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Does bipolar get worse over time?


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That's what I've heard. When I asked my pdoc about this he said, "Well, it at least tends to get harder to treat."

I'll probably ask my pdoc to elucidate further. But meanwhile I'm wondering if anyone here has any experience with / knowledge about this.

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Hmm, alienonite's and Anna's answers combined are helpful -- I remember learning that Depakote was originally for seizures, and that researchers just happened to notice that it also helped stabilize bp people. Sounds to me like maybe Depakote's ability to ward off seizures may also lower the risk of bp episodes becoming worse and of the bp episode threshold being lowered.

Thanks guys! I'm stayin' on my Depakote! :)

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This explains it pretty well.

http://bipolar.about...9_kindling1.htm

Thanks VE. That was interesting. Would you happen to know of similar findings pertaining to schizophrenia? Because I was treated only for bipolar disorder since 1996 until very recently, and I think I was schizoaffective all along.

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From what I know, I've heard, that when properly treated, you can be stable for many years. It's if you let it go untreated or not properly treated does it worsen over time. That was what I was taught in psychology in school. (whether it's true or not, I don't know).

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They must have had a very significant finding, because I know a couple of those researchers, and they were leaning towards he kindling model in the past. So that is very interesting, thanks for linking to that.

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They must have had a very significant finding, because I know a couple of those researchers, and they were leaning towards he kindling model in the past. So that is very interesting, thanks for linking to that.

From talking to my neuro friend about this recently, there's not a question as to whether or not bipolar progresses over time, but no one's really come up with a persuasive mechanism for the kindling model specifically.

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I have had symptoms since childhood, and I am in my 40s now.

I definitely cycle a LOT more rapidly than I used to. That fits the kindling model. Rapid cycling is a lot harder for me to manage. So I would say my illness has become worse over time.

I don't think my episodes have become more severe. Hypomanic episodes were at their most severe in my 20s, bordering on mania. Depressed episodes were at their most severe in my 30s. However, I did feel that I was heading for a major depressed episode last fall, which is why I sought treatment.

I don't know if my illness has become harder to treat, because I never got treatment before this.

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I've found my bipolar has become worse and more symptomatic over the years, whatever the reason may be. Things that work earlier after my diagnosis work litte/less than they do now. Kindof sucks, but I just keep taking day by day.

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"Have Your Smarts Changed" is a parallel thread. Assume that cognitive slippage occurs with episodes and that the illness worsens over time. Assume further that some of the meds I personally require may cause some slippage in executive functioning. I can accept all that, provided well conducted research bears it out. I also accept that I may get sick in the presence of appropriate stressors, despite the meds and everything else I can conceive to shield myself. What I cannot accept is that I am powerless to resist these trends. Therefore: building better relationships, spirituality, exercise, empathy practice, substance avoidance, and whatever-else-I-believe-makes-me-better/stronger.

Forgive me this personal statement.

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I personally don't think so, do episodes cause brain damage and lower IQ ? As far as I know there's no proof of this, however there seems to be ample evidence that people can develop a tolerance to drugs and that many psychiatric medications cause brain damage.

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My illness has certainly gotten worse over time-- which is why the kindling theory makes so much sense to me. I began showing symptoms as a small child (suicide attempt at age 8), and have become progressively more ill as time has passed. I did not seek treatment until I was about 33, at which point I had come out of a three month period of high mania and crashed into a horrible suicidal depression. I'm 40 now, and have been trying med after med after med, and thus far haven't found a magical solution. I continue to have periods of severe symptoms/hospitalizations, even while medicated. I was told when I first began getting treatment that early onset of symptoms, combined with late start of treatment would make me harder to treat, and that my disorder would become worse, with less periods of stability. This has turned out to be true, sadly.

Sigh.

Going to read the second kindling link now... already read the first long ago...

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My illness has certainly gotten worse over time-- which is why the kindling theory makes so much sense to me. I began showing symptoms as a small child (suicide attempt at age 8), and have become progressively more ill as time has passed. I did not seek treatment until I was about 33, at which point I had come out of a three month period of high mania and crashed into a horrible suicidal depression. I'm 40 now, and have been trying med after med after med, and thus far haven't found a magical solution. I continue to have periods of severe symptoms/hospitalizations, even while medicated. I was told when I first began getting treatment that early onset of symptoms, combined with late start of treatment would make me harder to treat, and that my disorder would become worse, with less periods of stability. This has turned out to be true, sadly.

Sigh.

Going to read the second kindling link now... already read the first long ago...

My heart really goes out to ya, dedoubt.

Have you ever considered whether you're schizoaffective? Because now that I've finally been more precisely diagnosed as schizoaffective rather than just bipolar, and been Rx'd Risperidone, I'm finally feeling much more stable.

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