the degree to which his decision not to treat is impacting other people.

The current research shows substantial benefit with medication, but unfortunately medication is not able to help anyone, so there may be some people who will be equally bad off on meds as off. If we ask whether there are people with bipolar disorder who do just fine without medical treatment, my guess would be no, and if there are they actually have mild cyclothymia and have been misdiagnosed. Bipolar disorder is bipolar disorder because untreated, it damages lives.

Maybelline Jones said...

I think that this can be very scary thinking. I don't think it's worth it. The highest unmedicated creative highs only count for so much when you're thinking about slicing up your arm.

BeyondBipolar said...

Medications are proven to work for people with bipolar disorder, but sometimes there are reasons why a person is unable to take medications or doesn't feel they get the benefit they are looking for.

Bipolar disorder is serious and can cause death in 20% of people who are not in treatment. So it is wise to take medications seriously.

Having said that, there are also wellness skills that can be used along with medications. These can help people learn to live well with bipolar disorder.

Before considering treatment without medications, it is wise to bone up on wellness skills and to talk to your prescriber. If your wellness skills are strong, you may be able to take less medication and still experience stable mood.

For more, see www.beyondbipolar.com

jane said...

I think with immediate extensive therapy, a thorough medical checkup & making sure the person is getting all the necessary vitamins, exercising & has a social outlet. AND a doctor or therapist is overseeing the patient's condition on a daily basis, then very possibly, yes.
With my own experience, I am coming to believe we are over-medicated.

Okgenuine said...

Most definitely. I've had horrible flare ups all through my body because I was overdosed that made me totally suicidal. I've also read a lot of stuff in Barnes and Noble where people will go nuts on medication after awhile, like they'll be driving and they'll pull over to the side of the road, get out, and start screaming, which I can relate to. After so much you know it's the medication. People like me are much better treated by being in a peer group twice a week or something similar, drinking a lot of water, and getting our opinions out on a regular basis.

That being said, I know I am in the minority and medication helps a lot of people greatly. I still take small doses to sleep and calm down after an episode but it's a balancing act.

Whenever psychiatry can handle the minorities within the minority of mentally ill people, a lot of extra problems will go away, but they want an easy way to deal with everyone. Which is ridiculous for people with PHD's who could do so much more.

Well, I hope your son is doing ok. He certainly has an interesting story.

Gianna said...

Well I know lots of unmedicated "bipolars" who were told they needed meds for the rest of their lives. I'm on the way to being unmedicated and no worse in the process, though experiencing withdrawal symptoms. These drugs are highly addictive. I have lots and lots of mentors of people who have gone before me.

As I've said before most of these people don't read the mainstream blogs so you won't hear from them, but there are lots of us out here. Drugs either did nothing for us or made us worse.

Amanda said...

According to my doctor: Yes.

When I crawled to his office 8 years ago begging for something, anything to alleviate my misery, he advised me to remain unmedicated - if I can.

It's been a rough trip since then but it's finally getting to a point where I can say, yes, I'm glad I listened to him. The old fox really did know what he was talking about.

Jon said...

Thanks all for your input.

If I didn't have a family depending on me, I might be un-medicated. But I believe medication is as much for the people around me as it is for me personally.

Thanks all for your though provoking input.

sara said...

Meds do make me a lot stupider. There are times when I need to work so I stop taking them. I crash after, but try to time the crash after the work is done.

But shit, the way things are today, they just try to force all these new drugs without much proof, everyone's forcing antipsychotics and lamotrigine and valproate...I hide my diagnosis to make sure I don't end up on all that.