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Bipolar Disorder Epidemic

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Previously known as manic-depression, bipolar disorder seems to be much more common than previously appreciated. In the last decade, adults with this diagnosis have doubled while recognition of the condition in children and teens has increased several times more. A lot of misconception remains from our antiquated understanding of the condition as well as incomplete information of its attributes that still persist among professionals and the general public. We have come to appreciate that it occurs with variations in intensity and severity like most things. This compounds the difficulty recognizing the characteristics of bipolar disorder. The mood swings and depression can be mild exaggerations of normal behavior, but with greater intensity, that often are rationalized as only idiosyncrasies of that person. Increased awareness and diagnosis of the condition means there is more confusion than ever about its origin and prognosis.

The National Institute of Health estimates 5.7 million adults are affected by bipolar disorder. Another 750,000 children may suffer with symptoms that go unrecognized. The exact origin is unclear but as with many mental disorders a chemical imbalance in the brain is usually to blame. There is a familial tendency but it is not directly inheritable in the usual sense. A newly available blood test screens for two genetic mutations that are associated with the condition. Unfortunately they are not dependable in predicting or measuring the expression of the disorder. It is believed some mild symptoms may start to appear before the age of 18 even though the average age of diagnosis is 25.

Most people who struggle with bipolar disorder are depressed. The old notion of mania is better described as a state of being very energetic. This can be expressed as euphoria but often leads to erratic behavior and irritability with a rapid, pushy rate of speech. Listening to the person speak you could follow their rapid train of thought but literally be unable to get a word in edge-wise. The irritability and energy may lead to very erratic behavior including substance abuse, spending sprees and exercising generally poor judgment resulting in many uncharacteristic bad decisions.

Depression is usually the theme indeed with some mood swings. The person with bipolar disorder may seem inappropriate in their response to a situation. An upbeat or depressed response with excessive intensity can be indicative of the disorder. Everyone has their ups and downs, but not to the extent that it interferes with their ability to work or be an active participant with their family. Inappropriate behavior may also include paradoxical responses to challenging events. Laughing excessively and celebrating regarding a death, job loss, or car accident is pathologic behavior.

The hallmarks of depression and mood swings dictate the foundation of treatment. Use of antidepressant and often mood stabilizing medication in conjunction with talk therapy has become the norm. Similar to other mental health conditions, medication can help stabilize the chemical imbalance. In turn, more clear thinking follows. However therapeutic counseling helps with learning coping skills. Goal setting and recognizing early signs of disorder or potentially difficult situations help stay on track with the individual’s aspirations while remaining a compliant partner in therapy. The combination of medication and talk therapy can enable people who suffer with bipolar disorder to lead happy, productive lives.

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About Bruce Kaler M.D.

  • Rosiecee

    One of the reasons for the increase in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder is the massive use of antidepressants which took place after the introduction of Prozac in Dec. 1987. Antidepressants can cause mania and psychosis according to the Physicians Desk Reference.

    Usually the person diagnosed with bipolar disorder after taking antidepressants is having a reaction to the antidepressant and a slow gradual tapering off of the antidepressant could prevent the diagnosis of bipolar disorder but this is not being done.

    Go to http://www.SSRIstories.com where there are over 2,800 cases, with the full media article available, involving bizarre murders, suicides, school shootings [47 of these] and murder-suicides – all of which involve SSRI antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc, . The media article usually tells which SSRI antidepressant the perpetrator was taking

  • Brunelleschi

    I think if you track the numbers of prescriptions for mood drugs, the growth is alarming.

    I think it’s a case of drs doing what big drug companies want them to do, move lots of product.

    Give a kid a hammer, and all of a sudden everything in the house is a nail..

    Another reason too many pills get prescribed is that it is safe for drs who are nervous about liability. The safest thing to do often is prescribe a drug that millions are already taking, and get someone out the door. Studying too hard or trying something based on one individual’s situation can led to lawsuits when things go wrong.

    I ran into this myself, not with mood drugs but with thyroid. Drs wanted me to take the same pill everyone else does, because that’s how they think. I protested for years that they were missing something, and the pill was making me worse. After many repeats of this, I found a dr that would test ME, as an individual, and figure out what is wrong with ME, instead of some inaccurate diagnosis that leads you down the wrong path.

    The turnaround was remarkable.

  • Indeed, we often overlook one of the most essential life skills we should learn in elementary school: Healthy Coping Skills. This is not rocket science, but it does involve new education programs in neuroscience — helping kids, their parents and teachers understand the brain’s role in how we feel, act and think. Readers are welcome to explore our free, non-commercial website which contains a vast array of open-access resources.

  • Marcia Neil

    Bipolar disorder can be linked to ‘Perry’ family exploits.

