I always thought of recovery from bipolar disorder as a return to the BB (before bipolar) era, but as Class 10 of NAMI’s Family-to-Family course points out, recovery doesn’t necessarily mean going back to the “good old days.” It’s often healthier to look at recovery as moving forward – a process of transformation, of becoming a new you, accepting your new reality, embracing fresh dreams, and drawing up new plans. This seems to be true both for the person with bipolar disorder and his or her loved ones.
In Bipolar Disorder For Dummies, we point out that as part of the initial work up for bipolar disorder you really should have a complete physical first to rule out any potential medical issues. Other possible diagnoses that may be considered by your doctor include the following:
Sometimes we wonder whether doctors, including psychiatrists, follow the proper protocol in diagnosing bipolar disorder. Before diagnosing you and prescribing any medication, did your doctor perform a physical exam or refer you to an internist/specialist and/or order various tests to rule out medical issues that may have been causing symptoms of mania or depression?
What was the diagnostic process like for you?
Doctor image available from Shutterstock.
My 21-year-old was diagnosed with Bipolar I after an extreme manic episode (he was hospitalized). It was a long and difficult few months (awful treatment, bouncing around to different doctors, etc.) during which his mania tapered down, and then turned into a deep black depression, which he is out of now.
No one can persuade him to take medication. Now that he’s feeling normal again, he seems to think that he doesn’t need medication. So no meds, no therapy, no treatment of any kind. And I am quite sure he’s self-medicating with “other” substances. (He lives with us – me/mom, younger brother, step-father.)