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Bipolar disorder and age


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Does Bipolar Disorder get better or worse with age? I have heard people say things that it gets better and that it gets worse with age. I was just hoping some of you on here could help me with this. thanks for any responses.

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I've been on the royal rollercoaster since late teens (in retrospect), but it seems I read somewhere that around 40 is when it begins to get worse. That was exactly my experience. I'm 45 now, and the last 5 years have been more hellish, just trying to get stabilized, than before. But then again, unmedicated can make one unaware of how bad it can be.

Beyond the rambling, yes, I think it gets worse if untreated.

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It seems to get more unstable if untreated.

I think it depends on what you mean by better and worse in this case.

As I've aged, my manias have become more dysphoric, but the impulsivity is somewhat improved. On the other hand, I have a lot more to lose than I did when I was 20 (when my general status was: no marriage, no mortgage - no problem!) At 37, I have a marriage, a business, a mortgage, etc., which means I have the potential to take other people down with me.

And I have more insight, which means that I'm more aware of what a complete ass I've been after the fact.

On the other hand, I've learned some hard lessons in how to prevent decompensation and what I need to do to reduce my risks. (I do not let anyone fuck with my sleep schedule now. If I'm traveling for work, I will not take the red-eye, I'll personally pay the difference if need be, and I will get there a day early to adjust to the time zone. I don't change my social rhythms lightly. ) And I know what the prodromes for mania and depression look like.

I don't know if I've moved into a phase where I'm going to have a harder time wrangling the extremes or stabilizing. Too many medication changes over the last year, and I can't tell what's what. But it was my worst mania/mixed episode that I can recall and it's the worst my psychiatrist has seen me in, and I think we're just now really getting it bulldogged into submission.

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I hope it gets a little easier. I find it really hard now, I just don't know how i'll cope if its always like this. I'm only 18. I just can't imagine myself being old. I mean, in a nice happy dream i can see it, a happy, satisfied old person. But in reality - old person on multiple medications, depressed or manic and i just don't understand how its sustainable over so many years.

I haven't figured out all my warning signs yet. I'm a bit better at noticing when i'm getting depressed again, but other times i think i'm all better, don't need any help anymore. each time its a rude shock when i realise its too high, i'm out of control. but, not sure why that doesn't occur to me when it happens the next time.

are there people here who are older? ( i mean, old older). Is it possible to enjoy life? Do things improve?

what about having kids? is that possible or would it be a complete disaster?

i think, because i'm feeling pretty bad lately, that i am just incapable of looking more than a few weeks into the future. Possibly why i find it very difficult to see myself being old with this illness.

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I have three kids. First is a 21yo, and she had to endure my self-medicating BP, but she turned out alright. the two youngest, 8 & 6, have been a little easier to cope with, in part due to a husband that doesn't really understand that well, but is supportive anyway.

You're 18. That's good that you've been diagnosed at this age, instead of self-medicating with alcohol and drugs for the decades that I did. there are some good meds out there, you might be on the med-go-round for a while, but with hope you'll find a good stabilizer. And being so young, there's an excellent chance that research will come out with a new improved med that actually works without so many s/e.

Yes, it's possible to enjoy life. Learn to recognize the early warning signs, and have a good pdoc on hand. Learn your limitations, and don't be afraid to stick to them. And really, if you're 60 and on multiple meds, does it matter, as long as you're stable? If I had to take 20, just to have a good day, I'd do it.

Don't let all this scare you. There's a lot to be learned, good tools to be used. MI is just like any other disease... you learn to cope. Okay, my coping methods suck, but there's lots of excellent role models on this board. Latch on to what they say, and use it.

My humble opinion, anyway.

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for me the sort of fun highs when i was in my 20's and maybe 30's are replaced by agitation , and not goal oriented either. just plain old agitation and irritability. no more great highs wherein you get a lot of work done or cleaning done or that paper wrote or the house cleaned. now it is just agitation and can't get stuff done at all. It is much worse, but on the other hand, i have experience in recognizing the triggers and in managing it.

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