  • Troy

    Far More are “Diagnosed” Now with BP. As their are FAR more psychs. now to Feed. QED!
    You mentioned a “Chemical imballence” If you where a Dr. you would know as we all do: Their is NO way to assess the Chemical nature of a Living Brain.Therefore how do you know what to add to bring back the equilibrum?
    BP & ALL other Disorders cannot be found,even in a Cadiver…. Takes 1 to have a Desease 2 to have a mental Disorder.
    Who benifits: the one to make the diagnosis.
    Their is no Science to back any of psych. doings or theries.NOT Medicine, NOT Science. It is Punishment(Hence you can be sentenced to Psych. institution for Murder, instead of Jail). Power, Control, removal of rights….
    Professors of psych. have told me the DSM is ALL Fraud. More disorders voted in each Month.
    Most believe as I the Disorder is totaly Iatrogenic, due to Ploypharmacy… OK I was Smarter, had more energy… It was NO problem. then I was “medicated” for a Week, then whilst Comatose “diagnosed” with BP.
    Professors tell me they believe the symptoms of the disorder, & the Brain Damage are due to the Drugs, however: They can find none who are “diagnosed who are Drug Virgins. QED. IATROGENIC.
    If you need know the Truth, see the CCHR. Or type in history of psychiatry, go to the Tom Cruise You tube listing. Their are also many TRUTHFUL accounts their from Dr.s’ & Professors. Same as CCHR.
    True, well it is true as I have lived it these last 8+ years.
    The “Proof” the psych. & the Drugs are of use is: In order to leave “hospital” you must tell psych you where very unwell, now you are much better. This is recorded in Writing, & on tape. It is the only way to get out.
    See “The Thud Experiment.”
    See Dr. Walter J Freman…….

  • Troy

    Hence Lilly is in Court. iF THE dRUGS DID WHAT WE ARE TOLD THEY DO, all WOULD BEGG FOR THEM. Truth though NONE want them, psych. will not even try them. Smarter than they want us to know, as the Drugs are mearly Deceribating Chemicals.
    Why when on the “medication,” the Judge tellsyou to answer nothing? & every 2 Months I need a Full internal Organ check? ALL bar the Brain, as it is wanted to be Mush. IQ from 190 down to 133. The latest I was told I was Homer Simpson.
    They where once called Tranquilizers… Since the ’60’s they are called “Antipsychotics” “Mood stabilizers.”
    Why am I far worse on meds than off?
    Psychs. have told me: “Their is NO Pill or Injection, that will change you, anyone else, the past or any fact. Nor can I change you..” My Nurse also told me the Same.I only wish psych. could not change me, as now I have NOTHING, NO Mind. Neurotransmitters shut down, how is Damaging the Brain of ANY USE?
    Truth is there, I have been told by the quacks what they have is beyond WORTHLESS. REMOVE, PEN, & TREAT THEM ALL!wITH THE PEADIFILE, LAW FOLK, GOV…
    They claim also to not know what the Drugs do, what they Ruin… how or why they work, so WHY are they allowed to Keep PUSHING them?
    tHE DRUGS ruin all. The only reason we have psychiatry is we must ALL be recorded telling it: “We where unwell….Now we are much better.” Must tell these lies, or you will not be released!!!!!!
    I witnessed about a Week ofElectroshock “therapy” on a young Woman. Prior the psych. told ALL the Woman was “Catatonic.” I went & sat near her, I asked: “How are oyu.” Reply: “I ‘m just realy smashed.” Therefore she was alert, responsive, articulate…. Mearly Drugged to the eyeballs. Lower/Remove Drugs, she would be fine as she was on entry.
    Electroshoch “therapy” is against the Geneva Convention!!!!! Vapourises the Brain…. Barbaric check out where it came from, send me the “Science” that backs it…..
    Their Duity is to Ruin Lives & Families…
    Better to be Shot dead than “Treated” by psychiatary, though I see no money in that NOR suffering… Humaine.
    If I had done to a stray Cat what has been done to me in these institutions, their would be an uproar, and I would be safer in Jail.
    If we rid the World of these unmentionables, use the Multi Trillions for the benifit of Humanity, the Health of the World will greatly improve.
    MORE have died in US psych. Wards than in ALL US Wars. FACT! Scince 1600’s, or 1700’s.

  • Quite an issue. The meds like Depakote or Tegritol or others (lithium in extreme cases) are good, if diagnosed and used properly.

    Talk therapy? What a racket that is! Very, very few are actually qualified to deal with it. Quite a number of therapists are just fucked up people who want to ‘help’ messed up people.

    Basically, one thing your bi-polar person has to deal with is vulnerability to ‘acceptance’. Since a bi-polar person usually has a life of just being slammed down as some ‘mentally ill’ they can fall into some wicked traps in life. Drug abuse? That usually centers around a culture of acceptance with others who are also addicts. Find a new dealer? You usually hear the statement ‘my new friend’ tagged right along with it.

    I have one case on my hands where the bi-polar has become victim of horrible criminal activity. Our victim befriends a psychopath who is a crack addict. The victim is forced into very criminal situations (postitution, rape to supply this ‘friend’ crack) which are against her will, but her ‘acceptance’ is challenged if she doesn’t.

    To make it worse, since the bi-polar are fighting for acceptance (they often overtalk trying to justify their existance to everyone) they become vulnerable to a lifetime trap of very dangerous people. Our mentioned victim has been trapped by our mentioned psychopath (I am not just throwing that word around, I am very studied in the identification of such) where a ‘pathological relationship’ has developed. See my URL and click on the blog (underneath the song listings) entitled ‘women, feminists, radical women’ if you are not studied in the findings of this syndrome.

    What has happened is her psychiatrist is misdiagnosing her left and right. She is gulping down all these pills that have nothing to do with her congentital reality. The doc is throwing pills at her for her environmental reaction to her former pimp who psycho/sociopathically claims is her best friend. Very sick and many criminal actions take place in the name of control since psychopaths have no friends. They forge relationships.

    The bi-polar person does not have a chance. They get trapped into a relationship that they cannot get out of. Do you think Lynette Frohm or others can just walk up to Charlie Manson and say ‘I’m out of this cult’? No. That is what a pathological relatonship is. A cult of one.

    My nuerologist who is tops in faculty at the UW School of Medicne is very impressed with my ability to understand and track the flow of the mind. I worked under the guy for years in a class A emergency room. He told me that very few medical students who enter the psychiatry specialty really have the mentality to actually be qualified on a true top level.

    I see that so true. I see a psychiatrist pretty much aiding and abetting criminal action against or mentioned victim. How? by sucking up to the psychopath acting as ‘best friend’. When in reality, it is part of he psychopath’s ‘control’ game.

    OK, the bi-polar get their esteem and any other psych building features just blown apart thru life. Nowhere to turn.

    Why doesn’t she just leave the situation? The desperation of acceptance creates a trap, especially when the trap is woven by the mind of a psychopath under the guise of ‘helping’ the mentally ill.

    Our victim, of course, will not tell many her true painful secrets. She is smart enuf to know that these therapists are not qualified, and why the hell should she tell them a damn thing so fucking personal. I am astonished at so-called professinals in law, medical, therpay, etc. who are so stupid not to recognize the situation.

    Psychiatry has a long way to go. As a true person fighting oppression for a normally pretty smat and creative person being tagged with mental illness she doesn’t really have to the degree her charts say…

    Action must be taken. We have a psychopath, a psychiatrist aiding the psychopath and on down the line.

    To end on a happy note, I also have a client who found ‘rap’ as his drive and bliss. The guy is amazingly good with a story so different from typical rap. Not gang bangy. He has fought the vulnerability of acceptance which he is so glad because of how hard ‘gangs’ tried to take over his life. If I charged therapy rates for all the amazing transitions in life this guy has made with the therapy he needs to be truly accepted (record executives in this case)I have already come up with $75,000 I wish I could bill Medicare for. The guy is getting major attention from high industry sources. Hopefully it will pay off.

    Shoot, the bi-polar must be understood. Not taken advantage of. the only time our ‘victim’ mentioned above uses drugs is merely an attempt to find bliss in her life. The bliss right now is just escaping her psychopathic oppressor. Thank goodness I have figured a way to divert that. It is tricky.

    Her psychopath friend always tries to get her into ‘rehab’ which is really a control thing under the guise of helping. Funny, I keep her clean as a whistle as I have found rehab is only furthering damage as the vulnerability and acceptance issues come into play in a rehab facility and once again is taken advantage of for acceptance.

    Oh god. A case study I should just write a thesis on. But a Saturday morning blog comment is a modern thesis in it’s own way.

    Any questions? Contact me.


  • Brunelleschi


    Very interesting.

    People get this message- “don’t do drugs, here’s a pill..”

    I’ll take my chances with the private sector-Reggae and a joint.

  • cindy

    My friend was in a really bad fight a few years back, there was 5 people in it and they all had been drinking one of the men got killed with a wood table leg the police had found all 5 of there blood and DNA on it but since my friend had been in trouble before he was the one they took and he really dont rember what happend but he knows he didnt do it,when he was younger he had been seen by a doctor and was told he has a really bad case of bi-polar we had told the public definder and he did nothing my friend got 33 years for something we all belive he didnt do and now he dosent even get to take his meds, but the man that did it is now running around telling everyone that he killed the wrong brother and tells my friends mother that her son is doing his time like its a big joke and its sad because we dont have the money to do any thing about it sometimes the law is just wrong they were very lazy in this case, I gusse they just didnt have time to care.